End the War on Terror

... an argument for Peace (02/07/2009)

Ideas matter; they matter profoundly. My grandparents shared an idea with our family. They taught us simply that:
GOD is Love
Ideas matter, but they are secondary to a more primary fundamental:
For example, water-boarding is not an idea. It is the physical act of intentionally suffocating someone until they think they might die. If not done carefully, the victim actually does die. Webster's definition of Torture 1a:
"anguish of body or mind"
The United Nations' convention defines Torture as:
"any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him, or a third person, information or a confession..."
The argument against such a practice is rooted in one of the most fundamental of all human values:
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
Here is another very good idea:
Habeas Corpus
This is a fundamental human principle that follows directly from the core Libertarian axiom:
Do not initiate force
I do not believe in the concept of holding ANYONE for any reason without recourse to a public trial with full disclosure of evidence. If a crime has been committed, let humanity see the crime and judge. If one is accused of contributing to violence against society, show us the evidence of such crime, and I will gladly imprison this person and seek restitution. The State is the instrument of the people. As a first principle, Habeas Corpus demands that there is no such thing as a "State secret".

The State is not some special case that should be allowed to violate this or any other fundamental human right; quite the opposite. It should be held to an even higher standard because it holds publicly granted license to use force. The use of force (Violence) is the antithesis of Love, and Jesus argued that it should never be used; he said:
Turn the other cheek
Given the existence of Cesar in his own time, and the more recent examples of Stalin and Hitler et al, this idea is clearly very hard to accept. What does one do in the face of blatant evil? We speak so blithely of "terrorists", placing them in some special category of "them" (not "us"). Isaac and Ishmael were brothers worshiping the same God, and the Islamic faith holds Jesus as a prophet. The prophet Mohammed , in the Qur'an, said:
Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loves not transgressors. 2:190
If they resort to peace, so shall you, and put your trust in GOD. He is the Hearer, the Omniscient. 8:61
If they leave you alone, refrain from fighting you, and offer you peace, then GOD gives you no excuse to fight them. 4:90
Why are there "terrorists"? Can we really believe that anyone is born with the will and desire to do great violence by strapping a bomb onto their body and detonating it in the public square? What moves a human to violence? What is "war" really? Human beings with guns killing and maiming other human beings. We use euphemisms like "collatoral damage", and mother's lose their sons, daughter's their mothers. Homes and businesses are destroyed. These are not abstractions. These are NOT ideas. This is REALITY. I firmly believe that, while it may be fueled by ideas, "terrorism" is ultimately driven by human suffering. It is the visceral human reaction to a perception of injustice.

Why am I so opposed to the "war on terror"? Because "war" IS terror. Because it is fundamentally self-contradictory to believe:
...that a human being is capable of adopting a new idea (ANY idea, and certainly not ones as important as democracy and freedom of religion ) at the point of a gun

...or that love is possible when faced with ongoing violence and oppression
Gautama Buddha taught that:
"Responding with violence is only to propagate the same evil, the same suffering."
Martin Luther King Jr. noted that,
"A riot is, at bottom, the language of the unheard."
President Obama's rhetoric is extending the hand of peace and an offer to listen. For it is this idea, and no other, that will end our conflicts with the, counter-rhetorically labeled, "axis of evil".

peace be upon you, Indigodruid

Postscript (12/2014): Unfortunately Obama's presidency did not live up to his rhetoric.