"Each man must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn't. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide against your conviction is to be an unqualified and excusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let me label you as they may." ~ Mark Twain
Suicide Bombers in Hollywood
"I'm a soldier of freedom, in the army of man,
We are the chosen, we're the partisan, Well, the cause it is noble, the cause it is just,
We are ready to pay with our lives if we must" ~ "Ride Across The River" by Dire Straits
How many have seen that bombastic but highly entertaining Hollywood movie, "Independence Day"? The ultimate hero, the burnt-out, former Vietnam fighter pilot, a devoted family man and troubled victim of alien abduction, is a suicide bomber. When he pilots his plane into the massive alien battleship, with a howl of determination, how does he differ from an impassioned Iraqi or Palestinian suicide bomber? How do the many fictional and factual Hollywood heroes who die resisting a powerful force--from the doomed heroes of "The Terminator," "Braveheart" and "The Alamo"--differ from the Iraqi car bomber?
The Wars of The World are always fought by young men, women and children. Most of the victims are as doomed as those in the movies.
Can you imagine that truckload of young soldiers, mostly female, struck by a suicide bomber two weeks ago, or that Chinook helicopter with 16 aboard last week, can you picture them? Laughing and joking or sitting quietly. Young, they all had their lives ahead of them. Parents worried about them. Little brothers and sister admired them and wrote them letters. One moment they had laughing faces and bright futures and then?
Thousands of miles from home, laughing and talking about what they planned to do, some sitting quietly, thinking of home, trying to figure out the war or understand the enemy, watching the faces of their friends across from them.
And then, nothing.
What about those Iraqi suicide bombers in cars. Monsters? Maybe they had other lives, other dreams too. Imagine how they clenched the steering wheel, minds racing. Maybe in the search for the convoy, memories of school friends overtook them, their faces appearing and disappearing, approving and disapproving. All the things they planned to do. Maybe they planned to become architects, artists or doctors. Now they found themselves intent on mass murder rather than saving lives. Now they planned to kill as many young people as they could, people they might have liked, had they met them under better circumstances.
But the circumstances a suicide bomber passes, while looking for convoys of Hummers and Bradleys and military trucks, may sear the senses. The smell of garbage and sewage, the sight of wrecked buildings, the sound of circling helicopters. Nothing being rebuilt. Reconstruction apparently a lie. Two years later, liberation was a lie, in the outraged mind of that Iraqi suicide bomber.
The man who wired his car with explosives probably told him about the arrests the night before, showed him his scars from Abu Ghraib. His friends told him about being picked up and beaten. His own eyes told him that a huge alien force (like the alien spaceship in ID-4) overshadowed his country and he realized, in despair and anger, this occupation force would never leave. Indeed the only construction he saw were fortifications. The only way to remove the sinister foreign power--what weapons did they have anymore?--was suicide. A car packed with explosives striking a soft target.
All the wars of the world are always fought with kids. Heavily armed kids. The war only benefits the hoary old men, as grotesque as those alien invaders of "Independence Day" or the more recent sci-fi movie, "War of the Worlds." The faces of Zarqawi and Cheney, Bolton and Bin Laden, Lieberman, Rove, Arafat and Sharon, forever morph into one, collective alien intent on grabbing power.
Think of it. All the kids of the world have become suicide bombers to kill other kids, while preserving the entitlements of old men. These kids would rather be someplace else--hanging out, studying, laughing, making love--living. The day when enough young people refuse the threats and inducements of old people to kill other kids, all the Rumsfelds and Zarqawis (look at their ghastly mugs!) will disintegrate like those villains in an Indiana Jones movie.
Somewhere in space, above the dismembered corpses and commingled blood, and the forgotten dreams and shattered lives, high above the chaos of war, in the sweet-smelling air, where rain clouds hover above the desert sands, the spirits of those young men and women pass, the souls of soldiers and suicide bombers. They may call to each other--all the strife, all the slogans of war now forgotten--leaving the rest of us, down below, to wonder about the Why.