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Misunderstanding continues over Prime Minister Chretien’s comments on who is at fault for the actions of bullies and terrorists and whether the US and its allies should encroach upon Iraq without UN sanctions.

With comments connecting the affluence of Western nations to terrorism, P.M. Chretien triggered a flood of debate over what he actually meant. Thank goodness there are those who, rather than political grandstanding and personally attacking the PM, are more interested in debating and addressing the causes of terrorism. 
The PM has been criticized for a CBC interview in which he linked the cause of terrorism to adverse socioeconomic and political conditions, and for blaming the developed countries such as US and Canada for failing to do something about the conditions that fuel terrorism and anarchy. The proposition in the PM’s statement was somewhat unclear, but for political opponents to claim that the PM blames the US for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is simply absurd. These critics bundle the Canadian PM in with those who blame Germany, and Italy for the actions of the Bader-Meinhof group and the Red Brigade, or the US for Timothy McVeigh’s murder of innocent people in Oklahoma, or the state of Israel for suicide bombing. 
Just as there is no justification for blaming the victim for being raped or murdered, there is no justification for terror against democracies and the murdering of innocent people. Blame can only be placed with the anti-democratic, psychopathic bullies behind the terror and their supporters that facilitate and make the bullying and terror possible. It can only be considered ridiculous to believe a PM of a democracy, elected in good democratic order, does not share the same principle. 
This writer shares the PM’s problem of being multilingual and having an accent; sometimes being scorned by people who don’t know better. Perhaps the PM could have been clearer, but for adversaries to take advantage of the bilingual PM’s way of communicating is sheer insolence. Canadian voters should consider whether they want those having the mindset of the PM’s critics in government at all.   
For this writer, the PM’s concern is clear. He recognizes that quality of life, democracy and political stability depend on economic production. The   developed countries and democracies such as the US and Canada have a responsibility to address the socioeconomic and political environment that allows bullies and autocratic regimes to exist.  
History speaks for itself. Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Russia, and today, the long list of autocratic states where ignorance and disparity in opportunities and lack of economic production and distribution of real income are the perfect growing ground for bullies. The same underlying factors create the socio-economic environment that encourages psychopathic bullies and their followers in democratic communities such as Canada and US.   
Gang leaders, drug dealers, pimps, school bullies, government corruption and malfeasance in the private financial and corporate sector, such as Bre-X, WorldCom, Enron, and BC’s Eron Mortgage Corp, are different situations and scale, but the same underlying cause. These are people that lack concern for others and have no guilt about their behavior and the distress they - for their own gain and satisfaction - cause others that are less powerful. What often goes forgotten is that the problem is not the bullies and their followers, it is as Albert Einstein stated:  “The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”   
Assumedly, that is what the Canadian Prime Minister meant. The problem is not the terrorists but the people that don’t do anything about it.  Ending a long career in politics, and with increasing disparities in opportunities at home and abroad, perhaps the Prime Minister is reflecting on what has been left undone.   
There is still a lot to do Mr. Prime Minister. Untied and free from patronage driven politics, why not do something about it within the United Nations -- reform is long overdue!   

October 30, 2002