The United States is not very good at nation-building. We’re busy. We get bored. The beginning of the big plan is wonderful. Everyone is on-board and gung-ho, and patriotic, and waving the hell out of some flags (made in China).
But then the work begins…
…and people drop away.
And then there’s the rule of Seven.
You probably never heard of it before, because its something I made up, but it seems to be proving out.
When you invade a country, usually lots and lots of adult men wind up dead.
Fathers, Uncles, husbands. Anyone from the guy who gets hit by a bomb crossing a parking lot on his way to work, up to and including a pissed-off guy who no money and no options to whom dying and being trapped with an unnamed number of virgins in some idea of heaven sounds like an appealing idea.
Anyone who has been in the room with a lot of virgins can probably tell you that experience really isn’t something you want to aspire to. Wouldn’t you rather be trapped in a room with a bunch of folks who are experienced in the kind of sex you like? Hmmm? Something to think about.
Anyway, I digress.
Back to this “Rule of Seven” thing. When you step in and kill off a bunch of adult males, there’s likely a whole lot of boys you leave behind who are too weak to lift a gun and avenge their fathers, their uncles, and their older brothers. So the kids play along. They go to your schools. Get jobs. Some might even take training in the military or the police.
All of this over a period of about 7 years…
Then, the get old enough to realize that over those seven years, Dad was gone. Uncle was gone. Older brother was gone.
Who’s fault is it?
Who are they going to be mad at?
Now that they are old enough, and likely know us well, and have guns we gave them, what happens next?
Especially if after our “nation-building” we decide not to fund the schools, jobs, training or anything else and we just pull up stakes everywhere, with the exception of the gigantic straw we just stuck in one of the last big patches of petroleum on the planet.
Now those grown men are mad, and they can see we are taking their resources. Not our resources. Theirs. They have dead dads who paid for those resources with their lives.
So now you have grown men, whose dads/uncles/older brothers we’ve killed, who now seven years later have guns, anger, and a target to be mad at because we killed their dads/uncles/older brothers, and we are stealing from them.
Looking at it that way, if you were between the ages of 6-12, and someone did that to you, and now you have guns and anger, and maybe a little nudge from the guy down at your local church to go and “take back your country,” what do you think you would do?
Before you answer that, maybe you should swing the scenario over here…
To American boys who lost their dads/uncles /older brothers to Iraq.
Or their dads/uncles/older brothers lost their homes and their jobs because 2% of the country or less decided that they needed a few more billion dollars and so they set a scheme in action that would take money from the last resource left, since they raided social security, privatized the schools and health care. The last big bucket of money left was home equity.
And they wanted it. Why? Because those who don’t have, want. And those who do, want MORE.
Or maybe they just feel that all these people speaking languages they don’t speak, who don’t look or act like them are everywhere and because this is the case, they have a fear that those new people are going to take everything they once thought of as “theirs.”
…and now they are grown up.
…and they have guns…
…and they are angry.
Actions have consequences that ripple and echo…
..and echoes can be fatal.
The tough question is, how do we stop this cycle? How do we get these (mostly) young men to put down the guns? Go back to their homes? Find someone to love? Find a purpose to life and move the fuck on from anger, fear, or hatred?
Honestly, I don’t know, but with all the money and think-tanks and resources some folks are throwing at these problems, maybe it would be a good idea to stop trying to figure out how to fight “terrorism/extremists/tea partiers/Al Quaida” and start figuring out what is it we are doing as a culture that is leaving people angry, confused, and desperate?
…and maybe what we can do to stop leaving people in a position so they feel that all they have left is a gun, and the promise of heaven.