Steve Sachs Duke


Tuesday, May 11, 2004


For Their Sake and Ours: From a commenter on

Imagine the next terrorist attack. Suppose nuclear devices are set off simultaneously in New York, Washington, and Los Angeles. Suppose not 3000 dead but 300000 dead. What do you think the American people will demand of our President then? My greatest fear is that we will become genocidal. The cry will be to kill them all. As much as we are there to protect the US against the Arab Muslims, we are also there to protect the Arabs from the US. It is one thing for Bin Laden to issue a fatwah to kill all the Americans. He does not have the capability to do it. It is something else entirely for the US to decide to kill all the Arabs. We have the capability. We are closer than everyone thinks to this day. For their sake and ours, we must stay and prevail.

I don't think we are, in fact, close to that day. But when I read the news about Iraq now, when I read how we've squandered some of our moral credibility at Abu Ghraib, when I read how modern science has simplified the task of killing civilians with radiation, when I read how suicide bombing has become for some groups a standard tool of domestic politics -- I worry, not only for American lives, but for the survival of American values. As I wrote to a friend in February 2003:

I think this is our generation's equivalent of the Cold War threat of World War III, when our parents had to put their head under the desk at school; it's hard to see how any other issue matters much in comparison. If there were a major WMD attack on American soil, much of what we value about our society -- its openness, its adventurousness, its prosperity, its commitment to civil liberties -- might disappear. A terrorist attack on a sufficient scale, or a series of smaller attacks, would turn this country into an armed camp. And how tolerant of other cultures or other countries' positions, and how willing to pour our treasures into fighting poverty or the AIDS epidemic, would we be then?
I also think this is why the left, in a fundamental way, is out of touch with people's concerns. I recently came across an article written by Susan George in The Nation about a year ago . . . . What struck me most was this quote: "The adversary hasn't changed since September 11. That adversary is still 'Davos' and everything Davos stands for, whether meeting in the mountains or on the banks of the Hudson. Homo davosiensis wants all the resources, all the wealth, all the power and all the freedom to extend his ascendancy across time and space."

As I wrote then, I just can't see the enemy as the man from Davos. However much one desires to reduce global poverty in the long term, the adversaries in the short and medium-term are Osama bin Laden, those eager to follow his model, and those willing to supply or support them. And I don't see an easier way to counter the bin Ladens of the world than to redirect the energy that's now going towards terrorism and deadly weapons, to work to create a democratic order where individuals can find dignity outside of martyrdom.

Those who truly care about the former cause must commit themselves to achieving success in the latter. But we don't have much time left. For their sake and ours.




Blog Archives

Front page
XML Feed


© 2011 Stephen E. Sachs


Anglia Regnum