This one has been brewing for a while, but a conversation between John and his brother spurred me to write it down. Imagine with me...
You give a car to a 16-year-old boy. Now, it seems this boy has spent his life elsewhere (in a third-world country, in a deeply Amish community, under a rock, wherever) because he has never before seen a car. So, after you declare, "This is your car!", one of several scenarios can play out. Here are a few options:
Scenario 1: You introduce the young boy to his machine. You take the time to explain all of the mechanics of an automobile - the key goes in here, the accelerator is the vertical pedal on the right, this lever makes the turn signals blink, gas goes in the tank via this hole, etc. You then explain the rules of the road to this boy - we drive on the right, red means stop, green means go, you can go faster on the interstate than in a neighborhood, etc. Lastly, you put the parts together, and teach this young man to drive, both by taking him for a ride on the road, and then by riding with him as he is behind the wheel.
Now, this entire process would take a lot of time and energy. You might miss a couple of dinners with your family, but ultimately, you will have given this person a great gift that he will be able to use the rest of his life. He will eventually be able to use this car and his driving ability to get to school, and later, to work. And who knows, you may someday be injured, or have car trouble, and he will be able to drive you to your destination.
Scenario 2: You go back into your house, have dinner with your family, and then all sit down to watch a movie. The young boy teaches himself to drive, and you occasionally wave as you see him on the road.
Scenario 3: You go back into your house, have dinner with your family, and then all sit down to watch a movie. A neighbor (who dislikes you) befriends the young boy, and explains to him that you are a bad person for just giving him this machine, and then leaving him to figure it out by himself. This neighbor nurtures the boy's anger toward you while teaching him to drive. And by the time the boy has learned to operate the car, his hatred is such that he drives through your picture window and kills your family in front of the television.
Obviously, this is all a dramatization, but think about it.
What is the right thing to do?
What would you do?
Now, continue to imagine...
"You" are the United States.
The "boy" is Iraq.
The "car" is a brand new model called "Freedom".
5 years ago