William P. Homans by self
Today, I listened to an acquaintance defend an instance of protection under the First Amendment with an eye-raising example. He opined that to blame the Koran-burning Rev. Jones for the recent deaths in Afghanistan at the hands of people angry at the Koran-burning was "Like blaming Ford for a DUI death."
Wrong, I told him. FoMoCo is a mega-giga-corp, which is created, constituted, run, by policies.
While it is true that a few men hold awesome amounts of power, no one individual, not even the president or CEO (whatever they've got), can make as blatant a policy statement (or policy change) as Rev. Jones's action.
The reaction will necessarily be the most extreme among the most lawless, and we Americans just don't understand what lawless means until we begin to research the term pashtun wali, which is to say, the Way of the Pashtuns, the fierce tribesmen who live in North Afghanistan and westernmost Pakistan, who supply the bulk of the Taliban's manpower.
The US can no more impose a Western-style consumerist democracy paradigm on Afghanistan than on Iraq-- far less, in fact.
See, that's the relative question no one wants to answer, because there is no reasonable answer: If it has been impossible to pacify Iraq-- and it has, big bombings continue every week-- how can we think to pacify a place like Afghanistan, with top-ten foreboding geography among nations of the world, and an ethnic population with the attitude of vendetta, i.e., revenge, in a way that would embarrass the Mafia?
If you strike one of them down, all of their kin, all generations-- are required by tradition to do all they can to strike you down. In this world, only certain Albanians have the revenge code so ingrained as the Pashtuns.
If the official version of the events of September 11, 2001 are to be believed, it was Saudi nationals trained in Afghanistan, henchmen of Osama bin Laden, an expatriate Saudi former US asset against the Russians now working as a terrorist mastermind in Afghanistan, who commandeered those planes that hit the various places they hit.
Based upon his action in Libya, I would submit that President Obama, if given clear intelligence (all this based upon the official version being true), would have immediately identified targets and struck with our then fresh troops before Osama, Mullah Omar, and their bunch of rats could scatter.
For anyone who dares suggest that I am in any way partisan, I must declare that I do not and did not trust Bill Clinton to have carried it off, And Al Gore was advising him.
He could have taken decisive action but blew it after the Embassy bombings, and had his chance again after the Cole. Would the current Clinton have done better? I dunno, but she's advising Obama, so my guess would be not.
Rev. Jones, on the other hand, is a person. He has already specifically brought this act to an unofficial referendum of both the American people and American officialdom and been resoundingly told, "NO GO!" And now he has gone ahead and done it anyway.
Well, his First Amendment rights do, indeed, protect him. Just like they do an American citizen who is a member of the National Socialist White People's Party (neoNazis), who is free to likewise make threats to act in ways like burning a Torah, or a pile of yarmulkes, Hannukah candles and phylacteries around an effigy of a Jew. Or march down the streets of Skokie, Illinois. Whatever (Canada, by the way, is not quite so black and white about it, without being authoritarian).
But what Jones has done was already demonstrably provocative, by any reasonable judgment from national and world reaction without him actually having done the deed. Having done it, he has his hands in an accessory fashion on the recent deaths in Kandahar etc. in the same way Saul had his on the death of Stephen.
William P. Homans