A few weeks back the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that secret military tribunals for suspected “terrorists” were unconstitutional. This past week the Bush Administration decided to apply the Geneva Conventions to those being held at Gitmo. Two good developments in the war on terror, if not long overdue, or should not have been an overdue development at all.
When we left for Brazil, the headlines were about the killing of Zarquawi. I’m not really sure why, but I cannot stop thinking about how he died. Here’s what I do not understand: Why did the world’s most powerful military, the world’s best trained military, the world’s best equipped military, the world’s most technologically advanced military…why did we have to drop 2 five hundred pound bombs on a house in a remote town to kill one human being? Why did we choose 1000 pounds of explosives to end the life of one “terrorist?”
Helicopters flew overhead. The elite forces dropped down. The town filled with soldiers. Military gusto everywhere. We were told that the bombs were chosen because of fear that he might escape. Escape? Does this not baffle you? How does one man escape when surrounded by the world’s most powerful, best trained, best equipped, most technologically advanced military? What does this say about the confidence our commanders have in the troops on the ground? The bad guy might get away, so we drop half a ton of bombs on his head. And we hailed it as a victory in the war on terror. Did you hear of Zarquawi before 9/11? Who really brought Zarquawi to power? Who really is to blame for Zarquawi’s influence in Iraq?
Today, the killings go on in the streets of Iraq. Today, we still ship suspected “terrorists” off to secret camps around the world. Did you get that on the evening news? The CIA-run camps around the world do not fall under the recent decision to apply the Geneva Conventions to the prisoners. No protection for some people considered “perhaps guilty” and with no court to prove their innocence, the reverse of America’s legal doctrine of “innocent until proven guilty.” Innocent until proven guilty.
The part that most sticks in my head about the bombing of Zarquawi is the fact that we killed 4 other people. One was a small child. An innocent human being without the ability to understand today’s mad world was robbed of life by two bombs paid for by you and me.
I know—maybe the child would have become a “terrorist” with the proximity to Zarquawi and all. How do you arrive at that rationalization? How do you find happiness/comfort/relief in hearing of a “terrorist” leader’s death knowing that alongside the mangled body of the “terrorist” laid the bloody dead body of a child? When will this war end? When will the madness stop? Love.
Love can stop the war. Love for our enemies. Love for our leaders. Love for our troops. Love for their troops. Love for the “freedom fighters.” Love for the “terrorists.” Too idealistic you say? For many of you reading this, you spent an hour this morning worshipping the teachings of one of history’s greatest love idealists. He was killed for his understanding of love. And you love him for that. You fold your hands in prayer while looking at his crucifixion.
Dying violently in the pursuit of a non-violent means to bring about true peace and understanding to the mad world he lived in. Now that’s a freedom fighter!
(written 16 July 2006)