and I found ourselves stopped behind a heavily bumper-stickered automobile last weekend. I will highlight three stickers as representative of the vehicle: (1) "Free Tibet Free Palestine", (2) [yellow '=' on blue background]
, and (3):
"We are making enemies faster than we can kill them"
Now, that last one prompts two immediate questions from me. First, who has the figures on how many enemies we are making? Second, can we use that as an endorsement to speed up the killing and rectify the situation? Because when push comes to shove comes to punch comes to shoot comes to inventing an entirely new class of destructive capability, the United States takes a back seat to no one. Check the data if you don't believe me: the United States led the world in exports of rubble in the biennium 1944-45; greater rubble exports than the rest of the world combined
, in fact. Interestingly, once the world's appetite for importing rubble was sated, the enemies disappeared -- which ought to be a cautionary tale on the utility of half-measures.
But aside from my knee-jerk reaction, do you see a consistent, unifying concept behind the stickers? I do not. They're a complete mess. Take "Free Tibet," for example, which the ChiComs literally did. In the U.S., the sticker's sentiment has practically universal support. Yes, we would very much like Tibet to be free. But the creator of the sticker mosaic, who is Deeply Concerned about a few hundred thousand Islamofascist wackos that are in a frenzy over the U.S. pouring its national wealth into Iraq, apparently doesn't even bat an eye at the hundreds of millions
of Chinese who -- I dunno -- might be your enemy
if you try to take Tibet from them.
Even putting that aside, let's focus on these enemies we are supposedly "making" now, presumably by having the temerity to actually fight them. I seem to recall that we weren't fighting them in 1993, and they bombed the World Trade Center
. Did we call the military? Nope. We let the FBI handle it. Criminal matter, you see. So we weren't fighting them in 1996 when they attacked the Khobar Towers
. The FBI was sent to investigate that as well. We weren't doing much fighting in 1998 when the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania
were bombed, nor in 2000 when the USS Cole
was attacked. After 9/11
, how much more of this "not making enemies" could we reasonably stand? And do spare me the drivel about our "agressive American imperialism" making enemies, since that "imperialism" at the time was guaranteeing that muslims could continue to live in the Balkans, that Kuwaitis could have their own country, that the wealth of the OPEC nations could be safely transported on the world's oceans, etc. Lame complaints about how mean and awful America is also fail to explain why London, Madrid, Bali, Casablanca, Egypt and Russia had to be attacked as well.
So given the rather obvious fact that our enemy
, the militant Islamic radical, is motivated to kill by one's insufficient Islamic-ness
, how will bumper-sticker guy make nice with the radical and still pursue gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgendered equality (the yellow "equal sign" sticker)? How, exactly, will he square that circle? He cannot, because the back of his car is completely divorced from realpolitik. Rather, it is cant. It is, metaphorically, religion. Recall Ned Flanders' frustrated appeal to God
: "I've done everything the Bible says - even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff!" Bumper sticker guy wants all his stickers to be made true, even the stickers that contradict the other stickers.