Jewish World Review Oct. 16, 2001 / 29 Tishrei, 5762
If they question you, ask these back.
The one mistake you made was in your head
--- John Lennon
If the U.S. shifts policy on the Middle East in the wake of attacks on our nation, aren't we signaling to others that the best way to get our attention is to kill our civilians?
Osama bin Laden is at least a multi-millionaire, and perhaps a billionaire. He lives in Afghanistan. Have you protested his failure to build up the infrastructure of his own country, instead of doing what he has done, which is buying personal favor through the occasional donation to an orphanage?
If you condemn the U.S. for responding to violence with violence, do you also condemn the original violence carried out by members of Al Qaeda? How many protests have you attended against Al Qaeda? Against world terror networks? Against various U.S. policies?
Before dropping bombs on the Taliban, the U.S. waited four weeks, securing intelligence and building a coalition. Many anti-war protesters called for just such a demonstration of patience. Have you commended the government for waiting, or do you still protest the government's actions? Why would an observer be incorrect to believe that you will protest the U.S. government no matter what it does?
If you could live in any other country during this period of history, which would it be? In what specific ways is that country superior to the United States? Why have you decided to remain in the U.S.?
Can you name any country other than the U.S. that permits the level of dissent that you yourself engage in? Have you ever publicly or privately expressed gratitude for this unique quality of American life?
Have you protested the oppression and murder of women, homosexuals and of non-fundamentalist Muslims by the Taliban?
When the individuals behind the Anthrax scare are revealed, will you condemn their actions? Will the severity of your condemnation depend on their motivation?
Would you describe yourself as ambivalent about either the American government or the American people? If so, why? What would you change about the American people?
How would bring about such a change? Could any of the methods you prescribe be described as coercive? Under what circumstances is coercion acceptable?
Should Osama bin Laden be tried in an international court? What should the charges be? What reasonable defense could he mount? What should we do with him if he is found "not guilty"?
Can you identify any single act that you are willing to label as absolutely evil?
Can you identify any act against the United States that would incite you to support a violent response? Would a nuclear strike do it? A chemical or biological attack?
What percentage, if any, of the American people (252 million = 90 percent; 210 million = 75 percent, etc.) killed or wounded in terrorist actions would you define as a threshold body count to gain your support for warlike response?
Do you believe that any war sponsored by a Western nation can be just? Can any war sponsored by a non-Western nation be unjust?
Do you consider those killed in the World Trade Center attack to be victims of a) terrorists or b) the U.S. government?
How does your personal style of pacifism differ from religious pacifism? From knee-jerk anti-Americanism? From cowardice?
Can you list any three acts occurring during your lifetime and authorized by the U.S. government of which you approve?
Some anti-war protesters have adopted the slogan "Resist Racist War." Can you name any individuals whom you believe-either on a hunch or with evidence-are prosecuting this war because of hard feelings against Afghans?
If the U.S. were to adopt your position and never fight a war, the country would eventually be occupied by a foreign power. What do you think life would be like in the U.S. under a regime that refused to respond to terrorism, as you prescribe?
Do you consider your right to protest to be have been purchased by others willing to fight for it? If not, what is the source of protection for your right? How do you feel about regimes such as the Taliban, that put down free expression at the point of a sword?
The Taliban regime punishes people for "offenses" such as watching television, and failing to grow a long-enough beard. Afghan homosexuals are executed, and Afghan women are forced to stay home. What do you think we should do for people forced to live that way? Does this make the Taliban regime oppressive? What do you think of those fighting the Taliban regime? What is wrong with America's opposition to that regime? How is your sympathy with the Taliban regime reconciled with your passion for tolerance? With your passion for "moral equivalence" of cultures?
Americans are rightly nervous about flying. If you are killed in a terrorist hijacking, would you consider yourself a victim of the hijackers, or a friend to their cause? Both? Neither? Something else? In light of your position, would a coroner find you to be a) less dead, b) more dead, or c) just as dead?
Just one more question: How do you sleep, you hypocritical
JWR contributor Michael Long is a a director of the White House Writers Group. Comment by clicking here.
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