Along the Tracks

Thursday, March 06, 2003
 

Osama next?


I sure hope Brian Ross isn’t just toying with our emotions here.

The downfall of Marci Kaptur


Marcy, oh Marcy - do you know what you are saying?

Marci, in a discussion Friday, tossed out a variety of objections to a war in Iraq - many of them legitimate and reasonable, even though I would disagree. But for some inexplicable reason, she felt the need not only to argue against war on its merits, but to impugn the founders of her own nation, and by extension, the ideals for which they fought.

Her central tenet:
“One could say that Osama bin Laden and these non-nation-state fighters with religious purpose are very similar to those kind of atypical revolutionaries that helped to cast off the British crown.”

I wish her words made me angry; they just make me sick.

Marcy always struck me as an honest, forthright populist, standing on liberal principles - with a freedom-defending libertarian streak. I often thought she was mistaken in her analysis, sometimes woefully so, but I was convinced her heart - the key organ in any liberal - was in the right place. And I would never - never - have questioned her devotion to America.

Her comment comparing the Green Mountain Boys and other American revolutionaries with al Qaeda leaves me dizzy. Were there illegitimate acts of violence, aimed at non-combatants, during the Revolution? Certainly (few and far between, but an honest answer is they did happen), but they were on the periphery, not organized and sanctioned by the Green Mountain Boys or any other of the forces which assembled to fight for independence from Britain.

And, very importantly, what were these revolutionaries fighting for? The Declaration of Independence spells it out: Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, under a government of laws answerable to the people. Those are liberal values, in the original, best sense of the word. How on earth can Marcy compare liberal revolutionaries with organizations which see all members of other religions, and all fellow religionists who do not subscribe to their strict interpretation, as enemies?

Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad - these are terrorists, not because we label them as such, but because THEY TARGET CIVILIANS FOR DEATH IN AN EFFORT TO CREATE AN ATMOSPHERE OF TERROR. The Green Mountain Boys didn’t do that. George Washington’s Continental Army didn’t do that. The various colonial militias didn’t do that. And that targeting of non-combatants with the goal of instigating fear (it seems so obvious I can hardly believe I’m writing it yet again!) is THE defining characteristic of a terrorist group.

Doesn’t Marcy believe, truly believe, in those founding principles for which our forefathers (and mothers) fought? This is crucial; if she questions the war on terrorism based on moral relativism - we are (were) no better than the terrorists - she must question the motives of our own American revolutionaries. Those motives are spelled out in the Declaration and the subsequent United States Constitution. Those are documents she swore an oath to uphold. If she now questions America’s founding principles - for which the Green Mountain Boys, George Washington, and others she compares with mass murderers fought - she has no business being in Congress.

She should resign her seat.


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