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How We Lost the War on Terrorism

by Vince Bushell

As the bombs fall on Iraq and the tanks roll on, the future of Saddam and his party appears to be ending in flames. Saddam, like many Arabs, is resentful of U.S. power and influence in the Middle East. He tried to use belligerent statements and the threat of poison to scare the U.S. away. He will be gone and possibly soon forgotten on the world stage. But the war has little to do with this one man. This conflict, according to President Bush, has something to do with the war on terrorism. The war on terrorism has become the overriding justification for a list of sins. Terrorism has allowed us to define the enemy with the broadest of brushes. She could be my elderly, legally blind neighbor being diligently searched before being allowed into a federal building. They could be the school kids with their backpacks at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. The terrorist threat is so pervasive that we must alter our lives in the vain pursuit of a no-risk life. Despite the fact that the risk of a terrorist attack is slim in most of the U.S., we act as if there is a bomb in every purse or package or under my belt. It is: Code Red, Code Orange, Code Stupid. By institutionalizing fear we have made it insurmountable. This war on Iraq has brought a chill to the souls of many citizens. They fear the unknown and the random acts of violence that have been carried out by zealot martyrs with blood as their goal. The possible threat divides people into two camps: wage war to eliminate the threat, or use our power and influence to persuade our enemies in a peaceful manner to change their behavior. One is clear cut and easy to understand . One is complicated and requires diplomacy. Diplomacy does not seem to be a skill held in high esteem by the present administration. Because of that we have made much of the world distrustful of us. We have diminished the role of the United Nations. By going it alone and acting all-powerful and disdainful of other nations, we have hurt our ability to deal with future problems and increased the negative opinion of those allied against our way of life. Maybe President Bush has the support of most Americans as the polls say, but there are worldwide demonstrations against our country and this war in Iraq. This war is about power, religion, and oil. We have weapons of mass destruction and they want them. God help us all on the religious issues. We use incredible amounts of oil to support our car-centered lifestyles, and we want to have stable governments in the Middle East that we can manipulate. Still, President George W. Bush did not ask us to lower our petroleum use, and thus the influence middle eastern oil rich countries have on our lives. He voted against standards that would require better fuel efficiency for all cars and trucks. How is that patriotic? The Kyoto accords, to protect our earth from damaging emissions of combustion gases, were rejected by the U.S. There is no salvation in waste, and we are a wasteful nation. Why are not implement policies that would make the rest of the world believe we are good global citizens? Why are we not working to make the rest of the world not hate us? Why are we dismissing the U.N.? We may win the war on Iraq, but at what cost? Until I can walk up the steps of the Capitol in Washington D.C. without fear and without x-ray inspection, we will have lost the war on terrorism, for the terrorists’ goal is to breed fear in our country. Riverwest Currents – Volume 2 – Issue 4 – April 2003