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Rudy's "War On Terror" Comment

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It’s about time a Republican got a clue.

This morning on CNN, Robin Meade reported that Rudy Giuliani was catching heat because he thought the phrase “war on terror” was a bad phrase, that it implied the United States loved war.

Well, duh.

Of course, “war on terror” is a bad phrase.


It’s a rich man’s phrase in a poor man’s world.

In medieval Europe, there was a common motif in art called “The Wheel of Fortune.” And, the image would be of a wheel with several spokes and four men. One man would be sitting on top of the Wheel, cross-legged and happy; he was on top of the world. On the left side of the Wheel, there would be a man climbing up; his fortunes were improving. On the right side of the Wheel, there would be a man sliding down; his fortunes were on the wane. And, at the bottom of the Wheel, there would be a man crushed under the weight of the wheel; he had no good fortune at all.

According to the Europeans, the Wheel of Fortune was always turning. The person on top today could be on bottom tomorrow. And, thus, the game of life was all about doing whatever you had to, to climb the Wheel of Fortune. But, once you’d arrived at the top, you were expected to try to throw a wrench in the system, so you could stop the Wheel and stay on top.

And, that Wheel explains the “War on Terror.”

If you are part of the ruling elite of a well-financed, well-armed, and stable society, you’re going to like it. You’re going to want to keep things humming, just like they are. And, any threat to your cushy life will be perceived as evil, obscene, and un-American. If it is within your society, you’ll consider the people who have worked hard to make you rich to be ungrateful and you’ll respond by giving them more work to do, because obviously they have too much free time on their hands. If the threat comes from outside of your society, you will call them “terrorists.”

Meanwhile, those same people will be calling themselves “freedom fighters.”

Chances are, your society’s media machine will be owned by a relatively few and manageable people. You’ll be able to weed out the stories that make you look bad and replace them with mind-numbing exposes on who’s in rehab and who’s shaved what. Meanwhile, those freedom fighters will be trying to keep body and soul together while living on the business end of your tender mercies. Eventually, the mouse will be backed into the corner so far that it’s only option will be to turn and fight. And, when it does fight back, you drop your heavy boot on it and call it a “war on terror.”

But, in reality, it’s just a “war to maintain the status quo.”

And, the real kicker is that it’s a problem of your own making. If the ruling elite were to actually try to live the faith they so publicly cling to, terrorism would dry up and blow away. Their professed leader said that the Law and the Prophets hung on two commandments: love God and love your neighbor as yourself.

I dare anyone in the Bush White House to claim they’ve treated Darfur the way they’ve treated themselves. I dare anyone in the Religious Right to show me where they’ve treated the 46 million Americans without health insurance the way they’ve treated themselves. I dare George W. Bush to send his two daughters to Iraq.

And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.' “

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Tim Hooker is an English professor in Tennessee. He is the author of three books: "Rocket Man: A Rhapsody of Short Stories," "Duncan Hambeth: Furniture King of the South," and "Looking For A City." His politics are progressive liberal; his (more...)
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