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"What to Do about Terrorism"

     Our C-average, hard-drinkin', quick-draw, crusading, born-
again fundamentalist, know-nothing unelected President has called
out of well-deserved obscurity two of our nation's most
impressive war criminals to help him in the so-called "war
against terrorism."
     One, Admiral John Poindexter, is a convicted criminal in the
bloody Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980's, later acquitted on a
technicality which very few understand.  He was the inventor of
the phrase, "plausible deniability."  He admitted to Congress and
all of us that he did what he did, illegal as it was, so that
President Reagan could then later plausibly deny that he knew
about the criminal wrong-doing done in his name.  He will now
head up the effort to build for the Pentagon a computer data base
that will include everything any of us ever did or said, making
it impossible for any future Americans to deny plausibly
anything whatever.
     The other, Professor Henry Kissinger, believed by many of us
to be a war criminal of the first magnitude because of his
destruction in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Chile, East Timor and
other places, received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts,
which fact tolled the final death knell for satire itself.  He
will head up the investigation which will whitewash the failure
of the CIA and the FBI and the Pentagon to see coming the attack 
of September 11, 2001, or to forestall it.
     The war on terrorism, so-called, has already caused many of
the American people to surrender the liberties that are supposed
to make us special.  Now we really are the NATION OF SHEEP,
described so eloquently in a book of that title written in the
1960's.  Sometimes it takes a while for reality, or our awareness
of reality, to catch up to what some writers can plainly see. 
We're just now catching on, too late, to what George Orwell meant
in "1984" by "Big Brother is watching you."
     The War on Terrorism is ill-advised, anyway.  It is
impossible to fight terrorism with violence, trying to kill them
all.  They are like dragons' teeth, multiplying in the midst of
the destruction we rain down on them.  We cannot fight them with
violence, trying to frighten them into quitting their attacks. 
They don't frighten.  In the hurry to label them evil, our
labelers have failed to notice their virtues.  One virtue especially
stands out -- courage.  They are not afraid of us and our
megaweapons.  The reason they use terror techniques is because
they don't have "weapons of mass destruction" of their own, as we
do.  Even if they had as many as five, we have more than a thousand 
times that.
     So, terrorism will have to be dealt with some other way.  A
letter from Desi Brown appeared in THE ALBUQUERQUE TRIBUNE.  The
editors entitled it, "Fight Cause, not Symptom, of Terror."  In
it Mr. Brown made several gentle suggestions of things we could
do, "helping to eliminate human rights violations in Asia and
diseases in Africa... Maybe we could work with the United
Nations..."  He concluded with this remarkable sentence:  "I am
willing to bet that virtually every person in this wonderful
country can come up with a great idea to help us all deal with
the causes of terrorism."  
     It felt like an invitation, and I responded, with seven
ideas, and was astonished to see THE TRIBUNE publish them,
verbatim.  Here is the letter:
     "I have seven ideas, some of them expensive, and some quite
humiliating, but we have to begin somewhere:
     "[1]  Initiate negotiations immediately  with the following
governments, aimed at providing reparations for war crimes
committed by the U.S. government and its agencies, all the way
from interfering with elections to assassinating prime ministers
and presidents:  Iran, Guatemala, Congo, Angola, Mozambique, East
Timor, Chile, Argentina, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Iraq, Libya,
Panama, Palestine and others.
     "[2] Dismantle the C.I.A. and publish all secrets in THE NEW
     "[3] Close down the D.E.A. and cease all efforts to
prosecute at home and abroad the so-called "war on drugs." 
Divert all funding to Medicare, for treatment.
     "[4] Turn over all U.S. 'weapons of mass destruction' to a
United Nations panel, for immediate dismantling and destruction. 
If others can't have any, why should we?
     "[5] Close all nuclear power plants.  Transfer all funding
for nuclear weapons and nuclear production of electricity to
research in renewable energy sources, especially wind and solar.
     "[6] Dismantle all portions of the N.A.F.T.A. agreements
which hinder any local jurisdiction's ability to regulate threats
to the environment or fair labor practices.
     "[7] Remove John Ashcroft from office.  Terrorism is caused
by long-term frustration, fueled by fanaticism.  The U.S.
government will not reduce terrorism by allowing fundamentalist
fanatics to implement its policy.
     "These seven steps will initiate the kinds of changes needed
to remove the conditions that cause persons to become terrorists. 
Labeling them 'evil-doers' will not help in any way."
     Meanwhile, and personally, I think we will have to decide
what makes our individual life precious, and value those things
and those persons, and behave as if we really did value them highly.

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Copyright © 2002 Harry Willson

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