From Webster 1913
Unilateral: 1. Being on one side only; affecting but one side; one-sided.
Unilateral contract Law, a contract or engagement requiring future action only by one party.
So what does this really mean? Unilateral. In the last 2 months all I've heard is that we're going to "unilaterally strike" if Iraq doesn't disarm. Or we're going to "take decisive action" and if it must be, it will be "unilateral." We talk about this like we talk about sinking our little brother's battleship, or read it aloud like it was part of the script to the newest "Mega-Summer-Blockbuster."
We're totally detached. We can fight a war from a computer console, so why not pick a fight? No one I know is going to die...
Pardon me, but that's bullshit. Unilateral, prior to perversion by political rhetoric, meant something really affecting just one side of the equation. "Future action by one party," as Webster 1913 would offer as an example for Unilateral contract law, isn't the case either. Look, if we drop 1,000 pound bombs, do you think there will be a net effect of getting one guy to give up, and everyone else can go about their day like you and I do on the streets of the most powerful nations in the world? No. There will be death, starvation, suffering, and pain. Oh, wait, that's ok. Not in my backyard. There is nothing unilateral about 1000 pound bombs.
From the Wall Street Journal, Dec. 4th 2001: "Defense officials say they don't know how many enemy soldiers the U.S. is killing from the air or how many civilians have died when American bombs went astray." That's just these "routine" bombings we've been doing. But we don't see what happens. We see green grass on our yards, grocery stores packed with fresh produce, and how nice the neighbors new BMW is.
So we go on, throwing this term around, and telling our buddies at work about the football game and "Oh ya, we're gonna really blow that place up."
This isn't at all unilateral. This really shouldn't even be political. When we talk about the affect of our actions, it might start on one side, but it by no means falls into the category of "affecting but one side." Where do we get off saying this? If we are the catalyst for thousands of deaths, how can we look ourselves in the mirror and say we're doing OK. Have you looked at any of the estimates for civilian casualties from the Gulf War (TM). And we didn't even go into Baghdad. Imagine that.
It all comes from the fact that we're disconnected and our abstention from understanding the consequences of the actions our country takes on every other person in this world is disturbing. It's not the actions of our political affiliation, the "Right Wingers," or the "Bleeding Liberals." People who get hit by a 1,000 pound bomb have no interest in who you and I choose to point the finger at in a show of political hatred and bias. No, they care that they can no longer get food, or clean water. Their kids no longer go to school because that 1,000 pound "laser guided" bomb missed and hit the elementary school. They care that the people dead are the people they knew.
What about the unrest in a region already torn assunder by religious and political violence? 1,000 pound bombs don't make that any better.
Don't you think that we're rushing into something that will affect a lot more people than we've admitted? Have we even thought about what affect this has on the people of a region we have historically never seen eye-to-eye with? Have we even stopped to ask the question:
"What if we're wrong?"
Disclaimer: I know this may seem somewhat political, but notice I used no names, claimed no political victor, and attacked no public personality or figure. I know you can voice your opinion with negative votes, but please, take it open-minded and don't "vote" down party-lines. If you can't say anything nice, please, say nothing at all.
Note: This was written before we got ourselves into this mess...Contrary to the magnificent political punditry, plenty of people saw this coming, and no one has stopped to apologize.