On the Eve of War

Category: World Affairs Topics: Conflicts And War Views: 3245

The eviscerated ruins of the trade center towers bear an ominous portent. Its rubble has not yet been cleared, the dead have not yet been placed to rest, and the bereaved are not done with weeping. The shock of destruction is still upon them, and though the memorial service is over, they have only just begun to grieve. Yet already, in the towers gutted entrails, soothsayers have read the dark omen of war and of an irrevocably altered world.

Even as Americans internally confront the burden of loss resulting from this tragedy, an outward response is already in swift motion - swords are drawn and will not be sheathed un-bloodied. America strides forward like a king of old, mustering its armies and admonishing that it will not halt till blood atones for blood. It has girded itself with steely armor and hardened its heart for the coming bloodshed. But the enemy is a shadow - its numbers unknown, its dwelling place uncertain.

Faced with a phantom enemy and a hazy target, America has declared war in tenuous and broad terms. The enemy is, apparently, legion. The enemy is harbored and supported by an unknown number of countries. The enemy has ties to innumerable dispossessed peoples and extremist groups. The enemy might be anywhere and everywhere. And so the net of war has been cast wide, encompassing the many nations of the world.

"Every nation in every region now has a decision to make," said Bush in his September 20th address to the nation. "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists." With these words, a fearsome binary trap has been laid - you are with America no matter what, or you are with the enemy - an ambiguous, amorphous enemy that has yet to be clearly defined. It has the appearance of a trap because few definitions have been provided, few details expounded, no clear objectives and methods proclaimed, no blueprints laid out, and a world of possible options eliminated. All possibilities have been narrowed down to read: "us or them". There is, apparently, no room for independent thought, for alternative approaches, for a third way, for further clarification and investigation, for any choice except war fought on undefined, unspecified terms.

When will such a war end? What countries will be affected? What methods will be used? What liberties will be set aside? What will be the military, economic, and human cost? How many innocents will suffer? How many refugees will be created? Are there no alternative ways to proceed? Will America also pursue and solidify its military and strategic interests even as it attacks terrorist targets? There are a vast number of unanswered questions.

After Al-Qaida is gone, what definition of terrorism will be used to decide the next target? Will the definition of terrorism morph and change as America pursues its war? Will we be shown definitive proof of terrorist guilt or simply asked to accept America's decisions? Why can we not see the definitive proof that now exists, if it is strong enough to warrant recourse to war? What will be the human impact of this war - the flesh and blood impact on the families, the women and children of affected countries?

The rhetoric coming from America is strong and the stage upon which this "war" is being cast is too panoramic, too extensive. It is perhaps a natural fear, in light of absent details, that this may have ramifications far beyond punishment of the terrorists responsible for the attack on America (an action few would oppose). America may believe it has "found its mission and its moment" in war and in the terrible violence that may accompany it, but what are the consequences of this belief for the rest of us?

The key to ignorance is being satisfied with the knowledge one possesses, and placing all one's trust in it. This is the position of a citizenry which does not seek out full knowledge and understanding of what its government intends to do abroad, in the name of its own citizens, as their representative and servant. If this knowledge is lacking in a people, or ignored by them, or denied to them, then a nation may be a democracy where domestic affairs are concerned but it is an opaque monarchy to its own citizens where foreign and military policy is concerned. Such a leadership no longer stands as the servant or representative of its citizenry but as a king demanding their silent and un-protesting servitude.

As military action begins, many questions remain unanswered, and more frighteningly, many questions remain unasked. We are in a state of ignorance and yet we are not striving, as we should, to emerge from our ignorance, demanding to know the future toward which we are being hastily herded. It is better to question now, when we can, than to wait till we reach the slaughterhouse, and then turn upon our leaders for taking us there.

  Category: World Affairs
  Topics: Conflicts And War
Views: 3245

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Older Comments:

"I have no cause for anger or for fear,
For YOU surround me. And in every need
That I perceive, Your grace suffices me."

Thank you for allowing me to comment.

I congratulate Abu Jawad on his prose. What a marvelous writer.

But I don't share his concern that the United States is getting ahead of itself here, at least not yet, in terms of making some irrevocable long-term commitment to an ill-defined broader campaign. There is consensus support in the United States for the debilitation and destruction of the Al Qaeda network and the Taliban govenment. After that has been achieved, InshAllah, there will be time enough to debate further steps when and if they are proposed to come.

To pick up on Mr. Jawad's figure of speech about the U.S. possibly having, or moving toward having, the characteristics of an opaque monarchy when it comes to foreign policy, I can think think of plenty of opaque societies that are involved in all this; some of them are even monarchies. But the U.S. isn't among them. Witness the existence of this website.

May peace be upon you.

please help, oh enlightened one. the u.s. again has chosen the wrong course of action but, once again, you fail to offer any constructive advice on what should be done.

Mankind are not to bring peace and prosperity to the Earth, only Jehovah can do that. All we have to do is to watch him saving us.
We must learn how to love one another, and how to live in peace. Then love and have faith in Jehovah words and walk his ways. Then peace an everlasting life will come to mankind

All i can say is that America is playing the role of the BIG BULLIES!!.. they call the crisis of the world trade centre terrorism...no... what the real terrorism is when everyone forgets the thousands of innocent people dying all over the world such as in: Kashmir,Chechnia,PALESTINE,
Iraq,and Afganistan itself ... so why put them in more Jeopardy.I feel very upset for those who suffered in America They all must realise that all muslims are not TERRORISTS..that is strictly sterio type.It is highly hypocritical to be bombing Afganistan aswell as sending rations to the people.The Afgans have suffered greatly already from the Talaban !!! why give more pain??
Every night as i go to sleep i think of how i can soundly sleep feeling as safe as..but the POOR afgans struggling to survive, dont even have a proper bed to sleep in. they also have the dreadfull thoughts of WAR!!!!
there is also no PROPER evidence that it was OSAMA BIN LADEN commited the crime

I believe, the media belongs to the west cnn, BBC etc, If one think seriously why are we having problems around the world, it's due to American policy, and British. Where were all these people who cry about civillians etc, when over one million Iraqi killed by sanctions by the so-called civilised world The West, the same west put sanctions over Afghanistan, and now they are trying to fool the world with their media cnn, bbc that they are compansionate people according to Mr Bush, these are the same people who create porblems around the globe, there want be peace untill, US and her Allies stop acting as Terrorist.

Recipe to weed out terrorism:
1- The USA must stop being ruled by Israel
2- One Nation Under God, not One Nation Under Israel
3- Get serious about Political Campaign Financing Reforms
4- Stop supporting your home grown Arab dictators and other louse rulers
5- Bring back your boys/girls home and get out from the Persian Gulf (the hell with those guys oil)
6- Revise your Foreign Policies (before you make 5 billions more enemies)
7- Stop waging terror around (for about 50 years now) with the hard working people's tax money (most Americans ignore the fact that the US ranked at the same level as Cuba and China by Amnesty International in 1998 for human rights violations)
8- Do not abuse your political and military might. When you urinate against the wind, you also get back some of the golden shower.

I love America and I hope one day I will live there, do your best to keep safe Amigos.


The key to ignorance is being satisfied with the knowledge one possesses, and placing all one's trust in it. This is the position of a citizenry which does not seek out full knowledge and understanding of what its government intends to do abroad, in the name of its own citizens, as their representative and servant.
...sounds like the Muslim World to me

US have launch their attack on Afghanistan, now we could hear many thousands of innocent civilian suffer from this retaliation campaign. Is this what America called Justice?

I think this time US and Allies make a fatal decision. I hope I'm wrong.

America is anything but blindly screaming for blood. At the Memorial service when we (America) had only a couple of days to adjust to the pain we felt from Sept. 11 the first speaker allowed to the stage represented Islam. Today before we dropped a single bomb fell, food shipments for the refugees is on the way. Countless times the leaders of the U.S. has tried with words and deeds to tell everyone that we do not want the blood of the Afghan people. We do however want the blood of the slime that would murder us and our children. And even that desire for blood is not because of vengence but, for the most Americans, it is for self defense.

It is us or them. You are with us or against us. These are only radical statements if you are confused on who we are talking about when we say "them". It is NOT Islam or the Afghans. It is terrorist, people who would murder thousands of innocent people and that will do so again unless we stop them. And right now we KNOW it is Osama Bin Laden.

The evidence is all over the news. Anyone who has the open heart can see it. The passengers were able to call and tell the seat numbers of who the hijackers. From that we KNOW who the hijackers were and we KNOW those people trained in Bin Laden's camps. Then we have dozens of comminications, such as the one to clear out by the 10th. We KNOW it is Bin Laden and anyone who protects him is enabling him to come back an murder more of us.

Many lies about America have been spread to instill hatred of us. I wish these lies can be overcome by the many the ways the U.S. is trying to reach out to Islam and the Arab states, but if not, we still need to protect ourselves. When we do, it will not be because of ignorance or a hatred of any people or religion. It will be because we have the right and RESPONSIBLITY to protect ourselves and our children.

I pray God will bring peace to the world.

The us versus them mentallity crosses all lines of humanity,e.g. Bush's either you are with us or the terrorists, or Bin Laden's be our Sunni Islamic or be infidel.
What I espouse is to show that we, as in Surah 3:64 must come to a word that is between us that none shall take other lords than Allah!
I believe that we must also refer to our collective herritage as being Judeo-Islamic-Christian herritage. That the clergy of America must know that we are under one God, and that this is the only way to have peace.

Unfortunately, we don't have to wait to be brought to the slaughterhouse, as you eloquently put it. The slaughterhouse has been brought to us.

And given our actions and statements of our leaders, we are showing far more forebearance, patience and understanding than any world power would have, under similar circumstances.

The questions I hear are the silent ones from the thousands of innocent ones who lost their live to the satanic terroists. Who will avenge them? Or will we sit and talk whil other terroists continue to kill out of hate?

I fully agree with the aforesaid article. However, we must also NOT FAIL to realize that the current regime's (TALIBAN) atrocities on humankind are far greater than the imposition of war by the US. There are hundreds and thousands of people being killed in Afghanistan TODAY for no apparent reason -- all in the name of ISLAM.

This should be STOPPED!!!! The only way to stop this is to eradicate the terrorist camps / current regime and hence, put someoneon in power who will actually bring up the country. We have to think with our heads and not our hearts. With or without a war from the US -- the no. of deaths will surmount to the same because the Taliban are butchering people left right and centre ... women are being treated like the underdogs! Come on, does these people not realize where did they initially stem out from -- from a woman's Womb! This is ISLAM, they say! What a bunch of fools! What do they know what ISLAM is!


Intelligent Indeed. Folks in North America must question, requestion, pause and question again with the questions suggested by Abu Jawad. The numb(ed) minds of innocent Americans cannot see far beyond the Atlantic. They must realize there's a world beyond. In the name of Jews, the Usurping Zionists are committing crimes far beyond and more than the WTC since decades. And, in the name of (good) Americans, the Shadow Government (also zionists) are causing havoc.

Let's think & ask the right questions to the right people and everyone else!

from the comforts in Israel (not too many miles away from the camps of WestBank & Gaza)

The mighty king must remember that after his army passes to exact his revenge, he must bring the people peace. We do not want land or resources. We want the threat of future terrorism erased. We must feed the poor after the assasins have been removed from the land. The poor often find a cause because they have "nothing to lose". Less poor and and less frustration will mean less terrorists. Less extremeists. Less corruption of religion and faith. The blind are much more easily lead, because they are blind.

I think you're right.