Annie Gets Her Guns -- by Carol Schiffler
On September 11, 2001, Ann Coulter lost a friend. That friend was Barbara Olson, a woman who - well, face it, most of us left-leaning individuals did not like very well.
Personal feelings for the victim aside, I am sure that we all sympathize with Ann. We really do. Losing someone you care about, especially when that someone is taken prematurely and in a senseless act of violence, gives rise to feelings that cannot be articulated properly by any writer, no matter how accomplished. Those of us who have collectively and effortlessly penned thousands of words since the election debacle, sat mutely in front of the television on September 11, unable to construct a single coherent sentence in the presence of so much devastation, so much loss.
That said, my sympathy for Ms. Coulter begins and ends with the loss of her friend.
Coulter's eulogy for Barbara Olson can be found, if one has the stomach for it, at http://www.townhall.com/columnists/anncoulter/ac20010914.shtml. It is entitled "This is War." It is about fourteen and a half paragraphs too long.
She should have ended the piece somewhere in the middle of the sixth paragraph - maybe even at the end of the fifth, just to be on the safe side. She should never have used a friend's memorial tribute to slip in a dig at the Clintons. She should never have used the death of a friend, like a crude garden hoe, to till the fertile soil of American tragedy and angst, preparing it to receive a good healthy dose of government-manufactured cow manure.
The American media is preparing us for war, people. Make no mistake about it. Listen carefully to the next "Attack on America" broadcast. Listen to the drumbeat of the soundtrack. Note the color schemes and symbols used. Pay very, very close attention to the many different variations on, "Are you prepared to sacrifice?" used by the pot-stirrers and propaganda-meisters.
"Are you prepared to sacrifice?" They are preparing us to cheerfully lay our civil rights on the altar of government security. They are preparing us to bomb innocent civilians, to kill women and children, and to willingly send our sons and husbands off to die. They are preparing us to set aside our principals and our impolite calls for peace. They are asking us to sacrifice nothing less than our humanity.
It is relatively easy to ask this question if, like Ann Coulter and George Bush, you probably won't have to sacrifice anything. The odds that Annie will ever have to get her gun are about as favorable as the odds that I will be killed by an exploding Chicken McNugget. Nor will she find herself standing in the middle of an impoverished Middle Eastern village, holding her baby to her breast, and watching helplessly as bombs rain from the sky. So it is easy for her to blather on about carpet-bombing, and fighting, and dying because she, personally, will never see a single day of combat. It will not be her or her spawn marching into the jaws of hell to kill or be killed. It will not be Ann Coulter who comes home from the desert shell-shocked, limbless, her central nervous system paralyzed by a toxic combination of government chemicals and psychological trauma. "We know who the homicidal maniacs are," Ms. Coulter asserts. "We should bomb their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity." Quite aside from the pathetic stupidity of proposing that the United States should attempt to convert dead people to anything, let alone Christianity, taken in context, Ms. Coulter is basically stating "the only good Muslim is a dead Muslim." Where have we heard that before?
As Ariana Huffington so astutely notes in her article, "Blinded by Scandal," (http://www.salon.com/news/col/huff/2001/09/13/media/index.html), Ann Coulter and company were conspicuously MIA when the U.S. Commission on National Security was making recommendations on combating terrorism. And precisely where were they hiding in May when the State Department issued a Worldwide Alert to international travelers and military bases due to the number of terrorist threats that had been made? Should that not have piqued their curiosity? And how about the FBI arrest of an Islamic militant in Boston last month - a man who possessed at the time of his arrest, several passports, technical information on Boeing aircraft, and flight manuals? (http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/europe/newsid_1544000/1544473.stm). I will tell you exactly where they were. They were on Geraldo and Hardball and Hannity and Colmes discussing Gary Condit's penis; slandering, lying, and scapegoating instead of reporting real news about real issues. So please spare us the outraged bleating and braying. The barn door has been open for a long time, and worse than merely being under the haystack fast asleep, American journalists have been out on the town shucking and jiving for their corporate pimps. Ms. Coulter might, then, consider taking a good, long hard look at her own complicity in our current dilemma before she begins advocating mowing down Muslims for Jesus. History has shown us that all wars invariably boil down to economics. Some country or some subset of the population has something that someone else wants. The actual motivation for a particular conflict are often not exposed for many years afterwards, and truth be known, most people would not willingly risk their lives for an economic jihad. That is why irrational solutions are offered to complex problems. These solutions are simple, emotional and play well off the death and martyrdom of innocent civilians. Responses that are reasoned and measured, on the other hand, are dull and tend to take time to formulate. Sometimes they even lead to more questions. Sometimes these are questions the government would prefer that we did not ask. Bombing the camel dung out of Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan combined will not solve the problem of international terrorism, especially if reports from intelligence sources are correct. If hundreds of terrorist cells are now dispersed globally, having access to explosives, cash, and biological and/or chemical weapons, the entire Middle East could be reduced to rubble and the problem would still exist. For Ms. Coulter to suggest such an inane approach is irresponsible. To suggest it in a public forum is demented and dangerous. According to the Hart-Rudman report on national security, America today faces distinctly new dangers." Gone are the days when they can be addressed simply by whacking all swarthy strangers over the head with a club. If Ms. Coulter wants to do her patriotic duty, she might start out by providing the American public with an incisive analysis of the Hart-Rudman report. She might follow that up with a piece on the measures our government is currently taking to protect us against these new dangers. She might even offer us some in-depth coverage on something whacky like, say, foreign policy. Or maybe she would be better off just making a mid-life career change. I hear that the Army is hiring and we think Ann deserves a place on the front lines. After all, this is war.