al Qaeda

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

al Qaeda: (n.) a militant Islamic fundamentalist group, founded in the late 1980’s to combat the Soviets in Afghanistan.

Certain words, when spoken aloud, evoke a nasty trail of thoughts in the brain and a bad taste in the mouth.

Such is al Qaeda.

We certainly don’t like them. Matter of fact, it would be downright un-American to concede a single point of value to such a militant, religiously intolerant group of fanatics.

Yet I have to ask myself, what causes them to go from being a conglomeration of human beings who claim a belief in God, to becoming an angry mob, organizing themselves to wreak havoc on the infidel?

I’m not suggesting that we have mercy for al Qaeda, but rather, proposing that if we truly want to be against such judmentalism, that the best way we can purge the earth of their sort is to cleanse our own souls of the stupidities that lie within us which have any resemblance to their destructive system.

What do I know about al Qaeda?

1. They’re sure they’re right.

Can I get rid of that in me? Can I maintain enough uncertainty that I am still a vessel of learning instead of a creature intent on burning?

2. They believe they know God’s will.

I would like to escape that. Honestly, I’m more interested in God’s heart than in His will. I want to know why He created people and sitll loves them, so that I can be creative and loving myself.

3. They believe the end justifies the means.

“If the world is eventually Islamic, what’s the harm in killing off a bunch of people in order to achieve that goal?”

Dear God, take that kind of foolishness away from my thinking. Let me realize that everything in life is about the means, and the ends will probably not be known until long after I’m gone.

4. They think some people are better than others.

The only worthwhile quest left in my life? To spiritually dismantle any notion of my own superiority. No one is better than anyone else.

It is not sufficient to be angry at al Qaeda. We must remove all the seeds from our own soul … those seeds that grow the weeds of such perversion in our own lives.

 

Airport

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Airport: (n) a complex of runways and buildings for the takeoff, landing and maintenance of civil aircraft with facilities for passengers.

My first visit to the airport was when I was eighteen years old, flying off to Arizona to retrieve my girlfriend from exile by her parents to a status of once again being my partner and eventually, wife.

The airport was deliciously frightening and glorious at the same time.

It was many years later before I flew in an airplane again. I was twenty-four years old, jetting off to Nashville to work on a musical project with a famous female country songwriter, and I felt like I had the wings of Mercury, surrounded by the gods of Olympus.

Much later I went to airports with my traveling companion to tour the country, sharing from one of my books and cruising through the air with the greatest of ease.

And then came 9/11.

Now, I don’t know exactly what Osama bin Laden envisioned to be the result of his vicious and treacherous plan. Certainly he ended up killing three thousand human souls. But I do feel he also put to death the great American love affair with airports, traveling and zooming through the atmosphere from one destination to another.

For the casualties of 9/11 continue:

  • It’s in our economy
  • It’s in our mistrust
  • It’s in our bungling of foreign affairs
  • It is the chip on our shoulder–proclaiming ourselves “great” without providing the goods and services to confirm the assertion

The American airport today has all the appeal of a Middle-Eastern open market on a hot desert day. It is inconvenient, pushy and unapologetic for both its prices and its surroundings.

Because I believe in my country, I think eventually we will grow tired of restrictions, anxiety and succumbing to the whims of a madman who planned our defeat in his cave in Afghanistan.

Bin Laden is dead and buried in the deep blue sea.

Maybe we can muster the courage to make traveling a commercial and private pleasure again instead of a gauntlet of endurance, athletic and patient perseverance.

 

Afghanistan

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Afghanistan: a mountainous, landlocked republic in central Asia, pop. 16,600,000. Capital, Kabul; official languages, Pashto and Dari

We were enraged. (Well, at least involved in an aggressive pout.)

When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1980, the US took a stand against such aggression, and even boycotted the Olympics in Moscow to express our displeasure.

Equally displeased with the invasion were the Afghans.

But what the Soviet Union did not understand, with all of its blustering bombing and Bolshevism, is that the people of Afghanistan are very adept at being invaded and repelling all would-be conquorers with both resolve and their terrain–which is extremely unfriendly to foreigners.

So candidly, when the United States came up with the notion of invading Afghanistan following the 9/11 tragedy, I was a bit startled and nervous about the conclusions. Of courrse, there was a certain amount of necessary chest-thumping which follows the atrocity of murdering three thousand American citizens on our own soil.

But history does not particularly care whether our cause is noble. It demands respect and observance.

So even though we thought we were more skilled at military causes than the lumbering Soviet Union, we found that our mission into Afghanistan was equally as frustrating, intimidating and foreboding. There are some things that shouldn’t be done because they can’t be done.

It is difficult to understand this particular axiom when we are engorged with patriotism and fueled by rage. It would have been much better to send in twenty specially trained platoons to locate Osama bin Laden and then extract them as quickly as possible when the mission either succeeded or failed.

Foot soldiers on the ground demand a footing, which Afghanistan does not adequately provide.

  • Did we learn?
  • Will we understand that justice and retribution are rarely the same thing?
  • Will we comprehend that people who are constantly invaded become more suited to repelling invaders?

I don’t know–but it is difficult to believe that Afghanistan is any better off today than it was when the American flag was first unfurled on its borders.

(And remember, it is not unpatriotic to question the actions of your nation. It is actually our patriotic duty to find better and more enlightened paths.)

 

 

Affront

Words from Dic(tionary)

dictionary with letter A

Afghanistan: a mountainous, landlocked republic in central Asia, pop. 16,600,000. Capital, Kabul; official languages, Pashto and Dari

We were enraged. (Well, at least involved in an aggressive pout.)

When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1980, the US took a stand against such aggression, and even boycotted the Olympics in Moscow to express our displeasure.

Equally displeased with the invasion were the Afghans.

But what the Soviet Union did not understand, with all of its blustering bombing and Bolshevism, is that the people of Afghanistan are very adept at being invaded and repelling all would-be conquorers with both resolve and their terrain–which is extremely unfriendly to foreigners.

So candidly, when the United States came up with the notion of invading Afghanistan following the 9/11 tragedy, I was a bit startled and nervous about the conclusions. Of courrse, there was a certain amount of necessary chest-thumping which follows the atrocity of murdering three thousand American citizens on our own soil.

But history does not particularly care whether our cause is noble. It demands respect and observance.

So even though we thought we were more skilled at military causes than the lumbering Soviet Union, we found that our mission into Afghanistan was equally as frustrating, intimidating and foreboding. There are some things that shouldn’t be done because they can’t be done.

It is difficult to understand this particular axiom when we are engorged with patriotism and fueled by rage. It would have been much better to send in twenty specially trained platoons to locate Osama bin Laden and then extract them as quickly as possible when the mission either succeeded or failed.

Foot soldiers on the ground demand a footing, which Afghanistan does not adequately provide.

  • Did we learn?
  • Will we understand that justice and retribution are rarely the same thing?
  • Will we comprehend that people who are constantly invaded become more suited to repelling invaders?

I don’t know–but it is difficult to believe that Afghanistan is any better off today than it was when the American flag was first unfurled on its borders.

(And remember, it is not unpatriotic to question the actions of your nation. It is actually our patriotic duty to find better and more enlightened paths.)