Jewish World Review Oct. 19, 2001 / 2 Mar-Cheshvan, 5762

Greg Crosby

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Some Thoughts About the "War On Terror": Part I -- IF we're serious about stopping these people who are out to kill us, then we'd better come to grips with what it is we're really up against. For starters, it seems to me we've been somewhat in denial regarding who and what it is we're fighting. We're told this is a "war on terror." But what is "terror?" Terrorism is not a people, it is a combative tactic, like bombs. Can you imagine saying we are involved in a "war on bombs?" Going to war on terror is a bit like saying we are waging a war against hate. Sounds good. Everybody is against hate. Yes, but WHO are the haters? We are at war with "terrorists." WHO are the terrorists?

True, the government released a list of specific terrorist groups and specific terrorists, including Osama bin Laden. But the list is woefully incomplete -- with many well-known organizations and names omitted -- most notably several Palestinian terrorist groups linked directly to Yasser Arafat. The Middle East has almost as many individual terrorist groups as they do turbans. Why not name them all? And why didn't Saddam Hussein make the list? He's the guy that the United States labeled as "worse than Hitler" remember? And Arafat, widely accepted as being the father of modern day terrorism, not only didn't make the terrorist list, but was invited to be a member of our Coalition Against Terrorism! Can you believe that? Disgraceful!

We hear a lot about who we are NOT at war with. We are not at war with Islam. We are not at war with Muslims. We are not at war with Arabs. We are not at war with the Afghanis. We are not at war with the Iraqis. We are not at war with the Syrians. We are not at war with Libya, or Lebanon, or Sudan, or Iran --even though every one of these countries harbors and trains terrorist groups within their boarders. We are not at war with any country. We are not at war with any religion. We are not at war with any particular people. We are at war with terror. At war with terror. I really dislike that phrase. If "terror" is as close as we can get to identifying our enemy, then we're done for.

Speaking of phrases that bother me, there's another expression that President Bush has been using lately -- he has been referring to the terrorists as "evil-doers." Now I will freely admit that the people who committed these evil acts are unquestionably evil-doers in the true sense of the word. But somehow the term has a softening effect on the ear. It sounds like a phrase one might use when talking to children. "Now, Bobby, be good -- you don't want to be an evil-doer, do you? Do-be a good doer, don't-be a bad doer." It's the "doers" part that I dislike. Drop the doers and call them "evil monsters" or "evil barbarians." I prefer descriptive rhetoric with a little more bite, I guess. Actually, "Arab-sonofabitchin bastards" comes closer to the mark, but I realize he can't say that.

Politically correct or not, I recommend that we get more specific and call this war what it is --- a war with Islamic fundamentalists who are out to destroy us. They refer to themselves in those terms, why shouldn't we? They characterize this as a much bigger war than nation against nation --to them it is a "holy war." Islam against the infidels. They're right about one thing, this is a much bigger war than nation against nation.

But is it a holy war? Only the most poisoned, deranged fanatic could equate the purposeful slaughter of innocent men, women, and children with any form of G-d-based religion. If this is what Islam has wrought, then Muslims the world over need to reexamine their faith. What is it about Islamic teachings that lead so many of its followers to commit atrocities against their fellow human beings?

And, no, it's not just a handful of extremists at work here. The New York Times has reported that at least 50% OF THE ARAB WORLD was in favor of the Sept 11th attacks on the United States. There are millions of evil, dangerous people out there who want us dead.

From this side of the ocean, moral clarity has never been in greater focus. Not a holy war, we are engaged in a morality war. Good against evil. Civilization against barbarism. Decency against wickedness. If ever there was such a thing as a just and moral cause, we have it. If ever there was such a thing as an ethical war, we are now fighting it. And yes, we are the good ones. G-d is on our side. How do we know? Just take a look at the values each side places on human worth. Examine how each side treats their people, their women, their children. And, oh yeah, one other thing -- we don't target and murder thousands of innocent people in office buildings and pizzerias and school buses, then celebrate their deaths by dancing in the streets shouting "G-d is great!"

JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. You may contact him by clicking here.

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