Have We Already
by Gerry Spence, September 2001
I am terror stricken.
I am awakening from a nightmare in which America has been defeated,
her people enslaved, her freedoms confiscated, and her citizens
imprisoned within their own borders. I awaken to discover that
the dream could be true.
Beyond the pain of the already dead and dying,
the unspeakable horror is that the enemy may have beaten us already.
And the enemy laughs. And the enemy is insane. That we may have
been conquered is an unutterable secret. Our leaders will not
tell us because they do not know. They, too, are part of this
giant that has suffered such ungodly pain, such unremitting horror
and sorrow. As we watch, the giant rises up preparing to crush
its enemies it cannot see nor fully understand. As we watch we
learn that the giant, too, does not know that it may have already
been beaten. No one has told us that our enemy can never be defeated,
not even by the most powerful nation in the history of the world.
The enemy, of course, is Hatred. And Power, even
absolute power, cannot destroy Hatred. Power can only create Hatred.
Power can wipe out thousands, millions, nations, the world, but
it cannot destroy Hatred. We can kill those who have killed us
but each of their dead and ours will be replaced many fold by
a new, more potent strain of hatred. Hatred killed thousands in
New York, and instantly created two hundred-sixty million people
filled with rage and a new hatred of their own. The giant can
kill their leaders and those who succor them. The giant can wipe
out their villages, but Hatred will find ways to obliterate our
freedoms, our institutions, to extinguish our moral beacons and
at last it may even destroy our cities and our civilization. The
enemy, Hatred, is instantly contagious. It destroys reason. It
turns good men into killers. It infects all that it touches. It
cannot be defeated except by love. But how can we love that which
we hate so?
When I say that already we may have been defeated
I do not mean the body count will be in their favor. We will always
win the body count. If they wipe out great buildings, we can destroy
whole cities. If they wipe out a city, we can destroy a whole
nation. The giant has the power. We are Power. Power can win the
body count but it cannot win this war. Because the enemy is not
human. This is a war against a malicious spirit.
Only fools attempt to defeat a spirit with guns
and rockets and bombs. It is like blowing up the air. It is like
bombing graveyards. Destroying all that lives cannot destroy Hatred.
It grows like a perpetual cancer. It breeds Hatred and infects
all that it touches until nothing remains except the offspring
of Hatred which is terror and pain and death. Some have said this
is a war of good against evil. But Power that only begets Hatred
is not good. In the end, Hatred becomes the most indomitable power
In response to our demand for just and immediate
reprisals we already may be committed to a broad kind of indiscriminate
killing. Already we have committed our children to kill and to
be killed. And the enemy, Hatred, laughs, because it knows that
killing on either side will bring on more hatred until, after
decades, perhaps generations, the giant will have depleted itself,
its coffers drained, its natural resources exhausted, its population
drowned in fear and sorrow and hatred over the endless fields
of dead. At last the giant, drained and gasping in its own poisoned
air, may surely fall. There will be no victors in this war except
Hatred. It can defeat all sides, all comers, all challengers,
all weapons. All Power. It can defeat All.
I have spoken here of a simple proposition, one
that men of Power find difficult to understand because men of
power understand only power. Many politicians have spoken to a
people who have suffered, who have lost their children and loved
ones and who are afraid. But they play to an enflamed and suffering
people often without careful questions and with expressions of
hatred instead. Reason is out. Dissent is seen as unpatriotic.
To ask simple a question, like, "Why are we hated so?"
cannot be asked. Justice has become confused with killing so that
the more we kill in retribution, and the sooner, the more justice
we are said to receive, and the safer we shall become. But such
justice delivers only Hatred--theirs and ours--and leaves us more
vulnerable to those who will hate us still more.
Let us now go forward to that time when the body
count is over. We can see their dead and ours lined in long rows,
the parts of the bodies in terrible heaps, the mangled and limbless
children, the weeping, the wounded and the wretched. The world
is drowning in tears. But in this horrid conflagration we have
not won, because freedom, which was once our life blood, has been
drained from us as part of the price of the war.
No longer can we trust our neighbors. No longer
can we wander safely from our own borders, nor move within them
without fear. Our Constitution is only a memory on faded parchment.
We can not speak freely for fear we will be hated. Our civil liberties,
once guaranteed under that blessed document, have given way to
the exigencies of this struggle. The police have demanded that
they be given more power, that they be permitted to tap our phones
and search our homes without warrants. We have become prisoners
with electronic tattoos. Reacting to our fear we have embraced
the police who have promised to keep us safe. But we are no longer
safe from them. We have been stripped of our rights and stand
naked and helpless before them. Our lawyers, once warriors for
the people, can no longer speak out for us. Their tools of justice,
our constitutional rights, have been confiscated so that they
stand impotent and whining. And the courts turn their heads. We
have become locked within our self-constructed prisons on the
promise that we will be safe there. But we are no longer safe
from the police in this new police state--a nation still called
That blessed ideal fundamental to any free nation--the
rule of law--can no longer be heard through the racket of our
rage. America, once founded on the rule of law, has already committed
to sacrifice the rule of law for its security. The terrible need
of Power to grasp more power is never satiated. Hatred also hates
freedom and despises the rule of law. And once the rule of law
has been forfeited, like an arm severed, like a leg amputated,
like a soul stripped of its sense of humanity, it can never again
be called upon to protect a free people.
The goal of a free nation is to reveal by example
the enlightened possibilities of the human race, not to wield
its power of destruction and death over the helpless, the poor,
the starving and the war torn masses. The goal of a free nation
must be no different outside its borders than within them. In
America we do not massacre whole towns because they may be the
chosen domicile of a criminal or a conspiracy of criminals. Instead
we carefully root out the felons and bring them to justice. In
the same way, the goal of a free nation must be to first view
all people as members of the human race, and, as such, to insist
that they possess fundamental human rights. They are, as we, citizens
of the world.
The rule of law shows us the way. Those who have
committed these atrocities and those who aided and abetted them
must be positively identified and brought to justice. Despite
their crimes of horror they must be surrounded with all of the
rights to which any citizen of the world is entitled. If we ask
the rest of the world to join us in this war, our request must
not be that they join us in the madness of killing, in the eternal
seeding of hatred, but that they join us in our quest for justice
under the rule of law. The venue for such trials must be a special
international tribunal, for the crimes were not against us alone
but against the entire world, against the human race.
If we are, indeed, to remain a free nation, the
people, at last, must wield their final power over Power. We,
the people, must ensure that unleashed Power, this enraged giant,
does not, itself, become the most proficient, the most hideous,
the most gargantuan terrorist in the history of mankind and thereby
plant a crop that bears an eternal fruit of Hatred.
We cannot be asked to love those who have wrought
such pain and death on so many innocent people. Such love is beyond
the capacity of the human organism. But we are able to love our
system based on the rational, just, rule of law. And, we are able,
through the love of it, not to further nourish Hatred, but instead
to accept the greatest of challenges, and, indeed, the greatest
of opportunities that have ever been tendered a free nation--to
teach the world by our example, to hold Power tightly to the rein,
and at last to lead the world toward a day when we shall be free
from fear and terrorism by embracing, yes, cherishing the rule
of law. It is the majesty of the rule of law that underlies the
Constitution of the United States. With it we can lead the world
to freedom. Without it we are doomed to the endless pain and destruction
that an unleashed Hatred will forever wage upon us. In a sane
world, we can never surrender to Hatred.