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Two ingredients will ensure the U.S. wins this war
The United States will prevail in the struggle against terrorism not just because we have more planes, battleships and soldiers.
Victory will be ours because of two uniquely American characteristics: humor and entrepreneurship.
Americans are still able to laugh in the face of terror.
In America, humor is a natural response to even the most terrible assaults. Some say it is a weakness. I say it's a strength. Humor gives American society a resiliency few enemies can match. It is a form of armor against terror.
Secondly, our free-market economy is America's not-so-secret weapon. Osama bin Laden and his pals can't begin to understand it.
Last week, someone e-mailed me pictures of an anti-American protester in Pakistan setting fire to an American flag. Apparently, the protester has splashed a bit of gasoline on himself and when he torched the flag, he set himself on fire, too.
Beneath the pictures text read: American Flag: $25. Gasoline: $2. Cigarette Lighter: $2.50. Catching yourself on fire because you are a terrorist: Priceless.
And how -- bin Ladin must wonder -- can Americans still function, even tell jokes, while their nation is under attack?
He probably wouldn't get the humor of the exquisite cartoon by John Deering, which first appeared in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Deering drew a group of worried-looking Taliban leaders huddled over what appears to be a ransom note from the United States. The note says: "To the Taliban: Hand over Osama bin Laden or we'll send all your women to college!"
In the first days of the air campaign, I expected to see super-high resolution pictures on CNN and in national newspapers purchased from Denver-based Space Imaging. But there was nothing.
I called the company. A spokesman said a spirited internal debate was underway over what to do with the company's imaging technology in a time of national crisis.
Do they sell pictures of Afghanistan to the public and risk compromising national security? American ingenuity showed them a different path. Space Imaging is selling all their pictures to the government, reportedly for millions.
Now that's using some Yankee know-how.
I wonder what CNN's viewers in say, Pakistan, think when Larry King cuts off top officials in mid-sentence because "We have to take a break. Don't go away."
Even in a time of crisis, the network breaks for commercials.
Advertising has shown Americans' innumerable ways to show their patriotism. The act of spending money has even been equated with helping with the war effort. Go ahead, take that vacation, buy that new car, show Osama you can't be scared.
Pick up some American flag fingernail decals from the folks at Cutex and everyone will know you're an American. Write a check for $9.95 and you'll get a "genuine" American flag and car window mounting clip.
It's only a matter of time before that annoying guy selling Oxy Clean stain remover on cable TV will be inserting a patriotic theme into his pitch. "Buy two six-pound buckets of Oxy Clean and we'll give you a red, white and blue Oxy Clean scrub pad absolutely free!"
God, I hope this war ends soon.
Neil Westergaard is editor of the Denver Business Journal. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
-- Martin Thompson (email@example.com), November 06, 2001
I note the humor in the preceding article, however I would hardly call it a war. Maybe that's part of the humor.
I think what this little excursion to Afghanistan is primarily supposed to do is stimulate the economy by funneling money to defense contractors. Is it really a war when all we do is make strafing runs, blowing up tents and remote mountains where goatherders roam? Its great publicity to show us blowing up mountains in Afghanistan even though there wasn't a military target there to begin with. We're just flushing taxpayers money down the defense contractors toilet, I'm not sure I would call that a war. Maybe its the new definition of war? just like we're at the beginning of an economic recovery?
-- Guy Daley (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 06, 2001.