From Eric Alterman,
our "Quote of the Day":
The most pro-Bush, he said, are the foreign extremists. "They prefer Bush, because he's a provocative figure, and the more they can push people to the extreme, the better for their case.
-Mowafaq al-Tai a London-educated architect and intellectual, on different types of resistance fighters’ views of the U.S. election.
The Sage and I keep marveling lately that it seems like we're part of a very tiny remnant of passivist-activists from the late sixties and early seventies that haven't forgotten what the world was like during those years of crisis. Hey, I belonged to a sorority, and The Sage was not only an athlete but a cheerleader and a fraternity man, but we marched, we sat-in, we slept-in, we READ -- even our more conventional sisters/brothers knew the basic tenets of Mao and had thought through and discussed endlessly at late-night college bull sessions the justifications pro- and anti- the Vietnam War, the draft, civil rights, God, Christ, peace, the distribution of wealth, drug policy, abortion, women's rights, the environment, economic parity, trade policy. Everyone had a copy of The Whole Earth Catalog
and everyone had read The Greening of America, The Medium Is The Message, Autobiography of a Yogi, Quotations from Chairman Mao
(or had read enough Cliff Notes to pretend), and/or anything by any member of the Chicago 8.
We all knew about the Weather Underground and as time progressed and we aged and were mainstreamed into American life, we learned about Red October, the Baader-Meinhoff Gang, and other terrorist organizations. So many of these groups caused horrific loss of life and shocked our national, and our world, consciousness. And what we knew both from our college-days reading and experience, and from our now-adult-world information, was that what all of these groups, indeed nearly all violently revolutionary groups from the beginning of time, aim to do is to so radicalize their enemy as to cause it to suppress the native populace until they cry out for "liberation" and take to the streets in violent protest. At that time, so the theory goes, the well-organized and -prepared revolutionary cadre steps in to provide security and a "democratic" solution for the chaotic situation.
Everything we've seen since 9/11, indeed since the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, is like deja vu for people like me and The Sage. What bewilders us is the reaction of our countrymen. Instead of standing defiant ("You won't change us a lick by your murdering threats!") and releasing all our considerable resources against a band of thugs (to call it "war" against Al Qaeda is to elevate them in their recruits' eyes and in world opinion -- always a bad public relations move against an enemy), we overreacted and gave them everything they wanted, restrictions on our civil liberties and the arousal of suspicion and fear among our people being among the foremost. Of course, what bin Laden couldn't do (wreak havoc upon the American economy, splinter and overextend our military, polarize our citizenry, gain sympathy for the Islamofascist movement among the peoples of the world) Bush did for him.