I did not become overly political until much later in my life. I didn’t really care about the process or the person in office.
I kinda thought Reagan was senile and thought Bush Sr. was just an extension of the feel good 80s. I enjoyed Clinton because it was eight years of prosperity where the government barely involved itself in my life and the worst that could happen is the President getting a blowjob in the Oval Office.
The first Gulf War started when I was in grad school and I was worried that things would escalate. Luckily, the goal of that war was not to overthrow a government or to try and impose our values and culture over a region. It was to kick a bully. We did the job and got the hell out of there.
Well, mostly out of there.
There are people in the Middle East who really don’t like the United States of America’s involvement in their backyard. I can appreciate that sentiment. I think they go too far, but people who are indoctrinated by their religion to keep women second class citizens and progress and technology are evil’s of the Great Satan go too far on lots of things.
Today we talk about fighting them there so we don’t have to fight them here, but that’s a ridiculous argument. The fanatics really don’t want to come here, they want us out of their neck of the woods. Sure, the really crazy ones want to impose their world point of view on everyone, but they are the exceptions to the rule.
It’s also important to remember September 11, 2001 was not a declaration of war by a rogue country. It was pre-meditated murder perpetrated by individuals. Sure, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran aren’t the friendliest countries to the United States, but these countries did not attack us. Almost all of the hijackers were citizens of Saudi Arabia and no one thought the House of Saud attacked us.
Equating individual terrorists with unfriendly countries will be what George Bush is known for. He took this country to war on wrong information, wrong assumptions and wrong headed-ness. He doesn’t understand.
And that’s the main point – the first step is to understand the viewpoints in opposition to your own. You don’t have to agree with them, just “walk a mile in their shoes.” Understanding how the enemy thinks and why their point of view is so strongly held has not been something the current administration has ever thought about.
Once we have someone in the Oval Office who can see the motivations of these individuals, who can understand the religious connotations to their actions and counter them, who won’t dehumanize them or occupy their country, we will have a positive step toward real peace.