Camus' Plague popped into my head this morning as I listened to the disheartening news coming from Iraq and Gaza. How easy it was to fight rats! No one understood that better than Camus whose book was supposedly written about the Nazis. But, then, Nazis, unlike rats, are human beings with families who could be even charming and generate pity. Racists and anti-Semites are not the only ones attracted to holocaust denial, pacifists and humanists are too. They, like Camus,do not like the moral difficulties which are inherent in fighting human evil.
Just compare the amount of attention human rights advocates pay to the fight on AIDS to the attention they pay to the Internecine wars devastating Sudan and Nigeria. Both are in Africa. Both are devastating but one is much easier to deal with morally than the other. Bacteria are such easy enemies. So despite the fact that the treatment can be brutal, doctors do make mistakes and patients do die, those who fight the good fight get a pass.
The sole complaint against those fighting AIDS is that they are not doing so aggressively enough. The opposite is often true in the war on human evil. There, the complaint is that the war is pursued too aggressively and with imperfect means.
Let me make it clear, I do not ask for a carte blanche for those fighting the good fight. It is imperative to make sure that the collateral damage is as small as possible. I merely ask for a some forgiveness, understanding and a realization that doing too little is just as damaging as doing too much. For terrorism is a global cancer. Iraq and Gaza are amongst its major centers and unless it is subjected to radical cure during this summer of our discontent, it will consume us all.