Terrorists who turned out to be Heroes
I am trying to transition from being a raving angry liberal to a dumbstruck happy liberal. It is not an easy task, as I have to admit I had lost so much faith in this country that I was stealing my nerve to rebel if our man had lost. Thank goodness my faith in this nation was restored, because that was a scary path I didn’t want to explore.
Now that we can get back on the right track I know right where to start. We need to reassess this ceaseless war on terror. It will be our downfall. When we drop our nation’s manure all over the world we give our enemies fertile soil to sow the seeds of hatred. Think of all the countless people who were first labeled terrorists who later broke the chains that bound them and claimed the name hero. My top ten terrorists who turned out to be heroes after the jump…
10. Che Guevara – This guy might have grinned if you called him a terrorist. But now he just stares back off of every rebellious 13 year old’s t-shirt. Whether you care more that he regularly executed deserters or that he freed Cuba from the grip of a puppet dictator is up to you. But the CIA played a significant role in his execution in Bolivia, and countless people in the world worship everything this man fought and died for. He was happy facing his death knowing that the revolution was immortal even if he wasn’t.
9. The Dali Lama – “Top officials in China have claimed that the Tibetan protests and the international protests are part of a plot to disrupt the Olympics orchestrated by the Dalai Lama, who lives in India. They have called him a splittist and a terrorist whose goal is to separate Tibet from China.” From the New York Times. I don’t think they do polls in China, but I imagine over half of china thinks he is a terrorist. 500 million people can’t be wrong. Right?
8. George Washington – There is a huge debate raging about this guy all over the Internet. I think pretty clearly any Loyalist or British citizen thought this guy was the equivalent of Osama bin Laden. People say he was fighting for the sovereign US of A and therefore was within the rules of war. But any British Judge of the day would have certainly condemned him to die for treason and not lost sleep over the decision. This man was a terrorist until he broke the power that named him one.
7. Geronimo – After his family was killed by Mexican soldiers, Geronimo fought Mexicans and Gringos from 1858 to 1886. Most of the time he was fighting the US army out numbered 10-1. His band withered by years of war had only 24 men when they surrendered to a US Army force of 5,000 soldiers, thousands of civilian militia, 500 Apache scouts, 100 Navajo Scouts. He and the members of his band were sent to prison in Fort Marion Florida where many died of tropical disease. Late in his life Geronimo became a national celebrity appearing in world’s fairs and at Teddy Roosevelt’s inauguration. Today we remember his name as a hero of freedom, when all he wanted was to remain free from the deadly clutches of the US of A.
6. Jesus – All he was trying to do make his religion more inclusive and generous, but his actions went a step too far. He went into the central bank of his nation and caused a ruckus by tipping over money bags and yelling. Can you image what they would do to someone causing such a seen the FED these days? He probably wouldn’t even get a trial just a bullet. In the end he was executed for treason, which starts with the same letter as terrorism for a reason.
5. Simon Bolivar: This hero wrote Decree of War to the Death stating that any Spanish born person in the Americas not supporting Independence could and should be put to death without being guilty of anything else. But he only wrote that in response to witnessing the Spanish forces use equally horrendous tactics on his own people. You can only imagine what the Spanish Royalty said about this noble upstart. Ultimately he repelled the Spanish and was the President and founder of several nations. He even has a country named after him, which is more than you can say about George Washington.
4. Harriet Tubman – This woman single handedly stole property from hundreds across the entire south and inspired countless others to follow the same path. Granted, today we say she liberated people. But so many prominent whites in the south thought she was a terrorist, they placed a $40,000 price on her head. As a percentage of GDP that would be equal to 120 million in today’s America. The price on Bin Laden’s head stands at 50 million at last count.
3. Mahatma Gandhi – This guy was born in South Africa, had been a member of British armed forces, and clearly was a citizen of the British Empire when he was convicted of sedition and sentenced to six years in prison. This little man of peace brought the English empire to its knees with the most dangerous thing of all, words. “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
2. Nelson Mandela was convicted of terrorism in 1963 and freely admitted at his trial, “I do not deny that I planned sabotage. I planned it as a result of a calm and sober assessment of the political situation.” After spending years in prison his words and friends worked their magic and broke apartheid. He was the elected the first president of post Apartheid South Africa and has won every prize there is.
1. Martin Luther King Jr. – From 1957 until his death this man was under constant surveillance by the FBI. When rumors swirled that King was having an extramarital affair the FBI threaten to expose him if he didn’t cease his civil rights activities. Would the Feds have so relentlessly pursued him if they didn’t think he was a communist terrorist? King broke the law in protest time and time again until he broke it right and wow the rights he sought. The movement that he was part of won rights for blacks in voting booths, busses, bathrooms, court houses, and classrooms. When he was assassinated there were terrifying riots in a hundred cities across America. As a result of his legacy a generation later the United States of America has done the unthinkable and elected the first black president.
I am not equating the leaders of the terrorist networks we face to any of the people I just named. But I am not a Muslim living in a nation whose government represses them on our behalf. It is a matter of where you stand. Our enemies are surely heroes to millions around the globe.
We have made our enemies greater by breaking our army on two peoples who mostly did not hate us before we invaded their countries. Our wanton national policy creates many terrorists for every one we kill. At the precise moment the war on terror was declared it was lost. You can defeat terror as much as you can defeat the boogey man. All you can do is use careful diplomacy and defense to prevent attacks. .
There is a great lesson to terrorists in this if any are reading. Put down your arms. The people who seek peace at the right time become nation builders and heroes. The ones who continue to fight wear their people out. The US of A truly has the greatest warriors, and fighting us must be terrible. I am sorry my government attacked you, but there are many of us who have always wanted peace to reign.
The United States must forget any ideas of hegemonic power. We have to stop making so many people hate us and reclaim our status as the first bastion of freedom. Our economy ties this world too closely together for us to throw our weight around by making incursions into Syria, Pakistan, and Somalia. What would we do if another government pulled a similar stunt on our soil? We survived nuclear missiles in Cuba with careful diplomacy. Let’s hope the next administration will find a way to make Iran behave well enough. But we must end this war on a word. Peace and energy independence are the only ways to win and rebuild our economy.