Sunday, September 21, 2008

My comment about the Pakistan bombing

I deplore all terrorism and terrorist acts. They are not God's will and will be severely judged by him when the time comes. I feel deeply for all the victims and their families, many of whom were modest people just trying to provide for their families. I think about that security guard who we see on the video tape bravely trying to extinguish the fire in the truck, before the one ton of explosives hidden inside detonated.

Commentators are quick to simplify, to put into black and white, why these things happen. I just listened to a report that jumps to the conclusion that it is because of the Pakistan-American alliance. Such simplifications obscure what is really going on, and therefore hinders resolution or at least de-escalation.

It is the escalation that I want to speak of today. It is never a good thing when a government, regardless of the provocation, invades a mosque where militants reside and results in the deaths of many people, as I recall, it was a hundred or so. Pakistan did just that, invading a militant occupied mosque, not so long ago. This is something the United States learned (but the lessons have not been plumbed fully enough) when it fired upon a cultist sect compound that resulted in a huge loss of life, including children inside, when it burned to the ground. Humans have historically understood the importance of patience, of laying siege when one must, but not recently, when both Western and Eastern politicians and military people seem to not "wait" and just turn to the gun. That is escalation.

Then, the terrorists feel it becomes "no hold barred" combat. If a mosque can be attacked and many inside killed and wounded, including naive students under the sway of the militants, then why not bomb during Ramadan? That is the terrible step by step "logic" of the escalation of terrorism. Also, each of these events become touchstones and reference points for future revenge and "anniversary" violence, as we see in both the United States after the Waco siege and now in Pakistan after the Red Mosque siege. (Read about these and follow up events in the links below).

It seems that no government today understands how you can be firm but also grounded securely on morals and good example, and thus prevent escalation of the violence.

Again, prayers and condolences to all who have been harmed in this dastardly turn of events. But I urge everyone to remember that every step "across the Rubicon" tends to bring an equal escalation and hardening of heart by humans in opposition and return. The military of Pakistan, the real power holders, must decide how to respond. I urge them to reconsider a policy of using even greater force and greater ferocity, because that sows the dragons teeth that are never ending into the ground of violence. To the terrorists I say that you should beware of turning your piety toward God into a war machine that then becomes incapable of feeling piety, even if they think they still do.

Resources for young people and students who wish to understand more about the two events I referenced above: