President Bush is enjoying a wave of popularity for being our leader on his “War on Terrorism”. Yes, it’s time for American to get tough, show its courage, not flinch, and stand up for all that is decent and fair, and unilaterally get rid of all terrorists in the world. While we’re add it let’s play patriotic songs and wave the flag a lot. Unfortunately I have bad news: if you thought the War on Drugs was a no win war, you ain’t seen nothing. This “War on Terrorism” cannot be won unless policies are changed. And Bush is racing away from anything resembling that.
The skeptic wonders why we should place all this trust in him in the first place. After September 11th Bush woke up from his foreign policy slumbers. Prior to September 11th he didn’t give much of a damn about foreign policy. He was saying the United States should let the world solve its own problems. There were plenty of intelligence warnings which if taken seriously might haven prevented the events of September 11th. It just wasn’t that important to him. It seemed that nominating ultra conservative judges, passing huge tax cuts and having month long vacations at his ranch were far more important. Trusting him as our commander in chief now is like trusting the captain who ignores the nearby pirate ship until after the pirates have boarded and killed a fair amount of the crew. It’s like trusting your cheating spouse not to cheat again. On what basis should we trust this guy now? The menace was there all along. That fateful day was hardly the first day terrorists have struck in our country. It was just the first day Bush realized it was a damned serious problem. In reality Bush’s failure to prevent the events of September 11th is serious grounds for his removal from office. He failed utterly to protect the nation from its enemies, the very thing he swore solemnly to do when inaugurated. He was asleep at the wheel. This beats getting blowjobs from interns on a scale of at least a thousand.
But on September 12th he turned into our General Patton. He tells us repeatedly that the safety and security of the American people are his top priority. But do you feel safer because of his war on terrorism? I sure don’t. And if it is so important now, why wasn’t it then?
The reason I don’t feel safer is because, as usual, Bush has a knee jerk response instead of a thoughtful and considered response. His war on terrorism is a reaction to a symptom, not a strike at the cause. All the guns and Special Forces in the world won’t stop terrorism. To do that you have to not just stop the terrorists already out there, but you have to prevent those who would become terrorists.
If you are very, very lucky you might be able to stop some terrorist incidents from happening. But the law of averages is working against us. Some more incidents are bound to occur over time. Incidents have happened, just not anything major in the continental United States. As much as we try to tighten them our borders are porous. Even with our superpower status we can’t really control the proliferations of weapons of mass destruction. Greed and capitalism is the ultimate human force. It certainly has kept us from winning the drug war.
If national security were truly his top priority then we need to rethink our policies. Most of these terrorists come out of the Middle East. Most of them come from ruthless puritanical countries we prop up, like Saudi Arabia and Egypt. So here’s an idea: let’s not support these regimes anymore. If our top value is truly democracy let’s put our money where our mouth is. Cut off the money to Egypt until it becomes a real democracy. Take our military might and our bases out of Saudi Arabia until they emerge out of feudalism too and grant human rights to its own women.
But the number one way to prevent more terrorism is even simpler: stop providing aid to Israel. By conservative estimates $3-$4B a year is provided in military aid by our country to Israel every year. If you add special appropriations, grants and loans that never get repaid it is easily in excess of $10B a year. Israel has no incentive to bargain for peace as long as we prop it up. Why give Palestinians their land back and solve a real injustice when Israel can occupy their land with American money indefinitely?
If we were to do these things, disgruntled citizens of Arab states would have to turn their attention on their own governments instead of us. If we were to stop funding Israel’s war machine 75% of the reason of why they hate us would go away.
It’s not that I’m unsympathetic to the notion of Zionism. In a perfect world the Jews should have a safe and secure homeland. However, their homeland was purchased at the cost throwning Palestinians off ancestral homelands they occupied for thousands of years. Zionism has become a weird sort of apartheid, financed by the U.S. Government. How very odd. The same things we condemned in South Africa we celebrate in Israel.
Will my ideas solve terrorism? Probably not entirely. Will they lower the temperature and perhaps get terrorists to shift their targets? This is much more likely. In the process we buy a whole lot more national security that we’ll ever get in this unending, bankrupt policy of having a never ending war on terrorism.
Instead Bush has us marching toward Armageddon. Look at what Israel is dealing with right now. The cost of its war and occupation is unending terrorism. The more they clamp down, the greater their military might, the more they try to sweep legitimate human rights issues under the rug, the more of their own people are killed. Instead of creating a more peaceful world for themselves they instead ensure only a more violent world. Their problem is a political one, not a moral one. The same is true with the United States and our national security.
If we should try to emulate a country, let’s emulate Switzerland. No one is trying to terrorize Switzerland because it is a benign state, offending no one. In 100 years Switzerland will still be around, peaceful, and keeping the world’s banks. Bush’s black and white view of the world means a huge gap exist between his view of the world and the way it actually it. But the world must be changed by dealing with the way it actually is. If you think I am nuts, try feeding your dog plant food and let me know how he does. My email box is always open.