"A.J. Rose" (Jonathan) (ajrose93) wrote,
"A.J. Rose" (Jonathan)


[This got too long for a Comment, so I decided to post it here. The powerful entry which prompted it -- a meditation on the murder of Nick Berg -- can be found on entropy156's lj, under the same title.]

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

I almost didn't reply to this; it didn't seem to call for a reply, really. Fury doesn't want to be reasoned with, nor should it: reason can undermine fury. Each is useful in its time and place, each sometimes critical for survival. I well understand that your post wasn't intended to represent your best ideas about how to defeat terrorists: it was meant to describe your feelings at what you'd seen [the recording of Nick Berg's murder]. In this, it did an excellent job. Frankly, the only reason I bothered to spend some three hours writing this post was in hopes of heading off some bunghole who'll want to use this opportunity to debate strategic subtleties with a man who's just seen an atrocity -- quite possibly the first he's seen.

Right this moment, in this fury, all you can see is the archetypal, masked face of the enemy, and the agony and death of his victim, all to the soundtrack of men praising God; and no response to that injustice, that horror, however disproportionate, seems out of line to you right now. This feeling is probably as old as mankind, certainly older than human history. If we get past the initial fury and set about the cold, hard work of eradicating our real enemy, that's all to the good, IMO. Of course, if we don't -- if we let fury take over even at the expense of our own survival -- well, at the very least that's how one loses wars, and even empires...and these days, perhaps depopulates planets. (This is, by the way, why it is veterans in Congress, and men and women in uniform, who are most worried about our following the Geneva Conventions for treatment of prisoners, and publicizing the crimes, and punishment, of those who didn't. War is not an abstraction, an imaginative self-indulgence, to warriors: they know what will inevitably happen to our own fighting men and women if we don't. Even small* crimes can breed big fury, and nobody knows that like soldiers do.)

For those dying to hear some direct rebuttal of some (far from all) of what you said, I might just mention this. When the current administration wanted to attack Iraq, millions of people (myself not among them) marched in the streets, here and all over the world, to try to stop it before it began. OTOH, when we wanted to invade Afghanistan and eradicate the terrorists behind 9/11, you couldn't find seven people on a street corner to oppose it (and some of us, specifically me, had been hoping to see the Taliban fall for a long time before 9/11). For the record, I think there are arguably very good reasons for each of those reactions, and for the difference between them. I just don't think they belong here this minute, in response to this particular post. (If you're curious, see Sun Tzu's Art of War for further details.)

If any of this sounds high-handed or paternalistic, it isn't meant to: but I am forty-nine years old, have seen decades of crimes and oceans of fury, and I know what fury can do. Fury is a kind of absolute, transcendent self-righteousness: it can fuel the determination to protect one's people no matter what, and can help to wipe out huge and horrific evil. Fury can also fuel, has also fueled, the certainty that no German will be safe until the Jews are exterminated, that no white will be safe until blacks are put back in their place, that no Muslim will be safe until the US is destroyed...and, come to that, that God will be served by the murder of Nick Berg. That last sentence is an objective fact, a description of the nature of fury. If you find your reason wanting to debate the fairness or morality of the comparison, that's an entirely different issue. Your post wasn't about reason or fairness or morality. It was about fury.

Finally, your own fury may not be a passing mood, but a key to your Will, to your purpose on earth. If it doesn't fade, you might want to head to a recruiting office and join the military -- God knows they need people, right this minute (and if you're between eighteen and twenty-five, you may find yourself there anyway, pretty shortly). You have my deepest, most sincere support in following out your Will, whatever it might be. Beyond that, my own prejudice is that I'm a reflexive patriot: God bless our soldiers, make safe their path, and impart wisdom both to them, and to those deciding when and where they'll be put in harm's way.

More generally, God grant that all injustices be revealed, all conspirators unmasked, and all beings requited as they deserve.

Thank you for an honest, heartfelt post, and apologies in advance if this one seems any less so to you. It sure as hell isn't on this end.

Love is the law, love under will.

Warm regards, AJ

*I am not suggesting that rape, torture and murder are "small" crimes (and each has been documented in Coalition prisons in Iraq, according to Republican Senator (and former Air Force JAG officer) Lindsay Graham); I am trying to explain why the Geneva Conventions concern themselves even with "small" crimes. The Conventions were not written out of hand-wringing over the treatment of one's enemies, but in hopes of protecting one's own in time of war.


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