This is a response to Steve's "Round Two" Essay.

Steve: I’ve been watching and reading and listening to every thing I can about what’s going on and what’s been going on and what might happen with this whole Afghanistan/Islamic/Muslim thing. I certainly hope all of you have! I’m seeing all sorts of things coming up here at Synergy that are surprising. Why am I surprised? What’s wrong with the ideas being presented here? There is never really anything wrong with ideas or the concept of sharing those ideas and trying to make the world a better place with those ideas. When the information those ideas are based on is wrong or deceptive or naïve or seriously biased, then the ideas become nonsense. Yikes, did I say nonsense!!! Yes.

Cary: I can tell that you have not internalized anything that has been said. Have you considered any of it?

C: How are we basing our ideas on information which is wrong, deceptive, naive or biased? Can you give examples? Is it possible that in fact you are accepting the mainstream media's account of what is happening without question? I suggest that you recall who controls the media and who benefits from reporting as they do before you accept it as gospel. I know that some of my counterparts on Synergy, e eyles and Mike Mossey for example, are avid readers and consumers of various mainstream and alternative forms of media, history, political thought...

S: With all the things I have gleaned from the information being tossed at us at the incredible rate that it is coming, I have been able to determine just a few things. There is a terrible hate of the “west” by a fairly large group of radicals in the mid-east. The most radical of these groups has launched an all out assault against our way of life, our government, our values, our religions. We are trying to fight back by stopping their ability to bring their war into our country because of past acts on their behalf by their warriors/soldiers. Now, I know as well as anyone that’s a simplification of the situation, but in a nutshell that’s it! The details don’t really matter to us right now.

C: It really scares me when I hear people saying that this isn't the time to pay attention to the details or worry about the complexities of the situation or TO THINK!!! We need to fully understand the implications of history and why this happened and the possible consequences of our actions.

C: It is not only radical groups in other countries who hate us. I have to go back to Jerre's question: Why do they hate us? That is what is so important - if we can better understand this and do something about it then the immense death and destruction will not be in vain.

S: I don’t put anyone down for their beliefs, religion, values, point of view, color, sex, etc, etc, etc. It is because I am an American that I was raised to feel this way, to perceive the world this way.

C: While I admire that you are not prejudiced or racist or sexist, etc. I would not say that all or necessarily even the majority of Americans are this way. It is an ideal certainly but we see cases of violence and oppression in our country everyday. Women still make less money in this country. People still sleep on the street. How many people are hurt everyday because they are gay? Didn't Americans hurt Arab-Americans after the attacks? We have serious problems in our country. I do not say this to encouarge isolationism. Rather to highlight that we do not know how to solve the problems in the U.S., let alone the world, and we continue to show it all the time.

S: The people we’re fighting, (if anyone’s been watching) feel just the opposite. We’re hated because we’re not like them, because we’re different from them and because our values are not the same. It is because they are Islamic radicals that they were raised to feel this way!
They are the opposite of what we are!

C: That is incredibly oversimplistic. They do not hate us because we are different. And who are "they" anyways? The Afghanistan people? If you are talking about the terrorists - and recall that we do not KNOW who they are and have not given any one due process per our system of justice in America - everyone is making simplistic guesses about why they hate us. We are not investigating our foreign policy or the way our actions effect other nations - the serious actions we have taken in the past which dramatically affected hundreds of lives such as in Israel and Pakistan.

C: I also really resent the idea "they" are the opposite "of what we are" – this sounds like the rhetoric of a bigot (which you are not) and is in the language of propoganda.

C: To return to the due process idea, the Taliban said they would give us bin Laden if we gave them our evidence. We refused. Then they offered to give him up to another country WITHOUT EVIDENCE and we still refused. If this war is really about getting him and getting into his network, how does this make sense? Please do not tell me that this is negotiating with terrorists because these seem like reasonable requests and the Taliban has not been implicated as terrorists. No, we do not like their policies or their treatment of their citizens - in particular the Afghan women - but that is not why this started. It is a convenient excuse, addition, to this war. We didn't care - most of us didn't even know about the Taliban - on September 10th.

S: An interview I watched the other night with a young soldier of some warring faction in Afghanistan was so unbelievable. Asked what he did, he said "I fight, everyday, I fight") Why did he fight? "I am a soldier, it’s what I do" then he continued "War is good, I fight everyday. What else would I do?"

C: I would be happy to defer to some of the readers and artists who have been in U.S. boot camps but this doesn't seem to far off from the ideas in our military complex. Besides, let's assume that we all agree that this is different from our military and that these men are trained to only fight and that this is absolutely wrong with no qualifications. Are we to assume that this would stop by FIGHTING WITH THEM?! Read Cari Oleskewicz's "The Cookie Jar" - they only know to fight so we go and fight with them. It is irrational. Shouldn't we study why they are this way so that we can truly avoid this in the future? Think of an injury or a disease. Certainly we have to do short term damage control. Put on a turniquet or give the person medication (this is what is being done in New York). But do you stop there? Do you not bother finding out why a person is ill?

S: Sheesh.
We are as much a product of our environment as we are of heredity. These people are what they are. Maybe some day we’ll be able to help them be something different. But right now like it or not, they are our very deadly enemy. If any one of us were dropped into their country in the midst of the Taliban we would be killed outright because we are not them!

C: As you are encouraging killing them because they are they.

S: Period!
What is it that you would say to any one of them that would change their warrior mindset. What peaceful suggestions could you make to help them see that they should kill us. If you are in anyway a realist (not that you can’t also be an idealist) and in touch with reality you would realize that we must first defend the lives of our citizens and loved ones and friends before any changes can be made in that dark part of the world. No one is listening over there! No one. So you have no minds to change. You have no ears to plead to. You have no point to be made.

C: I am sure that no one is listening to me here. But I will yell into the night - at least to be able to say I tried! To that end, I continue and I have to ask again, who is them? Who are they? If "they" is the terrorists I certainly do not agree with their tactics as I do not agree with our tactics. But I also know that people do not just become like that. They are not born that way. They are vulnerable to leaders like bin Laden because of the extreme poverty and constant violence they have been exposed to in a war torn country. If we have contributed to this in any way then we hold responsibility for what has occurred as well. We cannot talk to them one on one and change things - I agree - but we can try to avoid the creation of social conditions which would lead to this. It is ridiculous to not try anything other than destruction and killing. This shows as little regard for human life as anything that occurred at the WTC.

C: If you are talking about the Taliban that is a whole other story. As I said earlier, their poor treatment of their people is not what is at issue here. You claim we are fighting this war for our defense, not to help Afghans.

C: Why have peace talks been completely ruled out? Jesse Jackson was asked to go but refused. Powell tells Pakistan and Israel that violence isn’t the answer but that doesn't fly for us. I submit that most of this is about money and oil. See: America's pipe dream

C: How are we defending our country? What is the threat? More terrorism? As I said in an earlier writing, to which you not have specifically responded, the threat of terrorism has reportedly increased since we began bombing Afghanistan. Just yesterday we got another cryptic threat (FBI warnings). So we are killing innocent, and not-so innocent Afghans, and increasing the risk to all Americans as well.

C: As I like to do, I will depend on another's words to end:
"But, at the end of the day, not all of us are wise... For indeed, wisdom goes way down deeper than rationale and thinking... Wisdom (sapientia, from sapere), among other things, describes the character of those who see human life in true perspective and who make decisions and face crises and difficult moments in a fruitful way... Despite these unspeakable and horrible events that we all have witnessed, may we all be wise and put the value and meaning of human life in true perspective." - from the Belgian K.U. Leuven University

Thank you for engaging in this discussion (Dad, and all of you who are involved).

Cary Hopkins Eyles

...............Steve's "Round Two"............... Synergy Home