By William Markiewicz

The line separating politics and crime can be thin. What they have in common is that both use power. The politician's power has to be in accordance with the law. The law has loopholes so it can be interpreted according to ability and scruples or lack of scruples. Politics should serve good causes in accordance with national & international requirements. Crime is mostly 'bad' but certain 'good' crimes are romanticized like those of Robin Hood, Zorro or Arsen Lupin. Terrorism remains on an uncertain path between politics and crime. Therefore mostly a minority actively supports it. Relatively few civilians, even if sympathetic to the cause, really supported Basque, Quebec or Irish terror. In the times of the Rabin - Arafat idyll, Palestinian terrorism became unpopular among the Palestinian population. Israelis popularized it immensely by emphasis on politics, mostly through the settler - commando invasion. The Spaniards avoided politicizing the ETA by not applying pressures that might affect the Basque civilian population. The same happened with the English vs. the IRA. Doing this they keep terrorists in isolation but, if you politicize the issue, suffering civilians, who have nothing more to lose, lose their fear and join the battle. Israelis got a bitter lesson. Bush's America got a bitter lesson when it became actively involved in what is not their business: the Likud - Palestinian conflict. America, Nato, got into the habit of mixing where it wasn't their business when they involved themselves in the Balkan civil war. Attack on Afghanistan, fight against Al-Quaeda and Taliban is just an American continuation of their participation in the Palestinian conflict. Without American meddling both sides would have been much more conciliatory by this point.

It's good that the Taliban is gone. At least girls can go to school and people can listen to music. Small reward if it is paid with massacres of Pashtun civilians. Globalization more and more involves civilian victims on a world scale with incalculable consequences. Of course today's 'sans culottes' cannot win against the Emperor of the planet but why continue the conflict and expose the American population to easily avoidable vengeance? Until now, Bush's ominous Jeremiads of danger to America from Islamic terror sounds laughable to thinking people but it may not always remain so. If one neighbourhood of any big American city suffers grave damage in human and material terms, the U.S. in revenge can destroy a continent. But is it worth it that the U.S. and the planet may suffer for no real reason? Bush -- go back to beer and pretzels and let the Middle East and Balkans settle their own business.

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