A MODEST PROPOSAL TO END THE WAR ON TERROR
I never served in the military and make no claim that I know how to run a war. So it is probably a good thing that I am not planning to start one anytime soon.
However, a frightening reality is beginning to set in. Based on all the objective evidence available, those in charge of our "war on terror" know even less about running a war than I do!
Somehow the, "Whoops, sorry we were stupid enough to believe the CIA," just doesn't cut it. At worst, we have loosed principalities and powers that would have been best left alone.
With that in mind, here are a few suggestions.
It was folly to declare war on something as vague as "terror." A declaration of war should be reserved for an enemy we can actually identify, not some mysterious, shady group of wandering madmen. When my dad and the crew of his B-17 flew over Germany in 1944, they knew exactly whom they were getting ready to bomb into rubble, and they knew exactly why they were risking their necks to do so.
If we cannot even identify the enemy we are warring against, how will we know when we have won? Unfortunately, that may be just the point, because it does not appear that the perpetrators of this war really want it to end. It looks like someone may enjoy being a "War President" just a little too much.
We are not even fighting the real terrorists any longer, but instead are fighting people who had nothing to do with terror.
We were attacked on 9/11 by suicidal maniacs, who for the most part, were from Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. In the immediate aftermath of the attack, it looked as if we almost knew what we were doing. We demanded that Afghanistan hand over Osama and the al Qaeda leaders who had claimed responsibility for the attacks. When they refused, we went in to get them. So far, so good.
But before that job was finished, and while Osama was still mocking us from whatever cave he had crawled into, we sent a couple of hundred thousand soldiers into Iraq - a country, which everyone now admits, had nothing to do with 9/11 and posed no danger to us.
So, are we fighting a war on terror, or is this a war on dictators we happen to dislike? (Or just the dictators who happen not have an army?)
One of the (many) great fictions Bush has repeatedly told us is that our sons and daughters are dying in Iraq "fighting for our freedom." What a cruel joke that one has become. The war in Iraq has nothing to do with our freedom!
How could an aging despot from a tiny desert nation 8,000 miles away have ever endangered our freedom? Heck, what could Saddam possibly have done to us that hasn't already been done to us by our own government?
Why "They" Hate Us
Before we can even begin to think about a solution to the terror threat, we need to understand that the "They hate us because we are free" legend is a propaganda myth conjured up by the ruling warmongers that have overtaken our country.
Because that is not what those who live in the lands we occupy have been saying. "They" have been very clear. They hate us because we poke around in their business and we occupy their lands. They do not want our phony version of "freedom" and they do not want a Constitution that we ourselves so openly despise.
Until we can shake loose the belief that this conflict is all about the "greatness and freedom of America," we have no hope of ending this war.
Instead, we are at a much higher risk of terror attacks precisely because we are occupying the lands of our enemies! Peace through occupation is not a very sound long-term strategy. It is an even worse strategy when those who live in lands we occupy consider it an honor to die while trying to kill us.
Take a moment to look at a very revealing Department of Defense website. (Notice it is not called the Department of Offense) The site lists all the strange places in the world in which some of our finest young men and women have been left to rot. You can find it at [Link]
Did you know that out of the 193 countries in the world, we have American soldiers stationed in 140 of them? Not just a few soldiers, either. Our "peacetime" troop strength in those 140 countries is over 250,000 strong. Add in the 140,000 we have getting shot up in the Iraqi desert, along with the 150,000 that are floating aboard various warships, and the magnitude of the problem begins to become apparent.
Just a few of the highlights from some of the very strange places we occupy: We have 41,000 troops still stationed in Korea - 50 years after that war ended! We have 75,000 troops stationed in Germany and 40,000 in Japan, former enemies we defeated almost 60 years ago! We have 10,000 stranded in Afghanistan, 13,000 in Italy, 11,000 in England, 3,000 in Qatar, 2,000 in Iceland, 1,000 in Saudi Arabia, 600 in Australia, 400 in Honduras, 400 in Egypt, and 500 in Djibouti. (What on earth could possibly interest us in Djibouti?)
We have become something we would never tolerate from any other power. We have become an imperialistic, world dominating force.
Here's a novel idea. Let's obey the law. Since our law (the Constitution) grants the federal government absolutely NO authority to station our soldiers inside a single one of the countries listed on the DoD (or DoO!) website, let's pull every one of them out. Immediately!
Let's pull them out of Germany, Japan and Korea. Let's pull them out of the rest of the 135 countries as well. All of them! Pull out all their equipment, close the bases and sell off or give away everything that is not worth hauling home. Bring them all home and let them guard our own borders, which are in serious peril!
Then, let's come to grips with the reality that our invasion of Iraq was a terrible blunder. We should hang our heads low in front of the puppet government we set up in Baghdad and humbly beg their forgiveness. We should slip them a blank piece of paper and tell them to write down a number - the number representing the amount of money it is going to cost us to pay for all for all the things we broke and all the people we killed.
As soon as we have written that check, we need to get every one of our 140,000 precious sons and daughters out of Iraq - right away! Let them return home and protect their own country instead of someone else's. Close every single foreign base! Every one of them - from whatever nook and cranny we have squirreled away men and equipment.
Saddam is out of power, and whatever imagined threat he posed is long gone. We have captured or killed many of the al Qaeda leadership leaving that terrorist group severely crippled. Despite all the Mickey Mouse "terror" threat warnings, we have not been hit in almost three years.
After all our soldiers are back home where they belong, and after they have secured our own borders…
Let's mark the "war on terror" down as a win.
We can then begin the healing process and listen to some of the insightful wisdom given to us by our founders. Such as,
"Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none." -- Thomas Jefferson
After we have committed ourselves to peace, commerce and honest friendship, let's try something we have not tried in a very long time. Let's treat the rest of the world the same way we would like to be treated - which is to live in peace without foreign invading forces telling us what to do.
We might just find out that they do not "hate us because we are free," but like most of us, they simply want to be left alone.
© 2004 David Brownlow - All Rights Reserved
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Dave Brownlow, an engineer, has been designing and selling industrial automation control systems since 1979. He lives in Clackamas OR with his wife Suzanne and their four children. Active in the pro-life movement and conservative politics for over 20 years, David ran for US Congress in the 3rd District of Oregon in 2002 on the Constitution Party ticket. He has announced his plans to run again in 2004. His Web-Site www.davebrownlow.com E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
It was folly to declare war on something as vague as "terror." A declaration of war should be reserved for an enemy we can actually identify, not some mysterious, shady group of wandering madmen.