We’ve said before that Micro-Scripts can be a weapon of good or evil, depending on who’s holding the weapon. Al Qaeda’s most famous phrase to date may have been the ultimate summation in 9 words of what the civilized world has been facing with this breed of fanatics: “We love death as much as you love life.” Sums up what you’re dealing with in a hurry, doesn’t it?
Well I read another one just the other day, attributed to a Taliban. I’ve been saying for a while that fighting a war against a civilization from a different time warp may be an untenable propostion.Why? Because we want an end and want to go home someday. They don’t. Big difference. They’re already home in the dust, the mountains, the caves, the burkas and the 3rd century. Their expectation is not an end-point or a conventional “rational” form of victory (living vs. dying) which has defined Western Warfare since Biblical times. We want to go home someday soon. Even the Japanese on Iwo Jima harbored the hope of someday getting off that wretched island in the Pacific and returning to their homeland when the war was over. But our enemies in the Taliban are home. They’re going nowhere else, ever. And that is our ultimate strategic weakness and their ultimate strength. If you view your life story in a timeframe of thousands of years vs. decades, you can wait anything out–unless the other side is willing to man its forts in the Korengal forever, which they know we are not.
The anonymous Talib’s Micro-Script says it all in 9 words? “Americans: You have the watches. But we have the time.”
Chills to the bone. No gun, figher jet or smart bomb–and certainly no American kid– who wants someday to be home with his wife and family–trumps that.
A lot of people have heard famous Einstein gems like “God doesn’t play dice.” But the man who could simplify the most profound secret of the universe down to three letters: E=MC(2) was also pretty amazing at tossing out aphorisms that get directly to the heart of everyday wisdom. He said, “You can’t solve the problems of today with the thinking that got you there.” I wish the Democrats and Republicans sometimes remembered that one. And for all the people out there who think that high tech and the Internet are unmitigated tools of human progress, Einstein would remind you that “My biggest fear is that our technology is exceeding our humanity.”
The other day, I read another pithy little pearl: “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”
He has so many more. For all of us on the planet, he will forever be a gift that keeps on giving.
Just returned from speaking at the 2011 ArtezInteraction Conference in Toronto which, although you might not know from the name, is a premier conference for Canadian Charities and non-profits interested in fund-raising online. You come back thinking that Canada is really ahead of us in all kinds of things: quality of ATM machines, affordable healthcare, sane and humane law making, reasonable gun control, financial system checks and balances (unlike all the rest of the Western world, Canada had no financial crisis because they have common sense limits on banks’ gambling with depositors money), and so on.
I think they are also ahead of us in attitude. If Paris has its picture in the dictionary next to: ‘Rude to Strangers’ Toronto is the antonym. I’m not the only one who thinks this, either. It’s usually the first thing out of anyone’s mouth who’s just back from Canada. Canadians don’t seem to take themselves as seriously. And most are simply old-fashioned gracious and polite. They are a little self-deprecating, but there’s no reason to be. They are as fresh and bright and interesting and sophisticated and AT LEAST as beautiful as we are any day. Definitely thinner.
And that’s just the women.
You might be able to tell that the folks at the conference liked my speech. Okay, I believe they did. But this little bit a gratitude is long overdue. I’m glad you won the hockey medal. I’m glad after all our political and social shenanigans south of the border, not to mention some of the Presidents we’ve stuck you with, you never seem to hold it against us when we come to visit.
Thanks for just being you. Bill Schley