Now I am terrified at the Earth! it is that calm and patient,
It grows such sweet things out of such corruptions,
It turns harmless and stainless on its axis, with such endless successions of diseas’d corpses,
It distils such exquisite winds out of such infused fetor,
It renews with such unwitting looks, its prodigal, annual, sumptuous crops,
It gives such divine materials to men, and accepts such leavings from them at last.
…………………………………………… Walt Whitman “This Compost”
Perhaps if we, too, are calm and patient, if we can analyze the situation accurately, and if we can act accordingly, then we will be able to go beyond mere righteous anger and make a better world, or at least a safer one, than the one that existed before this despicable act.
If not, then we may well be doomed to live the cycle of violence that is the heritage of most wars, wars that are never really won or lost , but that continue to this day to be played out in the minds of the warring parties.
Let’s at least hope that America has learned the dangers of creating a fanatic like Osama bin Laden to fight our enemies only to learn that we are his true enemy. Let’s not create new “bin Ladens” in our effort to destroy this Frankenstein monster that we created through our own ignorance. How fittingly ironic that this man we used to destroy the “Evil Empire” should come back to haunt us “evil incarnate.”
And if we do invade Afghanistan in order to punish the terrorists, let’s hope that our leaders can at least show the wisdom of Truman and Marshall and provide the kind of aid to the country that will transform it into a future ally rather than a charred battlefield waiting for the winds of change to create a new firestorm to sweep across the west.
At least Secretary of State Powell, a veteran of United States’ s failed attempt to create a Viet Nam in our own image, seems to understand the need to handle this campaign with restraint and with limited objectiives. Having fought in Viet Nam it is unlikely that he believes it is really possible to “destroy evil,” because in order to do so you would have to destroy those who become “evil”; trying to carry out the so-called noble aims of their own country.