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The Case for Rage and Retribution ^ | Wednesday, September 12, 2001 | Lance Morrow

Posted on 09/16/2001 5:06:19 PM PDT by Mel Gibson

For once, let’s have no “grief counselors” standing by with banal consolations, as if the purpose, in the midst of all this, were merely to make everyone feel better as quickly as possible. We shouldn’t feel better.

For once, let’s have no fatuous rhetoric about “healing.” Healing is inappropriate now, and dangerous. There will be time later for the tears of misfortune note.

A day cannot live in infamy without the nourishment of rage. Let’s have rage. What’s needed is a unified, unifying, Pearl Harbor sort of purple American fury—a ruthless indignation that doesn’t leak away in a week or two, wandering off into Prozac-induced forgetfulness or into the next media sensation (O.J. … Elián … Chandra …) or into a corruptly thoughtful relativism (as has happened in the recent past, when, for example, you might hear someone say, “Terrible what he did, of course, but, you know, the Unabomber does have a point, doesn’t he, about modern technology?”).

Let America explore the rich reciprocal possibilities of the fatwa. A policy of focused brutality does not come easily to a self-conscious, self-indulgent, contradictory, diverse, humane nation with a short attention span. America needs to relearn a lost discipline, self-confident relentlessness—and to relearn why human nature has equipped us all with a weapon (abhorred in decent peacetime societies) called hatred.

As the bodies are counted, into the thousands and thousands, hatred will not, I think, be a difficult emotion to summon. Is the medicine too strong? Call it, rather, a wholesome and intelligent enmity—the sort that impels even such a prosperous, messily tolerant organism as America to act. Anyone who does not loathe the people who did these things, and the people who cheer them on, is too philosophical for decent company.

It’s a practical matter, anyway. In war, enemies are enemies. You find them and put them out of business, on the sound principle that that’s what they are trying to do to you. If what happened on Tuesday does not give Americans the political will needed to exterminate men like Osama bin Laden and those who conspire with them in evil mischief, then nothing ever will and we are in for a procession of black Tuesdays.

This was terrorism brought to near perfection as a dramatic form. Never has the evil business had such production values. Normally, the audience sees only the smoking aftermath—the blown-up embassy, the ruined barracks, the ship with a blackened hole at the waterline. This time the first plane striking the first tower acted as a shill. It alerted the media, brought cameras to the scene so that they might be set up to record the vivid surreal bloom of the second strike (“Am I seeing this?”), and then—could they be such engineering geniuses, so deft at demolition?—the catastrophic collapse of the two towers, one after the other, and a sequence of panic in the streets that might have been shot for a remake of The War of the Worlds or for Independence Day. Evil possesses an instinct for theater, which is why, in an era of gaudy and gifted media, evil may vastly magnify its damage by the power of horrific images.

It is important not to be transfixed. The police screamed to the people running from the towers, “Don’t look back!”—a biblical warning against the power of the image. Terrorism is sometimes described (in a frustrated oh-the-burdens-of-great-power tone of voice) as “asymmetrical warfare.” So what? Most of history is a pageant of asymmetries. It is mostly the asymmetries that cause history to happen—an obscure Schickelgruber nearly destroys Europe; a mere atom, artfully diddled, incinerates a city. Elegant perplexity puts too much emphasis on the “asymmetrical” side of the phrase and not enough on the fact that it is, indeed, real warfare. Asymmetry is a concept. War is, as we see, blood and death.

It is not a bad idea to repeat a line from the 19th century French anarchist thinker Pierre-Joseph Prou-dhon: “The fecundity of the unexpected far exceeds the prudence of statesmen.” America, in the spasms of a few hours, became a changed country. It turned the corner, at last, out of the 1990s. The menu of American priorities was rearranged. The presidency of George W. Bush begins now. What seemed important a few days ago (in the media, at least) became instantly trivial. If Gary Condit is mentioned once in the next six months on cable television, I will be astonished.

During World War II, John Kennedy wrote home to his parents from the Pacific. He remarked that Americans are at their best during very good times or very bad times; the in-between periods, he thought, cause them trouble. I’m not sure that is true. Good times sometimes have a tendency to make Americans squalid. The worst times, as we see, separate the civilized of the world from the uncivilized. This is the moment of clarity. Let the civilized toughen up, and let the uncivilized take their chances in the game they started.

TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events
Maybe God can find "compassion", "forgiveness" and "healing" for these terrorists, but I can't find the time.

Cry Havoc, and let slip the Dogs of War;
that this Foul Deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial!

1 posted on 09/16/2001 5:06:19 PM PDT by Mel Gibson
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To: Mel Gibson
And after the rubble has been pounded into dust, sow salt upon the land so that nothing will grow for a hundred years.
2 posted on 09/16/2001 5:12:44 PM PDT by AngrySpud
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To: AngrySpud
A Carthagenian Peace for them: no males to become suicide bombers, no females to bear more of them, their habitations pulled down so that no two stones remain standing, and let the earth be so salted that nothing will grow for 1,000 years, 10,000 years.

But, above all, remember, the terrorists have chosen this for themselves. Those who harbor them have chosen this for themselves.

This is a time for choosing: what side are you on? in the words of the old Union song. The peoples of the world, Christian, Jew, Moslem, Hindu, Taoist, Budhist, Athiest, must choose: civilization and the West, or those who hate it. If they chose to support those who hate the West, the West must ruthlessly destroy them.

3 posted on 09/16/2001 5:25:31 PM PDT by CatoRenasci
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To: Mel Gibson
How did this sensible article - including its denunciation of relativism - find its way into Time magazine, that haven of left-wing political correctness?

We are sometimes told that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged. Maybe so, and on Tuesday two of America's most liberal cities got mugged. The times, they are a'changing.

4 posted on 09/16/2001 5:29:13 PM PDT by Malesherbes
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To: Mel Gibson
I remember once settling an argument by blending a baseball bat with a car's windshield.

I tried persuasion using words first, but they weren't sufficiently compelling.

The baseball bat was just what was needed to quickly produce the desired result.

One of the dirty little secrets of life is that Rage Works. Our duty is not to squelch it... Our duty is to harness it for use in the service of a higher cause.

5 posted on 09/16/2001 5:40:52 PM PDT by DWSUWF
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To: Mel Gibson

Little Boy Boogie:

Wake up Little Boy.
No it's not for tests or school.
It's a lovely day to laugh and play,
and dance in the dust of Kabul.

Come on sleepy head,
it's been such a long long while.
That the world's almost forgotten
the brilliance of your smile.

Let's fly to Damascus
We'll go skipping cross the dunes.
We'll have such fun, we'll outshine the Sun,
and shout echoes off the Moon.

My bright shining boyo,
you've been sleeping far too long.
Time to climb from your deep deep bed,
and sing your happy song.

Come open your present,
take a look what you just got.
A brand new cobalt jacket!
Man I tell you these are hot.

Little Boy time to go now -
Bring your friend the Fat Man too.
We'll have such fun, we'll outshine the Sun,
and dance in the dust of Kabul.

6 posted on 09/16/2001 6:10:23 PM PDT by N00dleN0gg1n
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