Monday, July 19, 2010

Yet another opinion worthy of consideration -- Rethinking Afghanistan, Islamic radicalism and us: Two people whose opinion I respect sent opposition to my post on pulling out of Afghanistan. They are smart, well read, and most of all thoughtful. This time a friend of mine offered his assessment and strong alternative view. Maybe Rachel Maddow, so many on the left and I who criticize US foreign policy do not really understand what is happening and are not seeing the forest through the proverbial trees. Honestly, not being in the echelons of power, I do not know.

Perhaps, we must play the ball where it lies and not think about or wish we had done something historically different which would have changed the course of our present day confrontation with fanatical Islam. I offer his point of view because I respect it and because our world and our very lives depend upon making decisions which will save both. What those decisions should be is, perhaps, more in the hands of luck than cogent policy. I do not know. What I do know is we must make the right decisions. Whatever decisions are made western civilization which brought us through the Dark Ages to the Enlightenment and modern times depends upon it. My friend stated -- disguising some of the more colorful words:

"I'm with your cousin on this one -- 9/11 wasn't the Gulf of Tonkin incident and Afghanistan isn't Vietnam. We have every right and obligation to be fighting the Taliban after 9/11, and I hope our troops are pounding the living s*&^ out of them -- the bloodier for them the better. You, I, Rachel Maddow and probably everyone we know are all dead meat if those Nazi bas*&^% take over the world."

It is a difficult opinion for me to take because I am, at heart, a peace-loving person but I continuously ask what if he and others who share his opinion are right. I have come out vociferously against orthodox and fundamentalist religion everywhere. It is uncompromising, extreme and most of all deadly. Survival is the first law of nature. What polices would be best to ensure our survival, for me, is often guess work. The noxious decisions of yesteryear we cannot change and sometimes we do not realize what we, in fact, do have. We shop, go to the supermarket, go to CVS, have prescriptions filled, medical care (albeit sometimes problematic) and enough food and water. We play our CD's, DVDs, go to the movies and to rock concerts, travel freely with our friends while taking most of it for granted. We turn on a television with 600 channels and think everyone does. Everyone does not. Many if not most around the world live without even the basic necessities of life and whose live at the whim of tyranny.

We in the west are a technologically advanced civilization who have the ability to discuss opinion -- however controversial -- freely BUT it exists at the whim of man and can be taken away in an instant. I am glad better minds than I possess are entrusted with our security. As another cousin said to me before he died "You better HOPE we win. The alternative is unthinkable!"