Women in Literature

Start Free Trial

What parallels can be drawn between Chi Li's views and America's stance on the war on terror, particularly in Iraq and Iran?

"After finding the skeletons of the girls the serpent had eaten, Chi Li said, "Poor girls! The monster conquered you because you were too timid to put up a fight."

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

This applies to the official American view on fighting the war against terrorism in at least one way, perhaps others. The Presidential position was that if America does not engage in a war against terrorists and terrorist groups, then America is like the timid girls found by Chi Li : Our nation will be "eaten up" by the "monster" of terrorism. While terrorism is a monster, and while the innocent or victimized must take action to defend themselves, some have strong doubts about how Government chose to go about defensive and protective action. Yet all agree that being timid ones who are reduced to skeletal form through cowering inaction is not acceptable.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Americans wanted to nip the terrorists in the bud with the war in Iraq. I think Chi Li would have appreciated this. After all, we were scorching the snake but not killing it. Most of the terrorists were not actually in Iraq, they were in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I would imagine that in terms of the quotation by Chi Li, one's destruction is brought about by one's failure to act or fight back. Had the girls that were eaten by the snake found a way to fight it, even overcome the serpent, perhaps one or two might have died, but the others would have survived in killing the serpent.

In terms of Iraq and Iran, if we apply what Chi Li writes, we might assume that he would require that instead of being fearful and giving up to be vanquished, Americans would have to take steps to protect themselves rather than falling prey to potential enemies.

In Iraq, it was important to ascertain whether there were, indeed, weapons of mass destruction. Had the Iraqi goverment had these kinds of weapons, the chance of nuclear warfare was much higher. Waiting for something to happen would be like the girls hesitating rather than subduing and/or killing the dangerous serpent.

Polls of U.S. citizens also had similar concerns about Iran and its suspected building of nuclear weapons:

...it was more important to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, even if it means taking military action than to avoid military conflict.

In both situations, Chi Li would suggest a more offensive move than a defensive move, joining to overcome a threat and be proactive: with a better chance for survival and less chance for victimization.




See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial