I am terror stricken. I am awakening from a nightmare in which America has been defeated, her people enslaved, her freedoms confiscated, and her citizens imprisoned within their own borders. I awaken to discover that the dream could be true.
Beyond the pain of the already dead and dying, the unspeakable horror is that the enemy may have beaten us already. And the enemy laughs. And the enemy is insane. That we may have been conquered is an unutterable secret. Our leaders will not tell us because they do not know. They, too, are part of this giant that has suffered such ungodly pain, such unremitting horror and sorrow. As we watch, the giant rises up preparing to crush its enemies it cannot see nor fully understand. As we watch we learn that the giant, too, does not know that it may have already been beaten. No one has told us that our enemy can never be defeated, not even by the most powerful nation in the history of the world.
The enemy, of course, is Hatred. And Power, even absolute power, cannot destroy Hatred. Power can only create Hatred. Power can wipe out thousands, millions, nations, the world, but it cannot destroy Hatred. We can kill those who have killed us but each of their dead and ours will be replaced many fold by a new, more potent strain of hatred. Hatred killed thousands in New York, and instantly created two hundred-sixty million people filled with rage and a new hatred of their own. The giant can kill their leaders and those who succor them. The giant can wipe out their villages, but Hatred will find ways to obliterate our freedoms, our institutions, to extinguish our moral beacons and at last it may even destroy our cities and our civilization. The enemy, Hatred, is instantly contagious. It destroys reason. It turns good men into killers. It infects all that it touches. It cannot be defeated except by love. But how can we love that which we hate so?
When I say that already we may have been defeated I do not mean the body count will be in their favor. We will always win the body count. If they wipe out great buildings, we can destroy whole cities. If they wipe out a city, we can destroy a whole nation. The giant has the power. We are Power. Power can win the body count but it cannot win this war. Because the enemy is not human. This is a war against a malicious spirit.
Only fools attempt to defeat a spirit with guns and rockets and bombs. It is like blowing up the air. It is like bombing graveyards. Destroying all that lives cannot destroy Hatred. It grows like a perpetual cancer. It breeds Hatred and infects all that it touches until nothing remains except the offspring of Hatred which is terror and pain and death. Some have said this is a war of good against evil. But Power that only begets Hatred is not good. In the end, Hatred becomes the most indomitable power of all.
In response to our demand for just and immediate reprisals we already may be committed to a broad kind of indiscriminate killing. Already we have committed our children to kill and to be killed. And the enemy, Hatred, laughs, because it knows that killing on either side will bring on more hatred until, after decades, perhaps generations, the giant will have depleted itself, its coffers drained, its natural resources exhausted, its population drowned in fear and sorrow and hatred over the endless fields of dead. At last the giant, drained and gasping in its own poisoned air, may surely fall. There will be no victors in this war except Hatred. It can defeat all sides, all comers, all challengers, all weapons. All Power. It can defeat All.
I have spoken here of a simple proposition, one that men of Power find difficult to understand because men of power understand only power. Many politicians have spoken to a people who have suffered, who have lost their children and loved ones and who are afraid. But they play to an enflamed and suffering people often without careful questions and with expressions of hatred instead. Reason is out. Dissent is seen as unpatriotic. To ask simple a question, like, “Why are we hated so?” cannot be asked. Justice has become confused with killing so that the more we kill in retribution, and the sooner, the more justice we are said to receive, and the safer we shall become. But such justice delivers only Hatred–theirs and ours–and leaves us more vulnerable to those who will hate us still more.
Let us now go forward to that time when the body count is over. We can see their dead and ours lined in long rows, the parts of the bodies in terrible heaps, the mangled and limbless children, the weeping, the wounded and the wretched. The world is drowning in tears. But in this horrid conflagration we have not won, because freedom, which was once our life blood, has been drained from us as part of the price of the war.
No longer can we trust our neighbors. No longer can we wander safely from our own borders, nor move within them without fear. Our Constitution is only a memory on faded parchment. We can not speak freely for fear we will be hated. Our civil liberties, once guaranteed under that blessed document, have given way to the exigencies of this struggle. The police have demanded that they be given more power, that they be permitted to tap our phones and search our homes without warrants. We have become prisoners with electronic tattoos. Reacting to our fear we have embraced the police who have promised to keep us safe. But we are no longer safe from them. We have been stripped of our rights and stand naked and helpless before them. Our lawyers, once warriors for the people, can no longer speak out for us. Their tools of justice, our constitutional rights, have been confiscated so that they stand impotent and whining. And the courts turn their heads. We have become locked within our self-constructed prisons on the promise that we will be safe there. But we are no longer safe from the police in this new police state–a nation still called America.
That blessed ideal fundamental to any free nation–the rule of law–can no longer be heard through the racket of our rage. America, once founded on the rule of law, has already committed to sacrifice the rule of law for its security. The terrible need of Power to grasp more power is never satiated. Hatred also hates freedom and despises the rule of law. And once the rule of law has been forfeited, like an arm severed, like a leg amputated, like a soul stripped of its sense of humanity, it can never again be called upon to protect a free people.
The goal of a free nation is to reveal by example the enlightened possibilities of the human race, not to wield its power of destruction and death over the helpless, the poor, the starving and the war torn masses. The goal of a free nation must be no different outside its borders than within them. In America we do not massacre whole towns because they may be the chosen domicile of a criminal or a conspiracy of criminals. Instead we carefully root out the felons and bring them to justice. In the same way, the goal of a free nation must be to first view all people as members of the human race, and, as such, to insist that they possess fundamental human rights. They are, as we, citizens of the world.
The rule of law shows us the way. Those who have committed these atrocities and those who aided and abetted them must be positively identified and brought to justice. Despite their crimes of horror they must be surrounded with all of the rights to which any citizen of the world is entitled. If we ask the rest of the world to join us in this war, our request must not be that they join us in the madness of killing, in the eternal seeding of hatred, but that they join us in our quest for justice under the rule of law. The venue for such trials must be a special international tribunal, for the crimes were not against us alone but against the entire world, against the human race.
If we are, indeed, to remain a free nation, the people, at last, must wield their final power over Power. We, the people, must ensure that unleashed Power, this enraged giant, does not, itself, become the most proficient, the most hideous, the most gargantuan terrorist in the history of mankind and thereby plant a crop that bears an eternal fruit of Hatred.
We cannot be asked to love those who have wrought such pain and death on so many innocent people. Such love is beyond the capacity of the human organism. But we are able to love our system based on the rational, just, rule of law. And, we are able, through the love of it, not to further nourish Hatred, but instead to accept the greatest of challenges, and, indeed, the greatest of opportunities that have ever been tendered a free nation–to teach the world by our example, to hold Power tightly to the rein, and at last to lead the world toward a day when we shall be free from fear and terrorism by embracing, yes, cherishing the rule of law. It is the majesty of the rule of law that underlies the Constitution of the United States. With it we can lead the world to freedom. Without it we are doomed to the endless pain and destruction that an unleashed Hatred will forever wage upon us. In a sane world, we can never surrender to Hatred.