Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Elephant and the Ants

I can't find a fable about this, so I'll make one up.

"Once there was an elephant bitten by a few ants. In his rage he crushed all the ants, innocent and guilty, and tore up the forest, until in his frenzy he toppled over a cliff."

I have no idea how many members "al Qaeda" (or whatever it's called now) has. I've read, maybe 1000. Not many. Yet the United States, the most powerful country in history, with going on 300 million people, has tried to get other nations to join us in declaring "war". . .on 1000 people.

It'd be funny if it wasn't a tragedy.

Instead, these 1000 people should have been treated as the murderous criminals they are – hunted, captured and tried, or killed if they resisted.

Instead, we've conquered two countries, although neither is conquered, and never will be, not unless we act like ancient amoral pagans and put everything to the sword – men, women, children, babies, goats. And we're not going to do that. Societies that have done such things aren't around anymore. They've collapsed from the inside, from moral degradation.

I am reminded of the saying, "You can conquer a country on horseback, but you have to dismount to rule it." We're not going to dismount.

Personally, I think Osama bin Laden is a bunch of crushed bones under several thousand tons of rock. I'll bet he's laughing from the grave, though. The US is doing exactly what he wanted – attacking and conquering foreign countries that did not attack us, getting over 600 Americans killed, wasting hundreds of billions of dollars, deluding itself it can remake societies millennia older than ours, murdering innocent foreigners by the tens of thousands, and making enemies out of people who weren't our enemies.

And all of it to crush an ant. It's like using a stick of dynamite to kill an amoeba.

The US has gotten itself into a 1400-year-old religious war, one I suspect will take us up to a decade to extricate ourselves from. Mostly I think it's to save face, whatever that means.

I've had people tell me, "We've got to do this! These Islamo-fascists hate us! They want to conquer the world!" I always respond, "How are a thousand people going to conquer the world, even if they do hate us? With what are they going to conquer us? They're about a thousand years behind us. They have to use our weapons against us, because they have no armies, navies or air forces."

They've never been able to tell me how these people are going to conquer the world. Some mumble about "atomic bombs" being set off in the US, as if we'd roll over and surrender, like kicked puppies. Even if nuclear weapons could be detonated in the US (and I don't think they can), our response would probably be to make Mecca and Medina uninhabitable for 1000 years. Our opponents know this.

People also tell me our opponents will immigrate into other countries and take them over that way. In that case, the threat is internal, not external, and easily solved through deportation.

The idea of our opponents conquering us is exactly the same as an ant conquering an elephant. The only way it can do it is if the elephant overreacts, thrashes around and crashes over a cliff. Instead, the elephant should step only on the ants biting it, and leave the rest alone.

It seems to be too late for that, now.

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