Nothing in this blog can be believed. If you think that anything in this blog is true or factual, you'll need to verify it from another source. Do you understand? No? Then read it again, and repeat this process, until you understand that you cannot sue me for anything you read here. Also, having been sucked into taking part in the mass-murder of more than 3 million Vietnamese people on behalf of U.S. Big Business "interests", I'm as mad as a cut snake (and broke) so it might be a bit silly to try to sue me anyway...

Thursday, September 30, 2004

dad... what's a terrorist?

This piece, by David Campbell, was published in The Age, 22/04/2004.

dad... what's a terrorist?

Well, according to the Oxford dictionary a terrorist is "a person who uses violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims". Which means that terrorists are very bad men and women who frighten ordinary people like us, and sometimes even kill them.

Why do they kill them?
Because they hate them or their country. It's hard to explain ... it's just the way things are. For many different reasons a lot of people in our world are full of hate.

Like the ones in Iraq who are capturing people and saying that they'll kill them if all the soldiers don't leave?
Exactly! That's an evil thing called "blackmail". Those innocent people are hostages, and the terrorists are saying that if governments don't do what they want the hostages will be killed.

So was it blackmail when we said we'd attack Iraq and kill innocent people unless they told us where all their weapons were?
No! Well ... yes, I suppose. In a way. But that was an "ultimatum" ... call it "good blackmail".

Good blackmail? What's that?
That's when it's done for good reasons. Those weapons were very dangerous and could have hurt a lot of people all over the world. It was very important to find them and destroy them.

But Dad ... there weren't any weapons.
True. We know that now. But we didn't at the time. We thought there were.

So was killing all those innocent people in Iraq a mistake?
No. It was a tragedy, but we also saved a lot of lives. You see, we had to stop a very cruel man called Saddam Hussein from killing a great many ordinary Iraqi people. Saddam Hussein stayed in power by giving orders that meant thousands of people died or were horribly injured. Mothers and fathers. Even children.

Like that boy I saw on TV? The one who had his arms blown off by a bomb?
Yes ... just like him.

But we did that. Does that mean our leaders are terrorists?
Good heavens, no! Whatever gave you that idea? That was just an accident. Unfortunately, innocent people get hurt in a war. You can't expect anything else when you drop bombs on cities. Nobody wants it to happen ... it's just the way things are.

So in a war only soldiers are supposed to get killed?
Well, soldiers are trained to fight for their country. It's their job, and they're very brave. They know that war is dangerous and that they might be killed. As soon as they put on a uniform they become a target.

What uniforms do terrorists wear?
That's just the problem ... they don't! We can't tell them apart from the civilians. We don't know who we're fighting. And that's why so many innocent people are getting killed ... the terrorists don't follow the rules of war.

War has rules?
Oh, yes. Soldiers must wear uniforms. And you can't just suddenly attack someone unless they do something to you first. Then you can defend yourself.

So that's why we attacked Iraq? Because Iraq attacked us first and we were just defending ourselves?
Not exactly. Iraq didn't attack us ... but it might have. We decided to get in first. Just in case Iraq used those weapons we were talking about.

The ones they didn't have? So we broke the rules of war?
Technically speaking, yes. But ...

So if we broke the rules first, why isn't it OK for those people in Iraq who aren't wearing uniforms to break the rules?
Well, that's different. We were doing the right thing when we broke the rules.

But Dad ... how do we know we were doing the right thing?
Our leaders ... Bush and Blair and Howard ... they told us it was the right thing. And if they don't know, who does? They say that something had to be done to make Iraq a better place.

Is it a better place?
I suppose so, but I don't know for sure. Innocent people are still being killed and these kidnappings are terrible things. I feel very sorry for the families of those poor hostages, but we simply can't give in to terrorists. We must stand firm.

Would you say that if I was captured by terrorists?
Uh ... yes ... no ... I mean, it's very difficult ...

So you'd let me be killed? Don't you love me?
Of course! I love you very much. It's just that it's a very complicated issue and I don't know what I'd do ...

Well, if somebody attacked us and bombed our house and killed you and Mum and Jamie I know what I'd do.

I'd find out who did it and kill them. Any way I could. I'd hate them for ever and ever. And then I'd get in a plane and bomb their cities.
But ... but ... you'd kill a lot of innocent people.

I know. But it's war, Dad. And that's just the way things are. Remember?


Blogger The Ranting Human said...

HAHAHA!!!!!!!! Good work!

September 30, 2004 4:31 AM  
Blogger Splutters said...

Wow. No, not even wow. This is I dunno, beyond wow.

October 03, 2004 4:42 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Hobbes, and Ranting Human, thank you both for linking to this blog. You do realise that this only encourages me, don't you. Naughty people!

Now, I need to apologise for not linking back to your blogs. The reson is that I have adopted a policy of only linking to blogs with a distinct political (left) edge. I want my links to be a left-wing supermarket of ideas. As it is the link lists are far too big.

If your blogs become more politically "punky", I'll be happy to link to them.

Hope this explains.

October 04, 2004 11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't say I agree with the underlying message here, but have to wonder exactly how I would tell my children (someday, if I have any) what a terrorist is, or what war is, or any of those questions. Being a "right wing wacko" (term given to me by someone) I tend to support My President (GW Bush), but I do support the rights of anyone to disagree with me, and this post puts in to perspective what the kids today could ask us to explain, and if nothing else, makes you think about what they are seeing and hearing.

October 06, 2004 7:29 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Anon, I could direct you several articles in this blog, but I feel your firmness of belief would not let you see any wisdom there. Thanks, for your mild, respectful comment though. Much appreciated.

October 06, 2004 7:34 PM  
Blogger The Ranting Human said...

The primary reason I link to blogs, is because they contain good content and they are worth the time of others. Not because I want the bloggers to link back to me. So, your apology was totally unnecessary. I would rather you continued the blog for life.

October 18, 2004 1:14 AM  
Blogger Gerry said...

Hey, The Ranting Human, please be so kind and as to give us a name to work with, even if it's a pseudonym like Sanjeev Kumar. At least that way I could shorten it to Sanjeev or Sanji. But as things stand, I can only shorten it to Human, or Ranting, or The. None of these alternatives appeal.

Now, to reply to your comment:

1) I apologise for apologising.

2) I don't know what to make of the bit where you said you would rather I continued the blog for life, however I take that as a compliment. Thank you.

October 18, 2004 10:50 AM  

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