Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Thoughts for Laurel

Laurel, a smart and charming 14 year old girl attending an arts middle school in the southern Appalachians, wrote in reply to my remarks about the Fort Dix Plot:

"You have a point, but remember that if we give up on human rights to fight terrorism, the terrorists win. They make us into what they are and what they want us to be. If that happens, we loose all moral high ground and become what we are trying to defeat. Human rights must always be protected, in war or in peace, if our democracy and the values writen into our constitution are to survive."

And I replied:

"Hi Laurel,
Two thoughts -

As to the terrorists winning, if the Muslims had succeeded in massacring 100 of our soldiers as they planned, would not that have been a big win for them?

Second is a hard truth. Just as five is early to learn that there is no Easter Bunny, fourteen is early to learn that our constitutional rights do not come from G_d. They come from the Supreme Court. The Court both articulates and shapes our laws, values, and customs. And over the past two hundred years of war and peace the Court has said repeatedly that we have fewer freedoms in wartime than in peacetime. Yet another reason to love peace and avoid war.

In simpler more human terms, in wartime we and our enemies are physically destroying one another with the unthinkable violence of high-powered rifles and high explosive bombs. Compared to those affronts to human beings, whether we wiretap them or profile them beforehand is trivial. And it is less important still when the results of the wiretapping and profiling may determine whether that annihilating violence will be done to fewer of our own people."

P.S. Have a great time in Paris.


  1. Laurel2:45 PM

    Oh golly gee whiz. Mr. Kessler, you have to understand that there are good people and there are bad people, there are good Muslims and there are bad Muslims, there are good passages from the Koran and there are bad passages from the Koran, there are good terrorist acts and there are bad terrorist acts. Blowing up innocent men, women and children is just a way to express their frustration, to let off steam. My heart bleeds for the sweet, peace-loving young arab men who are forced to cause such carnage. And besides, are all of the innocent men women and childen actually innocent? I mean, is anyone REALLY innocent?

  2. Nick Danger11:59 PM

    Nice try, Jack, but I think Laurel still doesn't get it.

  3. Thanks for your comment on my blog, Jack -- nice to meet you!

    As you might have guessed, I have very mixed feelings about this whole situation of islamic terrorism and what to do about it.

    1. Monotheism in general, and islam and judaism in particular, disgust me. And so on a very abstract level, I have no problem whatsoever with the extermination of populations that live and die by these backward belief systems. :O How ironic and backward an idea is that?! I don't know, but to put it in a more "enlightened" form -- let them destroy each other.

    2. Anger and violence beget anger and violence. The lessons of history are, unfortunately, lost on many, including those who can ill afford to do so; i.e., those with political might. Assuming that you are a well educated person, I won't bother you here with the recent history of the Middle East that is about the destructive thirst of first the British empire, and later the United States. An eye for an eye sometimes takes a while to achieve....

    Otherwise, you're absoltuely right that there is only the present moment to live for; i.e., there is danger and there are means to try to stay out of harm's way. Beyond that, there are serious considerations and callow cowboy attitudes a-la-Geroge Bush will not do in the long run....

    P.S. I will be deleting my blog soon, but will hopefully return at some point. Cheers!

  4. "It is easy to resent external rule but to do so is to forget that they resolve internal contradictions caused by demographic change."

    You're absolutely right about some of the historical underpinnings of the unrest in the Middle East that have to do with many of its own internal dynamics... not least of all being the rule of past and present "leaders" whose least concern was with the welfare of those they ruled.

    A sad case in point is the last Qajar dynasy in Iran... practically giving away to foreign powers wholesale Iran's most precious resources. One must first blame oneself before pointing the finger at others.

    However, let's not forget the fact that the powers that be have never favored a true leader -- i.e., Reza Shah (the last Shah's father) -- for fear of losing control of their own interests. The historical facts are not at all vague on this point, and Iran is merely an example, unfortunately:

    This is not spin. And more importantly, PEOPLE do not forget such transgressions... and so there are always consequences....

    But the point I was trying to make before is that while it is true that everyone must be vigilant and on the lookout for their own interests -- and woe to those who don't -- it is also true that eventually what goes around comes around.

    Case in point: the election of an idiot to the White House!