Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Kill, Kill, Kill!

I've watched two debates in the campaign for President over the last week, and a recurring theme that absolutly disgusts me is that of candidates on both sides saying that we're going to "hunt and kill" the terrorists. John Kerry hit this first and hardest, saying, "...I will hunt down and kill the terrorists, wherever they are." No mention of an attempt to capture, try on war crime or international terrorism charges, imprison, or otherwise humanely deal with those who have or might in the future attack us. He's just going to kill them wherever he finds them.

When I heard Kerry say this, it sounded to me like something stuffed in his mouth by some campaign manager that thought he needed to show how tough he was. Later, he decried President Bush for not using American forces to kill Bin Laden when "we had him surrounded." Whether or not we had him surrounded is a topic of another debate, and not one I'm qualified to take up.

I could have let it go, waiting for him to say later that he didn't mean it the way it sounded, and that he meant something totally different. That's become a common theme with him, so it would not be wholly unexpected.

But everyone seems to be jumping on the bandwagon. To his credit, President Bush, for all his talk of death and destruction over the course of the last four years, talked about "the killers" as the enemy, reserving the term "defeat the enemy" for the action that the U.S. was going to take. This is consistent theme with him, and is, in my opinion, the only way to view a war action. Soldiers defeat an enemy, using lethal force if necessary; murderers are the ones who kill, seeing that as the goal, not the means to an end.

In last night's Vice Presidential debates, John Edwards took an early chance to repeat Kerry's spurious admonition that we didn't kill Bin Laden in Afghanistan. Vice President Cheney responded in a prideful fashion that we had "...captured or killed thousands of al Qaeda in various places around the world." This may be merely a statement of fact, but it sure doesn't seem like something to be proud of, at least the killing part. And, for all the things I don't like about Mr. Cheney, I've never thought that he liked the idea of killing people unnecessarily. Then again, I've never met the man, and can't say I know one way or the other.

Ah, but then there's John Edwards. I don't know him either, and maybe it's just his stage presence showing through, but I thought he repeated John Kerry's message that they "will find terrorists where they are and kill them before they ever do harm to the American people, first" with such vigor that it seemed born of his own heart. As his running mate did, he went on to repeat the message before the end of the debate, making sure that the American people understood him. I'm not sure how we could have missed it the first time.

I'm definitely not in the category of "bleeding heart liberal" in my political or social views. I think murderers should be punished for their actions appropriately, and I think that society needs to be protected from those who would do it harm, sometimes in a pre-emptive fashion. But I don't think death is an appropriate goal without first considering options, and none of us, as Americans or as civilized people of Earth, should relish killing.

If the leadership of this country is going to be decided on who's the best one to go kill people who may or may not have done us harm, then I want a new system of choice.

1 comment:

Metlin said...

Edwards could have done a much better job, if only he'd not repeated Senator Kerry every other minute. Not to mention his whole trial-lawyer artificial attitude that was put on.

On the other hand, Cheney seemed quite calm and composed, and gave this caring, paternal image - while Edwards seemed more like a fanatical follower of Kerry with no brains of his own.

I'm also afraid Kerry is more of a left-liberal and would side with the unions - I'm not entirely sure if that would be a good thing. He comes across as a typical politician who'd say anything to garner votes.

Quite honestly, this is exactly like the old adage, "between the devil and the deep sea". But between a man who does what he says and the highschool debate captain, I'd go for the former. No questions.