Intervention - Iraq, Afghanistan, Somebody Stop This Crazy ThingWritten by grailking
American foreign policy reminds me of the meddling busybody in a TV sitcom who never ceases to try the wildest schemes to play matchmaker to a mis-matched couple, or goes off half-cocked in reaction to a partial conversation overheard, or tries to manipulate other characters for their own ends.
We can't honestly believe this dim-witted character can honestly think that THIS time his/her plan will succeed in the face of so many disastrous failures in the past, but we are willing to suspend our disbelief for the sake of the joke.
It's time to snap out of our fantasy world and act in accordance with the world as it exists. What we need is an intervention to stop OUR interventions. They NEVER work, and the payoff isn't a joke, it's a tragedy. Even the highest minded goals of encouraging democracy and free elections in faraway lands wind up with the native populations electing the terrorists, Maoists, or religious zealots we're trying to quash.
What wonders could we work with the blood and treasure we've expended on outright counter-productive meddling overseas? Clean energy? A cure for cancer? Sustainable agriculture? Health care for all? A college education or vocational training for every youth in America?
Had we successfully implemented even a couple of these worthy objectives, we might have some moral position from which to preach, but we have not. It's time to withdraw from failed entanglements and spend some time working on removing the log in our own eye, rather than correcting the vision of people we don't understand and who don't feel the need for an optometrist.
I know there are people out there who earnestly believe we have to "fight them over there to keep from fighting them over here", but the slightest bit of serious thought reveals the absurdity of this position.
We are basically occupying two countries, Iraq and Afghanistan, in reaction to 19 suicidal religious nuts who killed about 3000 Americans. I would suggest that you could find 19 weak-willed, malleable souls on the campus of any large university here in the US that could be manipulated to go on suicide missions. Should we have soldiers stationed everywhere there are people susceptible to brainwashing?
Further, 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis, as is their leader, Osama bin Laden. Using GW Bush logic, shouldn't we be attacking Saudi Arabia instead of Iraq and Afghanistan, or at least in addition?
As of this writing there have been over 5,000 US troop fatalities and a range of civilian fatalities in Iraq and Afghanistan totaling over 100,000 by the lowest estimates and over 1 million at the high end. How stupid is it to lose more citizens in retaliation that in the original terrorist attack that prompted it? It's like swatting a mosquito on your forehead with a hammer - the mosquito might get hit, or maybe it gets away, but you're never quite the same.
What about supporting the troops who are fighting to keep us free? The sacrifices of the troops and their families are tremendous and they are to be congratulated on their patriotism - it far exceeds that of the politicians that deploy them. But the most supportive thing we can do is bring them home - NOW!
Nobody in their right mind has ever imagined the Arabs were ever coming to invade us and steal our liberties and enslave our women in their harems. We are losing more freedoms from our protracted involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan and the compromises to our civil rights to privacy that has resulted from an isolated terrorist attack, however terrible it might have been. I'm sure someone might be able to point out something worthwhile that our troops are protecting, but there's no way it's our individual liberties and FREEDOM.
Nobody under 50 can remember a war that was legitimately fought to protect the homeland and our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
War is a term that is thrown about very loosely and with tragic results. During most of human civilization, war was between two or more officially recognized GOVERNMENTS. There was a clear purpose (acquisition of additional land/resources usually, even though the stated purpose might be for religious reasons, or to avenge some affront to a nation's pride), there were uniformed soldiers, and there was a nominal head of the opposition that could surrender on behalf of his side of the conflict and bring it to a clear end.
Where is the person or government that we want to capitulate and what are our terms of surrender if we ever find them?
I suggest the term war should only be used referring to armed conflicts between governments and not vaguely defined anti-terrorism actions or efforts to correct societal ills, such as the war on drugs, the war on crime, the war on "your pet peeve here". If we are going to insist on using such misleading and imprecise language, could we at least declare war on wars without an opposition government that can surrender (so we'll know when we can stop and go home) and initiate an intervention on our misguided interventions?
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Thought for the Day
Ralph Waldo Emerson
American Poet, Essayist