Friday, September 23, 2005

The True Terrorist

George W. Bush has hung his hat on the fight against terrorism. His administration has led this nation into armed conflict with groups of individuals residing in Afghanistan and Iraq. Billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars have been diverted from domestic needs to the likes of the Department of Defense and Halliburton.

Yet, for all the mighty expenditures of human and financial resources, far too little attention has been paid to the greatest fomenter of terror the world over -- Mother Nature.

Terror is defined as intense, overpowering fear and the one thing that frightens us, more than anything else, is the unknown. Mother Nature is an unknown quantity.

The human form of terrorism is a slightly different animal. People terrorize others based on perceived or real injustices. Consequently, how we choose to interact as individuals or nations can effect the prevalence of terrorism. In other words, whether we choose to utilize it or not, we have some measure of control.

We completely lack this measure when dealing with Mother Nature. There is no ransom we can pay to free a region or community from a storm or earthquake. No amount of domestic or foreign aid will divert the path of a hurricane. We can't invite Mother Nature to a conference to discuss strategies to lessen the number, frequency or intensity of climatic events.

It is this helplessness that has terrorized humankind from the very beginning. And, no matter how much power and wealth we build up around ourselves, we remain subject to the whims of Mother Nature.

Since we are unable to control her, the next best thing we can do is to prepare for her. In annual example after example -- both in the U.S. and around the world -- we have shown how ill-prepared we are to deal with her. This ill-preparedness results in far too many unneeded deaths and misery.

How many more storms will it take before we can acknowledge the true terrorist among us?

1 comment:

  1. it's about respect, i think. the respect due to any antagonist - whether it be from mother nature or from humankind - is lacking in this administration. let's ignore it, denigrate it, or destroy it completely. never mind working with it - we don't negotiate with ANYTHING, not even the opposing party in our own political system.

    that said, it has occurred to me over the last few days that our society as a whole seems to love wallowing in terror. oh my god, it cries collectively, another disaster! secretly grateful for the juicy distraction from the awful emptiness of life without michael jackson on trial.

    so if our society actually enjoys being terrified, what bushco has going for it is a never-ending audience for the foreign policies that create and foment terrorism. how perfect for him.

    change will not happen until the country - or the world - decides that it prefers freedom from fear over addiction to it. and our media does such a good job keeping us focused on the latest disaster that it's sometimes difficult to realize that there's another world existing beyond your TV set.


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