The Senate is debating whether or not guys who go by the rules of the Geneva Convention can defeat guys who torture people and shoot them in the back of the head. Even Colin Powell jumped in and said he thinks we should adhere to the Geneva Conventions in order to protect the safety of our own troops, as if the terrorists are likely to observe the rules if they get their hands on our troops.
George Bush, on the other hand, thinks the Geneva Conventions ought to be as malleable as Silly Putty.
Certainly, there’s an acceptable middle ground. After all, the norms of behavior that inspired the Geneva Convention relate to the usual sort of warfare, where there is at least some semblance of honorable conduct. We find ourselves in a time when the enemy knows nothing about the traditional norms of combat. They are, as we know, thugs who perpetrate torture and murder as expedients to causing as much outrage as possible and, perversely enough, they work their barbarisms in the name of their kidnapped God.
How is civilization, which is strolling down the lane counting daisies while these monsters wait in ambush, to have a fighting chance against them? Launching a realistic debate is pretty urgent. Though he errs in cocksure excess, GWB is right about one thing. This is the war of the worlds – our civilization against their heathenism, and, if we’re going to stand a chance, we better have the weapons we need at the ready.
Never to compare our bravely defiant colonists with the unconscionable torturers and murderers afoot in radical Muslimism, but when our Minutemen found, in their smaller numbers, it necessary to hide in the woods and pick off the Redcoats, who were advancing in the kind of honorable battle array that worked just fine against Napoleon, the Brits did finally adjust their battle tactics a bit.
Does the entire world have to relearn such a basic and costly lesson? And how many must die while the debate drones on?
Or let’s see it as a boxing match, where the good guy has, as usual, one hand tied behind his back, while the bad guy is doing everything he can to hurt him, even doing some kick boxing. Forget that. Even pulling a gun out of his trunks or planting a bomb under the other side of the ring.
While we don’t have to reduce ourselves to the most malicious of terrorist tactics, we at least have the right to fight with both hands free.
Tom Attea, humorist and creator of NewsLaugh.com , has had six shows produced Off-Broadway. Critics have called his writing “delightfully funny, " “witty, " with “great humor and ebullience" and “good, genuine laughs. "