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Just A Flesh Wound.

"Yeah, I'm dead. But it didn't hurt."

I've been taken to task for suggesting Al Qaeda really aren't all that good at killing Americans. (Just scroll down.)

I assumed that we all understood that it was a good thing to denigrate the power of our enemies. I guess not.

The Left uses those sorts of statements to support the proposition that we don't need to treat Al Qaeda as a serious problem and that we can all go back to bitching about, like, the corporations, man.

The Right, in order to keep up support for the war on terror -- and its retarded cousin, the Iraq war -- believe we should highlight the enemy's destructive power and feed the fear, fan the flames.

So. Let me explain why I wrote that post, and why I stand behind it.

Nothing in this world would make me happier than learning that we have at last flown a missile straight into Osama's cave, and straight up his ass, and reduced him to a red stain drip, drip, dripping from the rocks. When that day comes I will pop a bottle of Dom Perignon and drink a toast and laugh, laugh, laugh.

I am not a moral relativist. I believe in good and evil. Al Qaeda is evil. We, however stupid we may be at times, however poorly-led, are good. The United States of America, with all its many, many faults, is the best thing ever to have happened to civilization. Them bad, us good.

I'm not a moral relativist and I'm not squeamish: I want these people dead. I was a happy boy when Saddam's sons -- Bad and Worse -- turned up dead. I giggled like a schoolgirl when I learned Zarqawi had bought it. I went around happy all day. And when they cinch that rope up around Saddam's throat I'll dance the happy dance. Sometimes I worry that everyone has forgotten that Mullah Omar needs to die, too. I have a list.

But I don't like magnifying fear. I don't like cowering and flinching. I don't want to do the bad guy's job for them by making them ten feet tall and made of adamantium. The point of terrorism is to terrify and to the extent that we allow ourselves to be frightened, we do the enemy's work for them.

I believe in defiance in the face of fear. I didn't mind it when Mr. Bush said, "Bring it on."
I believe, although it doesn't make much sense really, that "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself." My favorite Civil War quote, the possibly apocryphal remark of a Union soldier on the subject of General Grant: "Ulysses don't scare worth a damn." I believe in the loud, "Fuck you." They want us scared? Fuck 'em.

In addition to a probably pathological addiction to defiance as an attitude, I have a throw-back, antique sense of what men should be. I don't apologize, even to my feminist wife, for believing that men -- men in specific -- need to be able to manage their emotions, remain calm in a crisis, and suppress fear. If we aren't the ones keeping our shit together while some nut (a man, inevitably) is brandishing a gun, then I don't know what it is we do in this world that isn't done better by women. I'm old school in that. I'm John Wayne era.

When I get hit I want to say, in true John Wayne style, "It's nothin'. Just a flesh wound." I don't always pull that off, but that's what I aim for.

So, yes, I denigrate the destructive capabilities of our enemies. What other course should we take in the face of attempts to intimidate us? We're the Americans, for God's sake. If we aren't brave, who will be?

I'll repeat: Al Qaeda? They've killed 3,000 Americans in five years. Fewer people than die from bike accidents. They're not ten feet tall. They're not supermen. They're punks. And we're going to destroy them.

That attitude doesn't fit neatly into the Left's agenda, or the Right's agenda, but then again, fuck both of them, too. They got nuthin'.

“Just A Flesh Wound.”

  1. Anonymous PatHMV Says:

    Much more clearly said than last time you tried...

  2. Blogger Melinda Says:

    The new issue of The Atlantic Monthly has a cover story called "A New Strategy For the Fight Against Terror." The cover text reads:

    "We Win. Al-Qaeda's mistakes, and our successes, have sharply reduced the terrorist network's ability to harm the United States. Its threat now rests less on what it can do itself than on what it can trick, tempt, or goad us into doing. Its destiny is no longer in its own hands..."

    I thought it reminded me of the point you were making in your original post, and of FDR's "the only thing we have to fear," etc.

  3. Anonymous GN Says:

    Damn right, Pilgrim!

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