The words of a terrorist, some 231 years ago…

and a little wisdom from inside the sandbox.

Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things, which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.

We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation? There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free– if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending–if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained–we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!

There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! The war is inevitable–and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace– but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

— Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775

While the above words are extracted for Patrick Henry’s famous speech before the Virginia legislature in March 1775, they may also represent the unspoken words of the citizens of Iraq in their desperate quest for freedom from the U.S. led occupation of their country. They very well may be the last cry of a suicide bomber seeking freedom for his or her people, or the cry of a mother wondering the fate of her son, taken away by coalition forces in the darkness, for alleged crimes unknown.

One mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter. Patrick Henry is known in our history books as a freedom fighter, a revolutionary. Had we lost our revolution against the British Crown Patrick Henry would be remembered, if at all, as a terrorist.

Mr. President, the people of Iraq are not terrorists, they just want their country back. If we were not the unlawful occupiers of Iraq, the insurgents would have no one to fight and Iraq would no longer be the frontline of your never ending war on terror.

Robert Fulghum said it best when he reminded us of what we learned in kindergarten.

Most of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand box at nursery school.

These are the things I learned. Share everything. Play fair. Don’t hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don’t take things that aren’t yours. Say you are sorry when you hurt somebody.

And then remember that book about Dick and Jane and the first word you learned, the biggest word of all: LOOK! Everything you need to know is there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation, ecology, and politics and the sane living.

Think of what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about 3 o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankets for a nap. Or we had a basic policy in our nation and other nations to always put things back where we found them and clean up our own messes.

  5 comments for “The words of a terrorist, some 231 years ago…

  1. Anonymous
    September 19, 2006 at 10:35 am

    You seem to be missing the point that terrorists kill innocent people.

    Suicide bombers are not seeking freedom for their people; oftentimes, it’s their own people that are killed. They are seeking to cause maximum damage and death.

    Patrick Henry did not go around taking as many innocent victims as he could with him.

  2. September 19, 2006 at 11:53 am

    You’re missing the point, 10:35.

    The Iraqis are sick of this imperial noose that Bush & Co. are trying to hang around their necks.

    They’ve had enough, and want our troops out soon.

    We’ve had enough as well… We eventually want our troops home.

    Bush just doesn’t realize that this occupation isn’t doing anything to fight terror…
    In fact, it’s causing terror.

  3. September 19, 2006 at 4:21 pm

    Chris:

    Comparing Iraqi terrorists to Patrick Henry is absolutely despicable. Despicable, twisted and completely ignorant.

  4. September 20, 2006 at 1:05 am

    Jubal,

    While I’ll concede the suicide bomber part was a little bit over the top, the reality is that the terrorists in Iraq are either fighting to get us out or settle centuries old religious disputes.

    Iraqi civilians are being caught in the crossfire and quite frankly, coalition forces are responsible for far more civilian deaths than the “terrorists.”

    The rest of my comparison is quite accurate. The people of Iraq want the occupiers out of their country and they are shouting “give me liberty (from occupation) or give me death.”

    President Bush from one side of his mouth claims that we are in Iraq to bring freedom and democracy, and then Tuesday says to the United Nations “Freedom, by its nature, cannot be imposed. It must be chosen.”

    I think our military invasion of Iraq was code named Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    If Patrick Henry is too harsh a comparison, let’s try another. To the British, former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin was considered a terrorist. As the leader of the Irgun terrorist group, Begin played a central role in Jewish military resistance to the British Mandate of Palestine.

    Menachem Begin said, the day after the UN vote on the 1947 UN Partition Plan:

    “The Partition of Palestine is illegal. It will never be recognized …. Jerusalem was and will for ever be our capital. Eretz Israel will be restored to the people of Israel. All of it. And for ever.”

    Or who can forget this gem…

    When President Ronald Reagan sent a letter to Menachem Begin condemning the attack on the Iraqi Osirak nuclear reactor in June 1981, Begin responded with a letter, he wrote:

    “A million and half children were poisoned by the Zyklon gas during the Holocaust. Now Israel’s children were about to be poisoned by radioactivity. For two years we have lived in the shadow of the danger awaiting Israel from nuclear reactor in Iraq. This would have been a new Holocaust. It was prevented by the heroism of our pilots to whom we owe so much.” (Iron Wall, p. 387)

    Funny how we invaded Iraq to prevent them from developing a nuclear weapon after we condemned Israel and Begin for trying to accomplish the same goal.

    Again Jubal, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. What is despicable is our President believing that he has the right, the moral authority, to invade a country to impose his own version of freedom and democracy on its citizens with the barrel of a gun.

    The version of freedom imposed by this Bush Doctrine is one where we hold thousands of Iraqi citizens in Coalition custody,indefinitely, and with out charge.

    Sounds more like fascism than democracy to me. If a nation or coalition of nations invaded the United States of America “to deliver us from the tyranny of George Bush,” I would be one of the first people on the front lines fighting against them in the name of freedom.

    If we won, I would be a freedom fighter; if we lost I would be just another insurgent terrorist who hates democracy. I may not like our tyrant George W. Bush, but I prefer to handle that problem through our own democratic process.

  5. September 22, 2006 at 12:40 pm

    Chris:

    I fear debnate with you on this topic is useless. Aside from your untrue anbd baseless belief that “the Iraqi people” want us out, there is no common ground on which we can have a discussion.

    You clearly view the world through the lense of moral equivalence — “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” — where there is no right or wrong, simply competing opinions.

    It’s not just the suicide bomber comparison that is over the top — it is making any comparison between Patrick Henry and the thugs our troops — and the Iraqi security forces — are fighting in Iraq. It was truly an ignorant and despicable thing to state.

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