FRAMESHOP:FRAMESHOP: KNUCKLE DRAGGING

Want to stop terrorism? The solution is simple: no more knuckle dragging. The more President Bush's "war on terror" drags its knuckles, the more Osama Bin Laden's "war on infidels" slips undetected into backpacks and subway cars. Think about what's...

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Jeffrey Feldman, Editor-in-Chief
Frameshop, 07/25/2005

Want to stop terrorism?

The solution is simple:  no more knuckle dragging. 

The more President Bush's "war on terror" drags its knuckles, the more Osama Bin Laden's "war on infidels" slips undetected into backpacks and subway cars.   

Think about what's happened in the past few years  In response to 9/11, President Bush has waged war against Afghanistan and Iraq.  As a result, lots of people in those countries now have the chance to build a participatory democracy.  And hundreds of thousands of American soldiers have done heroic work helping people halfway around the world make better lives.  All good things.  But meanwhile, countless people have been displaced, wounded and killed by the President's military operations.  Instances of corporate corruption by President Bush's close friends and human rights violations in President Bush's secret prisons are cropping up all over the place. The President's war is waist-deep in a violent stalemate measured in endless suicide car bombs. And, Americans once dedicated to helping the people of Afghanistan and Iraq are now hesitant to enlist.  This is what success in the "war on terror"--to use President Bush's term--looks like.  To our President, who must wish that things were going better, the war is making America look strong and resolute: a hero spreading freedom.  But to the rest of the world, President Bush's war has made America look like a knuckle dragging giant: beastly, brutal, dumb. 

Now, think about what Osama Bin Laden has done over the past few years.  First, there was the attack on America--a cowardly act of murder.  Since then, Bin Laden has eluded capture by American forces, but has used the time to develop a system for communicating to his followers via the news networks.  And through this cryptic, sporadic communication, Bin Laden has inspired multiple terrorist "start-up" groups that have waged successful attacks in various countries.  This is what success in the "war on infidels--to use Bin Laden's term--looks like. To Bin Laden, who is probably very pleased with how things are going, the war is making the work of a small handful of men look mighty: a global force that has a superpower scared.  And to the rest of the world, Osama Bin Laden's war has made him look like the leader of a global revolution:  stealthy, daring, unstoppable.

Just this past week, Bin Laden's war was so effective that it manipulated the London police--who never carry guns--to arm themselves and accidentally kill an innocent man.  Meanwhile, President Bush's war on terror sinks deeper in Iraq.

President Bush's war and Osama Bin Laden's war are unfolding like a global version of "Jack and the Beanstalk," only this time, Bin Laden's "Jack" has Harry Potter's invisibility cloak, and President Bush's "Giant" has two left feet and Coke-bottle glasses.

In reality, President Bush's war on terror has turned America into a knuckle-dragging giant, and this transformation disturbs Americans of all political stripes.   

America is the country of innovation.  We are the nation of engineers who took the world to the moon, of doctors who rid the world of polio, and of entrepreneurs who pushed the world boldly into the information age.  For goodness sakes!  America does not drag its knuckles!

So what's the problem?  What's with all this knuckle dragging?

The problem is that to beat Osama Bin Laden, President Bush is trying to play the Giant when American has always succeeded by playing Jack.  President Bush needs to go back to school and remember a basic lesson that every third grader could teach him:  smart and fast beats big and slow.  President Bush should forget about trying to look big and mean.  He needs to focus more on trying to succeed by being nimble, clever and quick.  That's how America wins.  We're innovators, inventors, and scrappers.  America is not clod-footed.

But the war in Iraq has become such a knuckle dragging giant that if we don't do something about it, America could be in trouble for a long time to come.

So, here are a few lessons that I call "How Not To Be A Knuckle Dragger In The Fight Against Terrorism In Just 5 Easy Steps":

Step #1:  See Terrorists as Innovators, Not Savages
The lesson of the London bombings is that terrorists are good innovators.  President Bush prefers to call the terrorists "savage" or "brutal killers" or similar things, but in reality, the people who blew up the trains in London were smart entrepreneurs who took risks and succeeded.  Their success may be measured in horror, but it was success nonetheless.  The longer we drag our knuckles with the idea that terrorists are stupid savages, the less we will ever find a solution to their violence. 

Step #2:  Terrorists are Everywhere, Not "Over There"
This is a huge lesson that we have to learn right now or else suffer the consequences.  Knuckle draggers think that terrorism is only where the big guns are.  But nimble, creative Americans know that terrorism is everywhere.  Terrorism is a tricky and complex problem to solve, like tackling the AIDS virus or stopping soil erosion.   The more we sit down and play dumb with the idea that terrorism is only "over there," the more we will be rudely awakened by explosions in our public transportation system.

Step #3:   Create Competing Teams to Solve the Problem
Only knuckle-draggers work alone.  So far, President Bush war on terror has thrown a club over its shoulder and walked by itself down the road  Not a good approach to any problem.  Like any great American enterprise, the first step towards a solution is to empower multiple teams to compete with each other for success.  First person to come up with a winning design gets the glory.  Howard Dean, for example, could convene a "Conference on Innovation Against Terrorism," in which he invited all kinds of people from different industries and expertise to offer solutions and ideas. 

Step #4:   Learn from Your Mistakes
Only knuckle draggers make a mistake, but learn nothing from it.  Something bad happens in the war in Iraq and what does President Bush do?  The same thing he did last time, but more of it.  No success ever happened that way.  Let's face it, New York police searching bags on subway is not going to defeat terrorism.  We need to stop putting bandages on our mistakes and learn from them.

Step #5:  Hire Smart People, Fire Dumb People
A sure sign of a knuckle dragger is someone who hires other knuckle draggers.  President Bush hired Donald Rumsfeld, but when he turned out be the Willy Wonka of knuckle draggers, President Bush still won't fire  him.  And what about the knuckle dragger still using the "Terror Alert" scale? Or the knuckle draggers running the Abu Ghraib prison and the prison at Guantanomo Bay?  We've got to fire these people!  An organization that keeps spending money on knuckle draggers is destined to remain--you guessed it--a knuckle dragger.  Hire some smart people, fire the dumb ones. 

That should be enough to get us started. The fact is, America can't take much more of President Bush's knuckle dragging.  It's making theworld an unsafe place and it's burning up all our resources in the process. 

We need to stand up straight, lift our knuckles off the ground, and become the type of innovative, entrepreneurial, problem solvers that make this country great.  And great problem solvers come from every part of America.  They're in the military, they're in government, in business, in academia, the clergy, medicine, law, finance--they're everywhere!   America is the greatest source of innovation and entrepreneurship the world has ever known.  And we should start using it better to solve the biggest problem that the world currently faces.

Want to stop terrorism?

No more knuckle dragging.

© 2005 Jeffrey Feldman

© Jeffrey Feldman 2005, Frameshop

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