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  A New American Hero
by Steven D. Laib, J.D. M.S.
20 October 2002

Perhaps the U.S. should look to Lina Inverse of Japanese anime for inspiration in our fight against terrorism.

Once upon a time there was a great nation which was successful and prosperous beyond all of the others in the world. This nation was not the largest, or the most powerful when it began, but it had people who believed in themselves, were willing to work hard and who knew what they wanted. When they needed to they were willing to fight for what was right. When the world needed something new they found a way to invent it, and when someone else needed help they were frequently there to provide it. Their strength, intelligence, self reliance, fortitude and charity all contributed to their success. As this nation grew it became a beacon to the rest of the world, showing how to freedom and prosperity can be created.

Unfortunately, not everyone believed that freedom and prosperity were good things. In fact, not everyone who lived in this nation believed it. Eventually, these people attacked this nation saying that because other nations did not have the same freedom this nation had to give it up as well. Some refused to fight for freedom and others began to spread the idea that despite its long record as a champion of what was right this nation was really evil. They began to envision ways to see this nation destroyed and a few even tried to bring such destruction about. Many leaders of this nation became confused, and did not know which way to turn for solutions. Some decided to go along with the critics because they were very vocal and seemed to attract a large audience. Others tried to appease the critics while trying at the same time to build a new future based on old principles. It wasn’t clear if this would work, but it seemed to be the best they could do because that were unable to find a better solution. A third group believed that they should fight back, but because fighting was not popular, they faced a very hard path to getting their way.

This nation is, of course, the United States of America; a nation which was never ashamed of its success until just recently, and which never really had any reason to feel ashamed. Many problems facing America are, in many ways, the result of criticism which is cast on the American success story by those who are jealous, angry because they don’t have everything they want. Then there are others who can’t bear the fact that their heroic Soviet Union could not defeat the decadent USA. Since many Americans don’t know how to effectively deal with this kind of criticism, they become disoriented. They need to find a new direction. Often a new direction can best be found when a new and valiant figure appears to throw off past doubts and stimulate a new heroic vision. That hero can and should be the one and only Lina Inverse.

It is likely that not everyone is familiar with Lina, who isn’t a real person. Devotees of Japanese animated cartoons (Japanime or anime) will know her as the self described “beautiful and brilliant young sorcery genius.” She is young, reasonably attractive, always self assured, and never allows anyone else to take top billing. While she is a bit greedy and has terrible table manners, she generally earns her money by doing services for others or by getting rid of thieves and taking a share of their loot for her efforts. When anyone else gets out of hand, she generally has one very effective solution: Ready, Aim, Fireball … BOOM!!! Problem solved. And she doesn’t wait for United Nations approval, either. For really serious cases she may resort to the infamous “Dragon Slave”; the magical equivalent of a thermonuclear explosion which is guaranteed to leave a massive crater along with the smoking remains of its target. I can just imagine what she would do to an uppity Saddam Hussein. Generally speaking, no one, but no one messes with Lina or at least, not for very long.

Now why should America look to Lina Inverse for inspiration you might ask? The answer is really pretty simple. Ever since the end of World War II many civilized people have grown progressively doubtful about the use of political violence such as, for example, war. Even many Americans have become enamored of peace at any price. The trouble is that many less civilized people believe that violence is the best solution, which brings us to a serious problem. Take, for example, Osama Bin Laden. America’s leaders would love to get his attention sufficiently to get him to cease his terrorist ways. However, because Bin Laden’s preferred means of communication is to kill people, in order to get him to listen we might just have to blow his head off. Some people are just like that.

Now don’t get me wrong. Violence is not and should never be the preferred means of solving a problem. Even Lina knows that you should try to think your way out of a difficult scrape. She will try to negotiate when possible, not that everyone is willing to negotiate. When she can get results without fighting she will do it, just as most Americans would prefer. It doesn’t always work because her world is filled with barbaric people. Sometimes ours is as well. As a result, we must be willing to use whatever tool will work best, and if we have to resort to war, then so be it. If someone else doesn’t approve, then we must resolve that it is their problem, not ours. Eventually they will probably have to offer grudging thanks when it is discovered that our actions saved their butts, as well as our own. One might think, for example that the French would have learned from the Algerians blowing up bombs in the Paris subway a few years back, or the Germans from what happened at the Munich Olympics. Somehow, they didn’t. Maybe the nightclub bombing in Bali will help wake them up.

Meanwhile, the destruction of the World Trade Center Towers must be our wake up call. No one who threatens the people of the United States should consider him or herself safe from a pre-emptive attack. Like Lina, we have tried to reason with these people. They simply won’t listen. Since civilized methods don’t work, we must use their methods against them. This should be further lesson to us all. We must be ever vigilant to protect our people, property and national interests from others who bear some grudge, justified or not. If we must be the world’s policeman, so be it. It will bring its own rewards in time.

If we follow this simple approach, like Lina, we can say: When monsters rampage I’ll be there to take them down. When treasure glitters I’ll be there to claim it. When enemies rise to face me Victory will be MINE!!!” Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

Email Steven D. Laib