Righty: These bloodthirsty fanatics represent the gravest threat to Western Civilization since the Turks advanced to the gates of Vienna in 1683. (Remember what religion those Turks believed in?) We’ve done nothing to deserve their hatred; they’re simply jealous because we’re living in comparative luxury while they’re still shacking up with camels. We need to do everything in our power to prevent further terrorist attacks, even if it means temporarily surrendering a little of the freedom that we take for granted. I don’t mind being searched at the airport, because I have nothing to hide. I don’t mind having my phone tapped, because I’m not talking to overseas terrorists. We need to find the people who ARE talking to them. Muslim terrorists are the most vile criminals on the planet. They kill for the sheer joy of seeing innocent people blown to bits, based on the dictates of a brutal desert religion that exhorts the faithful to shed the blood of infidels. Lefty and his crew profess shock that we humiliate captured terrorists, that we don’t grant them the full rights accorded to prisoners of war. Believe me, ordering these scumbags to form naked pyramids is a laughably mild punishment compared to what they deserve. Why should we grant them a shred of mercy when they’re utterly merciless toward their victims? I say we boil them all in oil — Arab oil.
Lefty: Of course terrorists are a threat to innocent people; nobody disputes that much. But we need to do some serious soul-searching to uncover the reasons they hate us — and do something about it. We’re so mind-numbingly self-righteous as a nation; we can’t even see that we bring terrorism on ourselves through our imperialistic foreign policy, our unquestioning support of Israel and our sickening materialism. I’m not justifying terrorism, of course; I’m simply explaining it. As for the treatment of captured terrorists, we can’t allow ourselves to stoop to their level. The torture of suspected terrorists (emphasis on “suspected,” since we don’t allow them to be tried) flagrantly defies the Geneva Conventions. On a more human level, it should grate against every honorable instinct of a decent nation. And the suspension of our civil liberties in the name of fighting terrorists is nothing but a bogus excuse for an evil administration to steer us toward fascism. A government that curtails our freedoms in the name of freedom is perverted. It’s a scenario right out of Orwell’s 1984. We’re in desperate need of a regime change before more of our rights are eroded by this stupidly fanatical administration. By comparison, the terrorists have only the slimmest chance of affecting our lives.
The New Moderate:
You’re right, Lefty: it wouldn’t hurt us to understand why the terrorists hate us, and to use that knowledge to make them hate us less. President Bush II explained that terrorists hate us because of our freedom. (By tampering with our civil liberties, he did his best to make sure they’d resent us a little less on that score.) But come on — let’s peel this onion and uncover the real reasons for their hatred.
Do they hate us for our excessive wealth? Sure, but not enough to kill us because of it. Do they hate us for our lewdness and lasciviousness, our liquored lifestyles and seminude womenfolk? Undoubtedly, though probably not enough to launch a jihad in our direction. Young people throughout the Islamic realm seem to regard American pop culture as a guilty pleasure.
Now let’s peel some more. Do the terrorists hate us for meddling in their corner of the world… for regarding their nations as mere spigots for the flow of fuel… for supporting Israel as a de facto fifty-first state? Now the oil is beginning to boil.
And what about their radicalized religion, which exhorts the faithful to spread Islam over the face of the world by sword and bloodshed — and promises an eternity of orgasmic bliss to those who die in the name of Allah? Well, duh! Should we be shocked that they’re coming after us?
We can’t do anything about our freedom and wealth, despite Bush’s efforts to curtail the former and redistribute the latter to a small tribe of hereditary tycoons. We can’t do much about our increasingly degenerate culture, though we probably should for our own sakes. But we can definitely check our national impulse to bounce uninvited onto every piece of turf that represents a potential U.S. interest. We have too many interests.
Should we be Israel’s ally even at the risk of Islamic animosity? Absolutely. Should we be granting it (as we do now) over 200 times as much foreign aid per capita as we grant Africans and Latin Americans? Absolutely not. Israel is over fifty years old now; it has to learn to walk on its own sooner or later. We just need to make sure that its neighbors respect its right to walk there.
As for the fierce desert religion that has fueled terrorism on an unprecedented scale, our options are few and potentially futile. We could shut down all the madrasses that teach jihadism to new generations of the faithful within our borders. But the schools would simply regroup somewhere else and fill those young minds with more vehement fanaticism. The real solution is for Islam to reform itself from within, ASAP. If it doesn’t, the West will have to reform it by force, and that could take centuries. I have a sickening suspicion that if Islam and the West come to blows in an all-out war, we’ll eventually see crescents atop the churches of Europe and America. We might have technology on our side, but the Muslims have fanaticism. Fanatics generally get what they want.
Back to the terrorists and how we treat them. Terrorists aren’t soldiers, even though Bush II seems to be fond of describing them as “enemy combatants.” Terrorists fight on behalf of no state or government; they’re simply mass murderers on self-appointed missions. I don’t believe they’re entitled to protection under the Geneva Conventions or, for that matter, to the customary respect we grant legitimate military personnel. Should we subject terrorists to physical torture? No. We’re better than that. But I think we’re entitled to wear them down in captivity, interrogate them under blazing lights and even stack them in naked pyramids while silly female soldiers pose for pictures in front of them. All terrorists, simply by being terrorists, forfeit their right to civilized treatment.
One bone of contention (and it’s a major bone): for God’s sake, let’s determine whether the suspected terrorists we round up and lock away are, in fact, actual terrorists. Yes, terrorists deserve to be treated like vermin, but not while the adjective suspected is still attached to them.
Our leaders need to address this nasty issue right now. They can start by revoking the portion of the so-called Patriot Act that conveniently allows us to toss all suspected terrorists into our scattered gulags, where we leave them to rot without recourse to representation. Imagine if the Almighty were to condemn all suspected sinners to hell. That’s essentially what we’re doing under the Patriot Act. It’s unworthy of us. Let’s separate the wheat from the chaff before we condemn anyone.
Summary: Obviously we’re right to hate terrorists, but we should try to make them hate us less by modifying our meddlesome foreign policy. The ultimate solution is a major reform movement in Islam, but we can’t wait that long. In the meantime, we have a right to imprison terrorists and even torment them (within reason) — once we’ve proven that they are in fact terrorists. All suspected terrorists have a right to legal representation.