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Published:March 8th, 2007 07:30 EST
The Ultimate Catch-22

The Ultimate Catch-22

By Gerald Alann

Even with you sitting beside me, right here, right now, I can prove that you are not. I need only to ask the right questions: “Are you aboard a B-2 Bomber, flying 20 feet above the deck, inverted, and brewing sun-tea in a coffee maker?” No! “Are you on your way to rob a bank using freshly rolled-up paper wads and a straw— to avoid the metal detectors?” No, you are somewhere else, right? “If you are somewhere else, how can you be here?”

CATCH-22 is a predicament from which it is impossible to extricate oneself using logic because of built-in illogical rules and regulations. According to CATCH-22, a novel (1961) by Joseph Heller, it is the logic that entraps a pilot who tries to get himself grounded by being pronounced insane, but is told that only an insane person would want to fly, and his desire not to fly proves that he is, in fact, quite sane, and so must continue to fly.

In his comedy routines, Foster Brooks used to say, “My wife got to thinking one day… well… I think that is the day she was thinking!” Today, I am thinking, “What could possibly qualify as the ultimate CATCH-22?”

Not everything you read is true. Gleaned from today’s headlines, the internet, and a little imagination, this is an exercise designed explicitly to help us think— deeply— about where we have arrived as a society. Is this the ultimate CATCH-22:

A citizen of the United States perpetrates some particularly heinous crimes against numerous women and children; is convicted of those crimes in a court of law; and is subsequently sentenced to death. Escaping on the way to prison, he flees to a country that refuses to extradite to the USA anyone facing the death penalty. There, he is caught by another US citizen, a Bounty Hunter by legal profession, who apprehends him with the help and collaboration of that country’s local Police.

However, the Police, through a misinterpretation and misapplication of their own laws, give the Bounty Hunter technically bad information and stop him at the airport before he can board a plane, bound for America with the handcuffed convict in tow. Commanding him to release the convict, they arrest him!

Yes, my head is spinning, too!

The Bounty Hunter takes care of legal arrangements by hiring an in-country lawyer, pays the court fines— and restitution to the murderer— and is then told by the court that he is free to leave the country. He does. But wait! A higher court in that country, claiming the lower court was wrong in letting the Bounty Hunter leave, later demands that the United States return the otherwise law-abiding US citizen to face new charges.

Is the Bounty Hunter’s family in a CATCH-22, perhaps even guilty of aiding and abetting a criminal, if they choose not to turn him in? By today’s standards, the short answer seems to be, They are Americans!  They are all guilty!”

A search of this shocking headline from, “Saudi Court Sentences Gang-rape Victim to 90 Lashes,” leads to The Jerusalem Post. “The court heard that the victim and her friend were followed by the assailants to their car, kidnapped and taken to a remote farm, where the raping occurred…” because she was in a car with a man to whom she was not married. So the court sentences her to 90 lashes of the whip “…because she was alone in a car with a man to whom she was not married.” Her male friend was also sentenced to 90 lashes for “…being alone with her in the car.”

Four others, all married, were sentenced respectively to “…five years and 1,000 lashes, four years and 800 lashes, four years and 350 lashes, and one year and 80 lashes.” Two men have evaded capture, and “…another married man who was stated to have filmed the rape on his mobile phone still faces investigation. Lesson learned: When in a Muslim-controlled country, never run to your car when being chased; and never— absolutely never— record gang-rapes!

When a Muslim leader states flatly, “…the world’s religions are at war…,” the first thought that comes to mind is, “Who is at war with whom?” Christianity is not at war with Islam… Judaism is not at war with Christianity… Christianity is not at war with Judaism… and Judaism is not at war with Islam.

Wait a second! Islam is at war with Christianity… Islam is at war with Judaism… Islam is at war with every religion and person on the planet. In fact, Islam is at war with Islam! All while we are being told, “Islam is a religion of peace!” According to their logic,  we are not at war with them; they are at war with us. Therefore, “…the world’s religions are at war…”

Islamic fatwa’s— legal pronouncements made by a mufti, a scholar capable of issuing judgments on Sharia (Islamic law)— say, “…suicide bombings are permissible so long as they are not against Muslims…”, “…except, they are permissible so long as the Muslims killed are bad Muslims…” (my emphasis).

Additionally, “…suicide bombings are not permissible inside nations that have Muslim governments…”, “…except, they are permissible inside nations that have been labeled as having bad Muslim governments…” (my emphasis). These are, for example and according to them, “…ones that allow American soldiers on their soil…”

This begs a number of questions: Does one only know for sure they are bad after being dragged from their home, tortured and killed? Can one become good between the dragging and the killing? Can one only tell whom the good ones are by who is doing the dragging?

Furthermore, If a bad Muslim labels someone as bad, is that not good? How do Muslims know they are good? Can they be good one day and bad the next; or good in the morning and bad by evening? If they are bad, to whom do they go to be— or not to be— pronounced good? Must every Muslim in the world check in with someone each day to have themselves certified as good?

Who gets to label whom? As best I can tell, any Muslim, good or bad, may label anyone as bad:  non-Muslims, fellow-Muslims, fellow-Muslim governments, non-Muslim governments— anyone they choose, no matter who they are or in what land they live. According to them, if you’re not a good Muslim, you deserve to die; and it is every Muslim’s duty to kill you! It is that simple.

Muslims are also justifying the killing of good, innocent Muslims who happen to be standing nearby during a suicide bombing by saying that, when the good suicide killer enters paradise, their blood atones for the now dead good, innocent Muslims and pays for their entrance into paradise, as well!

This is where my head starts spinning off my shoulders... euphemistically speaking, of course— not like Nick Berg’s! We cannot label them. That is the rule— well, their rule. Incidentally, liberals may label whomever they choose, as well— that is their rule! I wonder who is responsible for labeling which crimes as hate; who is qualified to determine the intent of the heart; who gets to play 'Thought Police'; and, who exactly are the 'politically correct' ones?

Help me get this straight: they want to kill us— but we do not want to die! What are we to do? Using the logic, “The best defense is a great offense,” we should just kill them before they kill us, right?


Do you remember all the laws our nation passed in recent years making it illegal to burn down churches, to discriminate against religion, and to commit hate crimes? Killing them before they kill us only allows them to take us to court, have us charged and convicted of murder with religious prejudice, and legally put us to death!

Muslims, the world over, are permitted to kill anyone and everyone they choose because their Islamic law, and their God, authorizes them to do so— with impunity, and with their government’s and their God’s blessing— because their law is their religion and their religion is their law.

However, we cannot kill them! If we do, they will simply use our capital punishment laws against us for committing murderous hate crimes, and have our own government put us to death! Therefore, according to their logic:

“The most honorable thing we can do is… allow them to kill us first!” After all, it is the law— well, their law! Is that not the ultimate CATCH-22?

Unfortunately, there are those who will think, “How absurd— who would brew sun-tea in a coffee maker?”