Saturday, March 17, 2007

Losing the War on Terrorism

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Six months ago, 100 of America's top foreign-policy professionals told Foreign Policy magazine that the United States was losing the war on terrorism. Six months later, the prognosis is even worse:
...surveyed again today, this bipartisan group sees a world that continues to grow more dangerous and a U.S. national security strategy that is failing on several fronts.

Foreign Policy

Some highlights from the report: 80 percent disagree with Bush that the US is winning the "war on terrorism". Some 47 percent see nuclear prolileration to be the greater threat. Eighty-six percent believe the world has become a more dangerous place. Seventy-one percent of those calling themselves "conservative", likewise, believe that the US is losing the war on terrorism.

Just one month after 9/11, FP reports, 4 percent of Americans told an ABC News/Washington Post poll that "...they approved of how the fight against terrorism was being handled." How things have changed! That was before the US invaded Afghanistan, long before the US attacked and invaded Iraq. It's all gone to hell since. Clearly -war was not and is not the solution. War has solved nothing and made things worse.

Foreign Policy published a laundry list of disasters, all of which sour the public mood.

...a bloody war between Israel and Hezbollah, a plot in Britain to explode liquid bombs aboard airliners bound for the United States, North Korea’s nuclear test, a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan, and Iraq’s downward slide into deadly sectarian strife.
Why are Democrats afraid to take on Bush on the "support the troops" issue? Democrats are still trying to walk a thin, narrow line, triangulating a center that has clearly moved to the left.

Nothing is gained by staying in Iraq. It imperils the troops. It does not support them. Troops are best supported by taking them out of the killing fields and, in the process, ending those policies that have created terrorism and opposition where none had been before.

Bush may be but another ideological terrorist but he's a more dangerous one. The militant Ayatollahs, Bin Laden, and numerous anonymous bombers are not so different from Bush, nor he, them. On all sides, "combatants" eschew doubt, when it fact, it should be cultivated. Certitude is the first refuge of idiots.

Monsters from the id are very real. Bush cannot escape the consequences of his ill-conceived policies. Nor can we. Terrorism gets worse by the minute and, by the minute, the American occupation bogs down. Terrorism is said to have increased some seven fold since the conflict on the ground began. [See: The Iraq Effect: War Has Increased Terrorism Sevenfold Worldwide.]

Enough is enough.

Democrats must seize the moral high ground. Democrats must cut off funding for additional troops and additional campaigns. Tacking "social spending" onto the latest funding bill is all fine and good but more must be done. Democrats must tax our way out of the war with a "Victory Over Terror" tax levied on incomes of $5 million a year or more. Levied on all income, it would include stock options, jet plane rides, company-paid-for health and life insurance, retirement programs, golden parachutes, the use of apartments in Paris, cars and drivers.

In the meantime, we all continue to pay a high price for the Bush/Blair follies. Terrorists, we are still told, just hate freedom and, should they win, will rob us of those freedoms. But we are losing those freedoms anyway. To Bush, Blair and similar ilk. Consider the following from George Galloway's web site.
The BBC have banned the hit single 'War', which features a Tony Blair lookalike in the accompanying video, over fears that its pro-peace message will offend the government .

It is bad enough to lose freedom of speech during a real war! But a phony one? I remember when Britain was free. If you doubt the extent to which Blair has subverted Britain's proud heritage, consider yet another item from the Galloway site:
Cable TV Screens go blank as Murdoch and Branson battle for pay-TV market
An excerpt:
While insisting there is "mutual respect" between him and Rupert Murdoch, Sir Richard has made clear his views about the media mogul's role in British public life. Pointing out Mr Murdoch's ownership of four national newspapers and controlling stake in Sky, Sir Richard Branson said: "If you tag on ITV to that as well, basically you've got rid of democracy in this country and we might as well just let Murdoch decide who is going to be our prime minister."
How surreal the recent global market crash seemed --especially its choreographed appearance. We are reminded of the true nature of both globalization and global fascism. Here's a timely excerpt from Mike Whitney`s The Great Dollar Crash of '07: "
The so-called ‘global economic system’ has nothing to do with competition, free markets or private enterprise; that’s just public relations gobbledygook. In practice, it is the world’s biggest extortion racket, wherein, the “Godfather”-- Uncle Sam-- holds a gun to the heads of his subjects and forces them to use our fiat-paper to purchase the oil that lubricates their economies."
I refuse to believe, meanwhile, that Western Civilization will succumb to the new barbarian within, namely Bush and his fascist, global corporate sponsors. That Bush pays only lip service to the Constitution belies his true allegiance: the idea of the global corporation. It is the corporation which has allied itself with older cultures distinctly anti-Western in tone and spirit. Some have called it corporate feudalism. But, for my part, the word fascism does quite nicely. It was Mussolini who defined fascism as corporatism and he did so in both word and deed.

Bertrand Russell stated that Western Civilization was essentially Greek civilization, writing:
"There is no civilization but the Greek in which a philosophic movement goes hand in hand with a scientific tradition. It is this that gives the Greek enterprise its peculiar scope; it is this dual tradition that has shaped the civilization of the West."
Fast fowarding through my own rather lengthy take on this, I have come to the conclusion that there is a certain introspective reflection shot-through the Western tradition. Clearly there is no such self-consciousness in either Christianity or Islam. Significantly, the origin of both religions are both geographically and philosophically outside the "Western" tradition and the civilization of which Russell speaks. The fly in the ointment is the global corporation playing both sides against an amoral middle. It must be pointed out that while Christianity is practiced in the west, its origins are middle eastern. Fundies who demonize the Middle East have apparently forgotten that.

The Greece of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Phidias, Solon, Aristophanes, Sophocles was secular. From time to time in Western society, the fault lines will appear. When Salman Rushdie published his "Satanic Verses", he became the object of a fatwa. Later, when a cartoonist lampooned the "Prophet", the millions who supported the Greek ideal found themselves ill-equipped to defend it against an entire civilization which is outside their own tradition, a tradition so well described by Thomas Jefferson who wrote: "We hold these truths to be self-evident..." I leave it to a detail oriented scholar to trace Jefferson back to Locke, indeed, to Greece. Nor can we conclude that because Socrates lost his battle with the *religious right" that Greece was just another state. The point, rather, is that it was the Greek ideal of free inquiry that survived to shape the west -not the authoritarian, "Eastern" tradition that persecuted Socrates as surely as the Church in Rome would burn Giordano Bruno.

Meanwhile, a new motion picture, 300, has drawn fire from Iran for depicting a hand full of brave Greeks holding off a vast Persian army. I see another analogy. I see a handful of guerrillas holding off what had been the most powerful nation on earth. I see George Washington holding out long enough for the French to win the American "Revolution". I see Gen. Sam Houston attack with but a handful of scrappy "settlers" to defeat a vast Mexican army lead by Gen. Santa Anna of Mexico. (See:' Alamo' touches raw nerve in Mexico; The Battle Of San Jacinto ) In five years, ten years, a generation -what will be said of the US defeat in Iraq?

Some additional resources:
Lie by Lie: The Mother Jones Iraq War Timeline
Bush Has Lost the War on Terrorism
Bush lost the war on terrorism because he dare not win it



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