For this Memorial Weekend, I would like to offer a radical view.
Warning: some may find this disturbing.
But first, a confession. I would have liked to be a pacifist. I really would. But I am also a realist. I believe that Gandhi was plain and simple lucky; that his non-violent protest succeeded for nothing more than good timing. He was protesting the British — a fairly civilized nation, at a time when colonialism was going out of fashion. After all, plenty of other non-violent protests, under less tolerant governments, were crashed and reduced to a tiny bloody dot within the history pages of this world. If Gandhi would have stood in Tiananmen Square (that is in China, 1989, if anyone already forgot,) he would have been shot with the rest of the protesters. But I am digressing. This post is neither about protests nor about pacifism. It is about why we should never again need to put forces on enemy ground.
The radical suggestion is quite simple: we notify the rest of the world that from now on, whenever a country harbors groups that are harm-doers to the USA, we will bomb that place: be it a cave in the mountains, a village or an entire city.
“A wannabe pacifist?” you may laugh in disbelief; that is quite a militant perspective. Maybe. But here is why I think this is a fair strategy. We make our position clear and known in advance. We announce it all over the media, drop leaflets over remote villages that have no Facebook, send carrier pigeons if we have to – whatever it takes: Starting January 1, 2015, no more American ground troops will be sent to serve as sacrifice over foreign lands, no more PTSD, no more widows and orphans on our end. If anyone harbors terrorists, there will be a hefty price to pay.
Let’s look at the ramifications: foreign countries that willingly assist such groups are collaborators and as much as we are concerned, should pay the same price as the radicals they assist. Now, how about the poor villagers you may ask, the ones who do not want these bad folks amongst them, but that are forced to host them all the same? They have two options: either pick up arms and get rid of these guys themselves, or, if they don’t want to be bombed by the US, move elsewhere because sooner or later, we will drop bombs. The excuse of “it is not my fault someone is using my backyard to launch missiles onto yours,” doesn’t hold anymore. If it is your backyard, control it. If you are not in control of it, it is not your backyard.
Yes, more people around the world are likely to dislike the USA, heck – they will hate us guts. But these guys either already do (hate us,) or do not care enough to make a change on their own land. These guys would not have let the Gandhis of the world take one extra breath if Gandhi was to protest in a non-violent manner on their land. Thus the pacifist in me stays silent. When I look at all the graves of soldiers all over the world, sacrificed in the name of freedom, I think we have come to confuse the idea of liberty with the methodology of how a battle should be handled. It is time for a radical change in approach. Maybe Randy Newman’s Political Science lyrics were not a satire after all…
No one likes us-I don’t know why
We may not be perfect, but heaven knows we try
But all around, even our old friends put us down
Let’s drop the big one and see what happens
Learned from: Memorial Day reflections