A Splendid Little War

[Letter to various news organizations and emailed to friends October 5, 2001]

I am not ashamed to admit that after recovering from disbelief at the events of September eleventh, my immediate concerns were for the people of Afghanistan. I was convinced that within weeks if not days cruise missiles would be raining down on innocent civilians in that country.

But low and behold, thus far we are killing them with kindness. $320 million on its way for refugee relief from us, 25 million pounds from the Brits in addition to the international efforts that were already underway. "Food not bombs" reads the protest sign. Who knew "dubya" was watching?

And suddenly GWB is looking more like FDR. I'm finally starting to see the compassionate part of compassionate conservatism. American policy, previously veering toward isolationism is suddenly engaged simultaneously all over the world. The United States, a scrappy bunch of do-it-yourselfers, is asking for help.

Conservatives in Congress even released our back dues to the UN. And the UN has even joined in the effort, putting pressure on lax states, and fulfilling its charter, which reads in part [ABRIDGED]:

There are reports of world maps being sold out. This in a country where geography quizzes routinely result in Americans placing New England next to France.

Despite the blustery rhetoric of the first few days, the tone now is deliberate and reasoned. I was concerned that Infinite Justice would really mean infinite war. Now operation Enduring Freedom seems more like the War on Poverty than the Gulf War.

And in my humble opinion, this is how it should be. To be sure, the perpetrators of this horrendous crime should be brought to justice, but like the deadbeat dad that returns to find his children are now delinquents, we seem to have acknowledged that it will be a long, expensive and demanding process to turn this situation around.

Maybe it's turning out that the new world order isn't for a cheeseburger, fries and a large drink, but for human rights, a Marshall Plan for the rest of the world, and a system of international justice. And yes, make that order "to go" and while you are at it, could you super size it?