Bomb Them with Butter
Bribe Them with Hope

by Kent Madin

A military response, particularly an attack on Afghanistan, is exactly what the terrorists want. It will strengthen and swell their small but fanatical ranks.

Instead, bomb Afghanistan with butter, with rice, bread, clothing and medicine. It will cost less than conventional arms, poses no threat of US casualties and just might get the populace thinking that maybe the Taliban don't have the answers. After three years of drought and with starvation looming, let's offer the Afghani people the vision of a new future. One that includes full stomachs.
Bomb them with information. Video players and cassettes of world leaders, particularly Islamic leaders, condemning terrorism.

Carpet the country with magazines and newspapers showing the horror of terrorism committed by their "guest". Blitz them with laptop computers and DVD players filled with a perspective that is denied them by their government. Saturation bombing with hope will mean that some of it gets through. Send so much that the Taliban can't collect and hide it all.

The Taliban are telling their people to prepare for Jihad. Instead, let's give the Afghani people their first good meal in years. Seeing your family fully fed and the prospect of stability in terms of food and a future is a powerful deterrent to martyrdom. All we ask in return is that they, as a people, agree to enter the civilized world. That includes handing over terrorists in their midst.

In responding to terrorism we need to do something different. Something unexpected..something that addresses the root of the problem. We need to take away the well of despair, ignorance and brutality from which the Osama bin Laden's of the world water their gardens of terror.

My first interest is practical, not humanitarian. Whoever planned the attacks is very clever. They have defined the playing field. They have also thought a lot about the endgame, and how to respond to the next phase (American retaliation). It wouldn't surprise me if the same care and planning that apparently went on for more than a year in the US for the NY attack, has also been going on in Pakistan amongst the military, religious and civilian population. What greater coup than to goad the US into committing military forces, and then have Pakistan collapse under us into an Islamic fundamentalist state.. complete with nuclear weapons.

So my concern is that the US may be being led into a trap. Our breast thumping, flag waving response is just too predictable. My answer is to do something totally different and totally unexpected, to take back the initiative and define the playing field on our terms, instead of theirs.

As to bombing with butter.. I not only believe it to be an appropriate anti metaphor for war but actually a realistic option. There are many people around the world, sick, starving and in need who could stand to be bombed with butter. I would chose to bomb Afghanistan now because it makes both geopolitical and humanitarian good sense. I am not opposed to "bribing" people, whether with hope or money. The real world is never and never will be a pure and clean place. The thing about accepting "bribery" as a tool is that it requires so much more self discipline, so much more introspection in order to use it wisely. We think of "bribery" as something done for money that is evil. But it is a way of getting someone's attention. And you can't have a meaningful conversation with someone if they are not paying attention.

I liken bombing with butter to Akido. If you know that your opponent is expecting a certain move, that means his energy and focus is fixed and rigid. Doing something different throws him off balance. You have to find that point of pressure where the Taliban's hold on Afghanistan, like the WTC towers, suddenly collapses under it's own rigidity. We actually have the technical capability to carpet bomb Afghanistan with food and information. We can reach the people in the hinterlands and the cities. We could make them start to question what is happening and we can offer them an alternative.

Kent Madin

Visit his website at Boojum Expeditions

Reprinted with permission


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