"Joe Bob's America" for 9/1/96
By Joe Bob Briggs
Every time a bomb goes off somewhere, we trot out this word "cowardice." In fact, it's about the ONLY time anybody uses the word "coward" anymore.
The President says, "We will not rest until we have found the cowards who did this."
Time magazine's Olympics cover says, "Courage and Cowardice." The news conferences on Long Island after TWA Flight 800 went down would always start out, "The COWARDS who did this..."
But what I wanna know is...what are we getting at here? Are we saying that all acts of terrorism are cowardly?
What about the guy who strapped explosives to himself and drove the bomb truck into the U.S. Marine compound in Beirut? He might have been CRAZY, but he wasn't a coward. The night before, the man had ATTENDED HIS OWN FUNERAL.
Actually, people who go around detonating bombs are mostly NOT cowards, because they can blow themselves up at any moment.
If you talk to cops on the bomb squad, or military guys who specialize in blowing stuff up, they have this constant fear that they've set a timer wrong, or that they've miscalculated the amount of explosives needed.
They all have friends who have lost hands or arms or legs. I really think the reason people use the word "coward" is that they don't believe in guerrilla war, which is what this is.
They want all the Looney Toon political groups in the world to declare their intentions, show up on the Washington Mall with rifles and shoot it out with the Army.
If they had enough guys to do that, THEY WOULD. I'm sure they wouldn't hesitate one minute to engage in open warfare with us if they thought they had a snowball's chance in hell.
But they know they'd be wasted to the last man. The only way they know to fight is secretly, by ambush, using dead innocent civilians to create chaos.
But they're not cowards. You can read the transcript of the trial of the guys arrested for the bombing of the World Trade Center and see that most of them would die for their cause.
If we keep calling 'em cowards, then we're gonna underestimate 'em. We're gonna treat 'em like some kind of weird, half-crazed criminals who we need to catch and lock up so the world will be safe.
If we regard them as soldiers, on the other hand, we can get busy wiping 'em out. We might even authorize the CIA to use assassination to do it.
If they're gonna wage a secret war, then we should be waging a secret war right back.
But don't call 'em cowards. Call 'em what they are: The enemy.
You know what you do to the enemy?
You annihilate him.