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9/10/2004

War on Terror?

The current administration is, in some convoluted way, trying to make the case that we need to elect them again to keep us safe http://apnews.myway.com/article/20040907/D84V15AG0.html. The odd thing is they are doing this by telling us just how unsafe we are. Tom Ridge regular trots to the podium and tells us that we could be attacked at anytime. Oh sure, we don't have any specific or recent information, but we just wanted to remind you how safe you are with the Bush team in office...even though we are in eminent danger...maybe...look, the point is we are all pretty darn safe...see?

Radical Conservative talking heads are constantly screaming at us that we are fighting World War III so we better get on board. If that is the case I have just a few observations. If this is truly WWIII then we don't have nearly enough active duty troops to fight WWIII in a conventional way. Don't misunderstand, I'm not advocating resuming the draft. My only point is that if we are going to fight a world war, we need more troops. We don't even have enough troops to secure Iraq and still keep a presence in Europe and South Korea. How in the world are we going to fight a world war? I will tell you how, we aren't going to. This administration had and continues to have no plan beyond invading Iraq, taking Saddam out of power and cashing in on the oil. This has nothing to do with a world wide war on terror.

Not only do we have not enough troops and no plan for WWIII, but since the "Great Uniter", George W Bush has alienated virtually the rest of the free world, we also have no diplomatic currency in the international community so that we might build a REAL coalition. The kind needed to fight a world war. So now we have no plans, no troops and no allies in our world wide war on terror.

Now for my final point, and this one will be hard for simplistic thinking Radical Conservatives to follow, but the fact is we simply don't fully understand our enemy in this fight. This is nothing new, we do this all the time. We fought a completely unnecessary war in Viet Nam because we failed to understand that Ho Chi Mihn was a nationalist first and a communist second. He only allied with the communists because they provided a means to his end which was independence for Viet Nam. We, of course, thought that if the evil Red Empire took Viet Nam it was only a matter of time before they where marching down mainstream America. This, of course, was not true but our failure to understand this lead to the needless loss of thousands of American lives.

It doesn't stop there. We also trained and equipped a certain Osama bin Laden while he was fighting those pesky communists, this time in Afghanistan. In our blind hatred of communists we missed the fact that the reason bin Laden was fighting the communists wasn't because he was against the evil of communism, but because he and his followers wanted outsiders out of Muslim countries. We failed to look into the future and see that once the Soviets where gone, the only other foreign presence in the Middle East was...um...the United States. We just never saw it coming.

We seem incapable to seeing differences within the same movement. For years we assumed that Soviet Communism and Chinese Communism where some monolithic monster hell bent on destroying America. This, of course was never true. The two movements had many fundamental differences and the proof is that China is a communist state today and the Soviet Union is long since gone.

Radical conservatives want to paint all Islamic movements with the same brush, just like we did with Communism. They want us to believe that Al Quida has the same goals as the Chechyn rebels and so on. To believe this one would have to believe that if we gave in to Al Quida and left the Arabian Peninsula, that the Chechyn rebels would lay down their guns and simply say "I guess we don't really want independence after all." It also assumes that tactics that will work on terrorists like Abu Masab al-Zarqawi will also work on the likes of Muqtada al-Sader. Zarqawi is simply a terrorist interested only in driving all non-Arabs out of Arab countries. al-Sader, on the other hand, actually wants to have a hand in governing Iraq. Both are equally dangerous to us and our safety both at home and abroad, but both have different goals and need to be dealt with differently. The same, is of course, true of all the separate terror groups around the globe. Each is unique and has it's own goals and will require it's own solution. This administration has already proven itself unable to understand this fact and to deal with it effectively.

So, to recap. As this administration tries to scare everyone into thinking they are safer with Bush in office, they have not enough troops, no support abroad to build a real coalition to fight a worldwide war, no plan to prosecute the war and no real understanding of the enemy. I feel safer already.

The only real way these terrorists are going to go away is if their own people rise up and strike back against them. At present we are trying to make those Islamic people rise up by occupying their counties with armed troops. We already know this won't work, it didn't in Viet Nam and it isn't in Iraq. What needs to be done is to figure out ways to lift these countries out of the stone ages. We need to normalize relations with these countries and allow trade with them, which would provide jobs and money and hope for these people. Once they see for themselves the virtues of democracy in action they will logically follow all on their own. Once they have something to live for they will have less reason to blow themselves up to kill us. We know this will work as well, all you have to do is again look at Viet Nam. Once relations where normalized with Viet Nam and free trade began, prosperity followed and Viet Nam is now, what we always wanted it to be back then. Does anyone remember who led the fight to normalize relations with Viet Nam and finally win that war? Oh that's right, it was John Kerry.

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