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Humans are self-interested beings. I guess that's what we have in common with all of the other living creatures on the planet. We are self-interested. We want to live, to survive, to thrive. We want things in life to go our way. Even in a case of animals sacrificing their lives for their progeny, it's still a self-interested case of keeping their species alive.

The question is, what do we do to make things go our way, to make sure we succeed? More importantly, do we act with the thought that our actions will make what we would like to have happen occur? Or is it just a chance to release the energy and emotion we carry that causes an event to take place?

Yesterday, a friend and I were discussing the bombings in London and saying how ineffective they were as a method of "getting what they want" from the western world. It only causes some mayhem, touches a random few people in very tragic ways, and doesn't have a message attached to either explain their position or list off demands. What is the point?

And then today, more bombings in London. Damn! It is the very definition of senseless.

A suggestion was put forth that maybe the USA hasn't gotten tough enough. Maybe we should threaten to pull out the nukes on these countries and just vaporize them off the map if these activities don't stop. But, truly, that isn't going to happen. The word is oil, and we aren't about to turn those vast supplies into radioactive material, until we've dug up Alaska and discovered some previously unknown ocean-sized oil field underneath the feeding grounds of baby seals, excavated and stripped out of the tundra.

Again, many of our problems are due to the fact that we don't speak the language; we don't understand the mindset. And not only that, we aren't interested in learning. How can we possibly hope to wrap our minds around their concepts if we can't even talk to them?

I don't know if you've been watching TNT's miniseries, "Into The West." I have. It is a beautiful, tragic and at times unbearable tale of how the Native Americans were forced out of their homeland because the settlers wanted to take that land for themselves. In a way, things haven't really changed since then. It's still a matter of forcing the will, demanding and getting what you want. There is a metaphor there. We, as a Western society, have gotten what we wanted, from everyone, for the last couple of hundred years. We have been arrogant. We have been thoughtless. We have been controlling. We have been in charge.

Our way of life is available for everyone to see. Our entertainment programs go to every country. Our movies are seen the world over. Our fast food restaurants, soft drinks and other products are available in some very unlikely places.

I don't know how I'd feel if my culture was being overtaken by things that I felt had little or no value to me. In a way, that's what's happening right here in the USA, to US! Between the celebrity tabloid news and the unimportant stories like a women's lacrosse team wearing flip-flops to the White House, where is the information that we need to make some smarter decisions, to become more intelligent people?

But we aren't supposed to become more intelligent. If we did that, then we might not buy a ticket to see "Wedding Crashers."

Profit.

That's the bottom line, everywhere. Those at the tops of Corporate America are interested in profit for their companies and themselves. That's why so many rushed in to help rebuild Iraq. This wasn't any humanitarian call. These were people who were going to get a payday, and a US Gov't manufactured one, at that.

Profit. So ugly. So incidious. Profit creates a need to layoff hundreds of union employees and send jobs to Mexico where the cost of labor is a fraction of workers here. Profit demands people think about the bottom line before everything else. Profit is slowly strangling the life out of our country.

Yes, a company that is successful is giving you a good return, nice stock quotes and helps out the GNP. But that's just part of the statistics. When corporations merge, a lot of people lose work. And when that happens, things go badly.

So, yes, we might be showing a good profit, but that profit is going to a fraction of the population, while the rest of us are treading water or are drowning.

But how does this relate to terrorist bombings in London? Easy. Our attention has been in the wrong place all the while. Rather than profit, we needed to be focused on communication. Instead of ignoring rumblings from various areas of the globe, we should have been in there, talking. Instead of reacting first, then responding to the needs of the people, we should have assessed the needs and likely outcomes before we acted.

It's tough to play "Might Makes Right" games with people who are willing to die to make a counterpoint.

Are there any chances of talks/negotiations with Middle East leaders who can help us stop the terrorists from continuing these insane attacks? Impossible to say. Our Commander-In-Chief has shown who he is, and I haven't seen any real signs of diplomacy from him. And these terrorists don't think highly of leaders that are willing to talk with us. The guns are out and blazing from both sides, and even if the target in our scopes isn't the one we really wanted, it is a target, it's an example for the rest of the world to see, and it's accomplishing something.

What happens now? Are these London bombings another wave of terror all over the world, after New York and Madrid? Or will they just serve as an opportunity for certain companies to profit from the repairs needed to get things back to where they once were, and back to business?

The anger is growing: The anger that the terrorists want to convert into fear for us. It's all just the nature of the beast. It's been that way since before time began. No need to think it's going to change, now or ever.

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
checkmeout
Jul. 21st, 2005 08:08 pm (UTC)
I have been touched, angered and impressed by the "Into the West" series. Indianapolis has a wonderful museum honoring the Native Americans. The Eiteljorg museum has really put into perspective "our" conquest of the land we now call the United States. I really feel like the series, like the museum, gives us a side so often overlooked. I can't say enough about it. In fact, I talk about it alot in my Multicultural Counseling course!
penpusher
Jul. 21st, 2005 08:27 pm (UTC)
It's a truism that history is written by the victors. And there's so much of this miniseries that has that ring of truth to it. Especially bitter was the "help" that stole the children of the natives away to that school in Pennsylvania, allegedly intending to teach these children the "civilized" ways, but in fact only attempted to destroy their culture.

I think we can easily see who were the "savages" and who were the "civilized" in this story.

This miniseries is one every American should see!
sparkle_shortz
Jul. 21st, 2005 08:55 pm (UTC)
I'm surprised by that. I heard it was pretty stereotypical (pitting good Indians against bad ones) at the beginning. But I'm glad that the honky is coming off worst, at least.
penpusher
Jul. 21st, 2005 09:17 pm (UTC)
Mm. There's very little Good Indian/Bad Indian interplay here. It's mostly the White settlers against whichever Nation was on the land they wanted.

Very worthwhile. If it comes out as a DVD, I will definitely add it to my collection.
ninjaguydan
Jul. 21st, 2005 08:21 pm (UTC)
it would be a far bloodier conflict if I had anything to do with it...
Diplomacy won't work with the extemists, I would institute a clean sweep assasasination program for the families of Suicide bombers....why them? The bombers are devoutly religious and family oriented, they may not care what happens to them, but I doubt they would want to see their mother tortured and executed on camera for all to see, broadcast by the secret wing...

secret wing?

Our military needs a terrorist wing..a secret army acting under orders, but disavowed publicly by the commander in chief. Everytime something blows up here, we blow up something important in Saudi Arabia. Escalation will draw the enemy into the open. When they get so angry they can't think clearly our invisble soldiers (mostly death row inmates and our own domestic killers sent abroad to create havoc. I would use a 10:1 ratio, for everyone one of us killed ten of theirs will die. It may not be pretty and no one here is going to win any medals, but terror can only be defeated by greater terror. and it may be a deterrent to a culture that only understands force and over-authoritarian means...the wishful thinking won't work with these killers. They don;t represent a nation or any specific group of people. Soldiers are inneffective against this type of threat. Some corn fed farm boy from quantico is not gonna be able to infiltrate the madrassas.

The only problem is when do we stop? and what happens to the secret wing once the war is over...It's a vicious little circle, but that's what makes human history so damned funny...but in real life, I would not put it past the president to set these attacks up to unify a weakening coalition..something to think about.
penpusher
Jul. 21st, 2005 08:39 pm (UTC)
Re: it would be a far bloodier conflict if I had anything to do with it...
We wouldn't be using diplomacy with the extremists, but with the people who lead their countries. Clearly any extremists have their mindset and will not waver. But the people who know how these minds think perhaps can do something within their own country and deal with them in their own way.

The trouble with escalating a terrorist war is that it's a vicious cycle upward. They will continue as the violence comes back. Is it possible to scare them with more death if they are willing to achieve "martyrdom" (in quotes because that really isn't what they're doing).

Covert action plans have long been a part of the US involvement in the Middle East. I suspect that any plan we try from here on out would need to have this as part of the concept.

The problem is in finding the proper targets for retribution. And the issue there is not knowing the people, their methods, what they need, who is in charge, what they expect, their best and worst case concepts, and on and on.

We could just go in and blow stuff up. But would that stop the terror machine or, pardon the pun, give it more fuel?

No one is stopping to consider what needs to happen. It's going to take strength and smarts to achieve the peace. We have one... but is there any of the other?
sparkle_shortz
Jul. 21st, 2005 08:56 pm (UTC)
Re: it would be a far bloodier conflict if I had anything to do with it...
Definitely give it more fuel.

Look at Israel and the Palestinians.
penpusher
Jul. 21st, 2005 09:19 pm (UTC)
Re: it would be a far bloodier conflict if I had anything to do with it...
Yes. As long as there's someone to fight, that fight will continue.

It's like that moment from West Side Story...

Jets: Well, THEY began it!

Sharks: Well, THEY began it!

Jets and Sharks: And we're the ones to fix 'em once and for all!
sparkle_shortz
Jul. 21st, 2005 09:45 pm (UTC)
Re: it would be a far bloodier conflict if I had anything to do with it...
The thing that amazes me, when I read about Western-Muslim conflicts (for lack of a better term, since, in particular in Israel, the geography is the issue), is how much anecdotal evidence there is that ordinary Muslims the world over oppose the fundamentalists and radicals yet are pushed into that belief system by circumstance.
ninjaguydan
Jul. 21st, 2005 10:05 pm (UTC)
Re: it would be a far bloodier conflict if I had anything to do with it...
You may be right, my temper is way too short for such delicate matters.


I was probably born in the wrong century,
-)
sparkle_shortz
Jul. 21st, 2005 08:53 pm (UTC)
Well damn.
sasquatch
Jul. 21st, 2005 10:08 pm (UTC)
I really don't think there's a viable way to stop this. The only way this is going to stop is if people stop perpetuating these ideologies of hate. As long as parents raise their children to believe that we are evil this will continue. It works the other way too. We have to do the same for our children. That's a pretty tall order though. It would take generations to accomplish such a thing and it may never happen. Unfortunately, I think there will always be terror in the world because there will always be people who know no other way than violence.
tygerx
Jul. 21st, 2005 10:43 pm (UTC)
it's times like these I almost envy the simplistic life of animals.. at least when they kill or attack it has *purpose*, whether it be survival or fear. Give a mammal an advanced brain and they'll misuse it. :\

and yea, those corporate gestapos *shakes fist*.. I'm so anti profit, when I worked retail I would sell people the cheapest deals instead of the manager's request to get them to buy more accessories. Greed and Power will always be a driving force unfortunately.. hell even the animal kingdom has alpha males ruling the brood and fighting for territory.

and here's one point someone brought up to me.. the Defense Dept. spends so much money on weapons that at some point they *have* to be used.. how convenient they got to be so useful now..hmm.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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