Kill them with kindness
I was fascinated to see how many different people sent me information about your ideas on airplane security over the past few days and equally fascinated by what has happened with another idea that has emerged from the past week's events.
On Friday, I took a friend who is a retired Special Forces Colonel sailing on the Monterey Bay. Throughout the day, he kept saying over and over, if we do something conventional like bombing Afghanistan, we are likely to make things worse, rather than better.
On Saturday I tossed out a few idea on some boards I participate in and by Monday, the message below emerged from a Military Brat list. It now seems to be all over email and the web. In the past few hours, I have received a call from the SF Chronicle indicating that they are planning to run it as a Letter to the Editor Friday. Someone called from the Washington Post to say that they may do a story on how ideas like this can spread so rapidly, worldwide, over the web. I pointed them to your airline security discussion as another example of this.
I have received over a thousand messages today--way out of my league--from ministers who are planning sermons on the idea as well as people of every religious and political persuasion who think that it, or a variation on the fundamental concept of doing something DRAMATICALLY UNEXPECTED could well change the course of history.
My Special Forces buddy's version of this is to mass a major international ground force in Pakistan and simply march through the Khyber Pass with so much firepower that bin Laden and buddies dare not stick their heads above the sand. Another idea that I really like is to buy 25 million I LOVE NY t-shirts and drop them all over Afghanistan with the idea that when Mr. bin Laden and his mullah friends see millions of Afghanis walking around wearing these shirts, it will suck the oxygen right out of their lungs and lead to mass suicide.
I claim no authorship or even initiation of this idea. It is truly a collective work of many on the web far smarter than me.
If you think it has merit, I hope that you will consider putting it on your site. Again, there is nothing sacred in this specific incarnation as much as doing something completely unexpected that might win us strong allies and take away the support that keeps bin Laden and his ilk alive.
Thanks for you consideration.
528 Lincoln Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
In responding to terrorism we need to do something different. Something
unexpected . . . something that addresses the root of the problem. We need
to take away the well of despair, ignorance and brutality from which the
Osama bin Ladens of the world water their gardens of terror.
A military response, particularly an attack on Afghanistan, is exactly what
the terrorists want. It will strengthen and swell their small but fanatical
Instead, bomb Afghanistan with butter, with rice, bread, clothing and
medicine. It will cost less than conventional arms, poses no threat of US
casualties and just might get the populace thinking that maybe the Taliban
don't have the answers. After three years of drought and with starvation
looming, let's offer the Afghani people the vision of a new future. One that
includes full stomachs.
Bomb them with information. Video players and cassettes of world leaders,
particularly Islamic leaders, condemning terrorism. Carpet the country with
magazines and newspapers showing the horror of terrorism committed by their
"guest". Blitz them with laptop computers and DVD players filled with a
perspective that is denied them by their government. Saturation bombing with
hope will mean that some of it gets through. Send so much that the Taliban
can't collect and hide it all.
The Taliban are telling their people to prepare for Jihad. Instead, let's
give the Afghani people their first good meal in years. Seeing your family
fully fed and the prospect of stability in terms of food and a future is a
powerful deterrent to martyrdom. All we ask in return is that they, as a
people, agree to enter the civilized world. That includes handing over
terrorists in their midst.