Today, we as a nation watched on television, while the second-largest US military installation in the world held a memorial service for more than a dozen people gunned down by a Major in the US Army a few days ago.
Many have called this an act of "terrorism". Maybe it is. If the shooting was done with the purpose of creating terror in the hearts and minds of his fellow Americans for the purpose of advancing a political agenda, it is terrorism. If not, it's a mass homicide that does not, by definition, meet the criteria of "terrorism".
Some have called him an "enemy combatant". So long as it is truly known that he is being labeled an "enemy combatant" strictly because he was actively engaging military targets for the purposes of aiding the war effort of the enemy or for the purposes of waging war against the United States and her people, he is an "enemy combatant". If not, he's a mass murderer that does not, by definition, meet the criteria of "terrorism".
Furthermore, the interwebs have been lit up by claiming that the entire religion of Islam is comprised solely of "enemies of the United States". To that, I call bullshit. Unless, of course, someone has re-written the Koran since a year or so ago when I read it.
Why do we have more instances of "terrorism" committed by self-proclaimed Muslims, as opposed to self-proclaimed Christians? Don't be stupid. How many predominantly-Christian nations has the US invaded lately?
This guy was a nutcase, plain and simple. He just happened to be a nutcase who also happened to be affiliated with radically violent people who chose to associate themselves with Islam. Does this happen quite a bit with people who associate themselves with Islam? You're damned right, it does. It also happens quite a bit with any other group of people who are living in or share a kinship with those who live in places where an occupying force has taken over their homeland.
For instance, the idea of "suicide bombings" weren't started by Muslims, but rather by a group known as the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka. While they are a secular organization, they were oppressed by the majority...and pioneered the use of a "suicide vest" for military action against the oppressing force.
In Northern Ireland, "The Troubles" between the Irish Republican Army and the British army date back for more than eight centuries. Yes, that's right, EIGHT CENTURIES. While the real issue is regarding the power struggle between British empire and Irishmen who want to be free, both sides frequently bring religion into the equation, as most Englishmen who subscribe to religious belief are Anglican protestants (the "Church of England"), while their Northern Ireland counterparts are Roman Catholic. Both claim Christianity as their religion, and they fight each other while denouncing their opponents' particular views on religion.
In Mexico, the Chiapas natives have been persecuted and oppressed for so long by the Mexican gov't that songs have been written about them. Much like in Ireland, the Middle East, and damned near everywhere else a war has been fought, the plight of the Chiapas does not center around religion, race, or culture. It's about control of the land, and control of the people...which eventually traces back to MONEY.
Before digressing further, I'll say this...prove that he was an actual affiliate of a "foreign terrorist organization", and not just a sympathizer, and I'll call this a "terrorist action".
I sympathize with any group of people wanting to be free from tyranny and willing to fight for that freedom, including the IRA. The Irish Republican Army has been labeled a "terrorist organization"...not just by the British gov't they've been fighting for 800 years, but also by my own government. I happen to be of partial Irish descent. If I were to go on a shooting spree, would you call me a "terrorist", even if it had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with anything whatsoever related to that issue, and was just because I was a bit nuts and got pissed off at traffic in downtown Houston that morning?
Some call him an "enemy combatant" because he knew a guy who knew a guy who's third cousin married the stepsister of a guy who went to junior high with a guy who once met one of the 9/11 hijackers...and he also had skewed political views. Prove to me that this was an actual military action, and not just the work of a deranged man with a gun who shot a bunch of people and also happened to pray to God while calling him "Allah", and I'll agree that it was the work of an actual enemy combatant. The way I see it, it was the work of an American citizen with mental issues, a different religious upbringing, and a pair of handguns. It doesn't mean the guy who sold me a sixpack tonight is secretly plotting to kill me because I bought a sixpack, and Allah doesn't approve of light beer with a hint of lime flavor.
While we're on the subject of "militant Islam", I'll be right up front with you. Islam, like Judaism and UNLIKE Christianity, is severely lacking in the whole "turn the other cheek" area. Jesus tells me to love my enemies. The Prophet Mohammed tells Muslims to, well, basically fuck up their enemies in the most brutal manner possible.
That being said, what constitutes an "enemy" of Islam? According to the Koran (you know, the ACTUAL teachings of the Islamic religion, not the words of some "radical Islamist cleric"), you aren't deserving of death until you invade the homeland of a Muslim. Hmmmm, where does that sound familiar? Oh yeah, that's right. I knew I had seen that somewhere. It's that Gadsen flag hanging on my wall. According to the Koran, a Muslim is PROHIBITED from doing harm to anyone, including "infidels" like us, unless the homeland is invaded for the purposes of taking over.
Regardless, I'll come right out and say it. I support our troops, who owe an allegiance only to the Constitution of these United States. I do not, however, support our government's actions overseas. Our invasion of Iraq was complete bullshit...not to mention, completely illegal under every applicable domestic and international law you can think of.
Our mission in AfPak is a completely different fuckup. First and foremost, our "mission" stopped being morally justified the moment we decided to limit our assault to only those who attacked us, and began including all who "engage in acts of terror"...namely, because we as a nation continue to support those who engage in acts of terror, even to this day. Second, we never really dedicated the necessary resources to truly "get" Al Qaeda and the Taliban, we simply keep feeding money to corporations who build "drones" that drop bombs on wedding ceremonies. Third, we really don't have a definable enemy, and keep fucking up whoever our "enemy of the week" happens to be. Let's just say there's a reason cliches become cliches...and tonight, I'm gonna party like it's 1984.
If the United States wants to hold any moral high ground WHATSOEVER, it will do the following things:
1) Withdraw troops from Iraq IMMEDIATELY, and apologize to the Iraqi people for invading their sovereign nation. Seriously. We had no cause to be there, and we turned it into a giant fuckup. I know Saddam was a bad guy. Is Iraq really any better off today, than it was ten years ago?
2) Start showing some testicular fortitude, Barrack. Seriously. Grow a pair. Stop worrying about elections in random 3rd World nations, and focus on the task at hand. We, as a nation, know who the enemy is. It is Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Not some guy who used to date a chick who knew a guy who went to high school with a dude who drove a cab for the Taliban's third in command, but Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Stop worrying about the political implications, and focus on the 6'6" Arab with the dialysis machine strapped to one hand and the microphone in the other. You remember him, right? Osama Bin Laden? He's half-dead from nature, let's get the job done.
3) Start implementing the necessary actions to make the first two a reality. Those in Iraq due for leave in the coming months need to be sent home. Fresh arrivals to, and those destined for, Iraq need to be redirected to Afghanistan. Gen. McChrystal says we need more boots on the ground. Go hard, or go home. Anything less than the best shows me that my government is more concerned with prolonging the war than it is with actually winning it.
If we are to accomplish our mission of bringing the perpetrators of 9/11 to justice, we must focus on that...and ONLY that. If we extend our mission to ANYTHING ELSE, our mission fails. End of story. In addition to failing that mission, we will also manage to piss on an ant pile that will come back to bite us, as it has repeatedly done. When we expand the scope of our mission to include anyone who sympathizes with those who hold ill will toward this nation, we've expanded our mission to include 80% of this planet. Our military is the greatest on Earth...but we ain't that good. When we piss off that many people, we're going to have idiots like this jackass in Ft. Hood thinking they have an actual reason to go on a shooting spree.
Then again, had we not been shitting in the sandbox to begin with, 9/11 likely wouldn't have happened. I'm not saying it was right to kill several thousand innocents. At the same time, I'm saying I understand where the hatred comes from, and our elected leaders are the cause of it.
I'm not saying it's right for your neighbor to shoot your kid...but if you continuously usurp him for your own gain, insult him because you can, attempt to run his life for him, and bitchslap him when he doesn't do what you tell him to, you should reasonably expect him to hit you where he's most able to do the most damage. It's what I would do if I were him, and had no other means of fighting at my disposal. Right and wrong take on a whole new meaning when you put it into that perspective, do they not?
Above and beyond all, I'm not saying I'm supportive of the mass murder at Ft. Hood, nor am I saying I understand the motivations behind it. I do, however, say that this nation has placed itself in a considerable amount of danger when it decided to start picking on every "little man" in the neighborhood. One on one, the little guy doesn't stand a chance...but he might just slash your tires in the middle of the night, regardless of whether you kick his ass in the morning. He's also going to have the support of all the other little guys you've picked on.
My prayers go out to the families of those who have lost their loved ones...not just at Ft. Hood, but in all of our warzones abroad and all of our criminal episodes at home. We need to take serious stock of our actions, and ask ourselves this: Is this what Jesus would want me to do?