A reader has pointed us to one of the dumbest columns I’ve ever seen. It’s by one Diana Griego Erwin in the Sacramento Bee. It’s titled–believe it or not–“What Do the Terrorists Want? The White House Hasn’t Asked.”
Ms. Erwin begins: “I feel like an idiot.” From there on it’s all downhill.
She telephoned the White House, the FBI and the State Department and said: “Has anyone asked what they want? You know, the terrorists who are out to kill innocent Americans? What do they want? To stop this, I mean.” Well, I think what they actually want is to kill us. Apparently she thinks they’re a blackmail ring. To their credit, all of the officials Ms. Erwin talked to responded appropriately. The White House blew her off. The FBI said its job is “protecting United States citizens from terrorism,” not asking what those who want to harm Americans want. And even the State Department seemed to find her question “loony,” Erwin says. The State Department official she spoke to said: “What do the terrorists want? No, ma’am, that’s not a question we ask. We are out there combating terrorism. We don’t ask them what they want.”
These lukewarm responses might have caused Ms. Erwin to rethink her approach to terrorism, but they didn’t. “Surely there is something better than addressing violence with violence. What do the terrorists want of us, anyway?” The problem, as Ms. Erwin sees it, is not the terrorists’ homicidal impulses, but our unwillingness to talk: “Apparently we’re not as adept at asking questions, building bridges or seeking resolutions to address why so many people the world over despise us. We react. We militarize. We kick butt. Talk? No, ma’am, we don’t talk.”
Remember, Ms. Erwin, that feeling that you are an idiot? Sometimes even a liberal needs to listen more to her feelings.
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