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Category: Holidays / Topics: Freedom Holidays Terrorism Veterans

Terrorism

by Dan Seagren

Posted: November 9, 2008

Thoughts for Veteran's Day…

Seniors shouldn’t have to worry about terrorism. Or, more to the point, terror. Unless of course, we create some needless senior moments. Like hanging upside-down for sixty hours, or going over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Or riding a motorcycle down Main Street at 100 mph without a helmet.

Or, we could push it even less. We don’t have to slouch in our recliners watching terror movies or hang out under bridges bulging with ex-cons or hallucinating with the best of ‘em. To be honest, our chance statistically of encountering terrorism is virtually nil.

Now, having said this, we as a nation are confronted with terrorism. Global terrorism is a worldwide conflict but we may be quite unaware of its international onslaught. A few years ago, our trip to the Philippines was threatened by terrorists. Another time a rock was thrown through the window of our tour bus in Puerto Rico. Organized terrorist groups range from a handful to thousands and have raised havoc worldwide during most of our lives. But it goes much further back to ancient history including marauding savages and pirates ruling the seas. In the last century or so, terrorism has increasingly made news with its sophisticated, insidious weapons and ignominious tactics.

Now, let’s talk about a resurgent religiously inspired terrorism. We see this primarily in the radical wings of religion where a vindictive minority feels impotent against overwhelming odds (rational people). This causes these revolutionaries to resort to terror tactics. We all have mixed emotions about the current war in Iraq but we often fail to remember how quickly our conventional military might subdued the Iraqi forces. What we underestimated was the resilience of non-conventional tactics which has prolonged the conflict considerably. Hit, run and hide attacks are tough to deal with. Increasingly powerful explosives are grisly. Suicidal missions lured disillusioned youth who volunteered, enticed by promises of a seductive paradise. The trickle-down to using women, children and the impaired is appalling. And deeply unsettling.

Our intent here is not to defend or defame the Iraq or Afghanistan actions. If we weigh the motives of Al-Quida, the Taliban and a host of other terrorist organizations, it is not to improve lives of people but to impose forcibly a religious ideology on others. However, democracy and freedom get in the way of their imposed beliefs. If we think Al Quida and the Taliban are motivated by humanitarian ideals, ask those who are in bondage.

As salty seniors, we survived two World Wars. My father served in WWI, I served in WWII but our son, a third generation, fortunately was not obligated. Both World Wars were abhorrent events. We old timers remember those days plus the spirit of those who stayed behind, becoming foundry workers, machinists, Rosie the Riveters and wept over those who didn’t survive. Why did we do it? In large part, because if we, the USA, hadn’t entered the conflict, the whole world would have suffered immeasurably.

Are we old timers, ‘ol geezers as some say, sorry we took up arms? Hardly. Today we face more insidious kinds of attacks. The enemy is difficult to identify and apprehend. 9/11 was a wake up call to the kind of tactics employed by the enemies of democracy, freedom and yes, our religious and value systems. The overarching question is this: will the new and younger generations take a stand against ideologies forcing their ways on others? How many democratic powers are really willing to face these kinds of enemies of our time? If so, how?

Some of us ol’ geezers sometimes wonder if our modern culture has the will to do what had to be done in the first half of our century. If not, is there a better way? If so, what is it? Arbitration? Ostracizing? Censorship? Negotiation? Bribery? Boycotts? Force? Intimidation? Blackmail? Wooing? Patronizing? Hopefully we can find a better way to deal with terrorism. Tough call, isn’t it?

Some of us ol’ geezers sometimes wonder if our modern culture has the will to do what had to be done in the first half of our century. If not, is there a better way? If so, what is it? Arbitration? Ostracizing? Censorship? Negotiation? Bribery? Boycotts? Force? Intimidation? Blackmail? Wooing? Patronizing? Hopefully we can find a better way to deal with terrorism. Tough call, isn’t it?


Dan Seagren is an active retiree whose writings reflect his life as a Pastor, author of several books, and service as a Chaplain in a Covenant Retirement Community.

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Posted: November 9, 2008

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