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PRShrek 09-10-2012 07:40 PM

Cry Havoc!
Jeff Cooper's Commentaries
Special Edition September, 2001


Well, they certainly got our attention!

It does not seem that at any time in history a declaration of deadly intent has been so fearfully expressed. In condemning the world to a replay of the Dark Ages, these weird barbarians have achieved an unprecedented barbarism. One searches in vain for an objective. Killing large numbers of unprepared non-combatants is an act which must be difficult to explain, even to people on one's own side. I suppose killing an infidel is always an act of virtue for a devout Muslim, but the notion that "the only good Christian is a dead Christian" is a bit much, even for those who must admit that some sort of retribution may not be avoided.

It is clearly difficult to fight a war without an objective, and in this case that goes for both sides. President Bush has correctly stated that this is a full-house war, but it remains to be seen just what we are to attack and how we may achieve victory. We can, and we should, kill this oddball mass murderer, but that, of course, holds no terror for him because a devout Muslim is assured of his place in paradise when he has died in a holy cause - such as the killing of infidels. We can and we should uncover, confound and destroy the hatchetmen of the enemy, but this has little to do with justice. (Justice is difficult to define, and a lot of powerful thinkers have tried over the centuries - without conspicuous success.) We cannot bring this man, Osama bin Laden, to justice since he has already achieved justice in his own eyes. What we must achieve, therefore, is retribution. We cannot change the past - not even God can do that - but we can indeed give vent to our feelings. This may not be "cool" in the Christian sense, but it may indeed satisfy a philosophical sense of order.

Let us first dispense with the notion of any sort of war against Afghanistan. The Afghans are a pretty miserable people, and while some of them doubtless deserve punishment, we may take no satisfaction in reducing ourselves to the moral stature of the bad guys. In this inter-cultural war which has just been commenced, the bad Afghans will always be difficult to differentiate fr