Mr. Obama, tear down this war! You have promised change and the “Global War on Terror” (GWOT) is the worst legacy of the Bush administration. You should denounce it.
Unfortunately, unlike other undeclared pseudo-wars like the Cold War, the war on poverty and the war on drugs, this “war” includes real violence on real people.
Using the “GWOT” as justification, the worst crimes in US history have been committed. These include war against nations which never threatened the US, imprisonment and torture of not only foreigners in large numbers but also US citizens (e.g. Jose Padilla) and unconstitutional domestic surveillance. If these crimes are to stop then their justification must be removed.
There ought to be no problem terminating the “GWOT.” A strategy based on military force has been thoroughly discredited, and it wasn’t even liked by the people who initiated it, but they continued to use it because it was useful against US citizens, to keep them frightened and unified in favor of the government which was busy committing aforesaid crimes.
Former SecDef Donald Rumsfeld:
- ” I guess I don’t think I would have called it the war on terror. I don’t mean to be critical of those who have or did or — and certainly I’ve used the phrase frequently. Why do I say that? I say it because the word “war” conjures up World War II more than it does the Cold War, and it creates a level of expectation of victory and an ending within the 30 or 60 minutes of a soap opera. And it isn’t going to happen that way.
“Furthermore, it’s not a war on terror. Terror is a weapon of choice for extremists who are trying to destabilize regimes and impose their — in the hands of a small group of clerics, their dark vision on all the people that they can control.
“So ‘war on terror’ has a problem for me, and I’ve worked to try to reduce the extent to which that’s used, and increase the extent to which we understand it more as a long war or a struggle or a conflict, not against terrorism but against a relatively small number, but terribly dangerous and lethal, violent extremists.”
and Colin Powell
- “What is the greatest threat facing us now? People will say it’s terrorism. But are there any terrorists in the world who can change the American way of life or our political system? No. Can they knock down a building? Yes. Can they kill somebody? Yes. But can they change us? No. Only we can change ourselves. So what is the great threat we are facing?
“I would approach this differently, in almost Marshall-like terms. What are the great opportunities out there—ones that we can take advantage of? It should not be just about creating alliances to deal with a guy in a cave in Pakistan. It should be about how do we create institutions that keep the world moving down a path of wealth creation, of increasing respect for human rights, creating democratic institutions, and increasing the efficiency and power of market economies? This is perhaps the most effective way to go after terrorists.”
and Henry Kissinger—
- “I don’t like the term “war on terror” because terror is a method, not a political movement.”
and lastly, that stand-up comedian George Bush:
- “They can’t stand the thought of a free society in the midst of a part of the world that’s just desperate for freedom. These people don’t like freedom. You know why? Because it clashes with their ideology. We actually misnamed the war on terror, it ought to be the struggle against ideological extremists who do not believe in free societies who happen to use terror as a weapon to try to shake the conscience of the free world. (Laughter.)
“No, that’s what they do. They use terror to — and they use it effectively, because we’ve got good hearts. We’re people of conscience, they aren’t. They will cut off a person’s head like that, and not even care about it. That’s why I tell you, you can’t talk sense to them. Maybe some think you can, I don’t. I don’t think you can negotiate with them.”
The “GWOT” is not only unpopular with its creators but it has been thoroughly discredited.
A recent RAND report::
- The bad news is that U.S. efforts against al Qa’ida have not been successful. They have now lasted longer than America’s involvement in World War II. Despite some successes against al Qa’ida, the U.S. has not significantly undermined its capabilities. Al Qa’ida has been involved in more attacks in a wider geographical area since September 11, 2001, including in such European capitals as London and Madrid. Its organizational structure has also evolved, making it a dangerous enemy. This means that the U.S. strategy in dealing with al Qa’ida must change. A strategy based on military force has not been effective. Based on al Qa’ida’s organizational structure and modus operandi, only a strategy based on careful police and intelligence work is likely to be effective.
more from the Rand report:
- “Terrorists should be perceived and described as criminals, not holy warriors and our analysis suggests that there is no battlefield solution to terrorism,” said Seth Jones, political scientist and lead author of the study, in recent Congressional testimony.
“The United States has the necessary instruments to defeat al-Qaeda, it just needs to shift its strategy.”
The CIA chief says we have to get smarter:
- “Victory will come, but it will take time and require the kind of focused and sustained national commitment that we saw during the Cold War. Most importantly, it will require a relentless global campaign, joined by those in the Muslim world who are repulsed by al-Qa’ida’s savagery, to expose the terrorists for what they are: peddlers of a hopeless, negative, backward vision of the world….”
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have indeed become the breeding grounds of terrorists, according to a 2005 US report.
- Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the training ground for the next generation of “professionalized” terrorists, according to a report released by the National Intelligence Council, the CIA director’s think tank.
Iraq provides terrorists with “a training ground, a recruitment ground, the opportunity for enhancing technical skills,” said David B. Low, the national intelligence officer for transnational threats. “There is even, under the best scenario, over time, the likelihood that some of the jihadists who are not killed there will, in a sense, go home, wherever home is, and will therefore disperse to various other countries.”
This is not rocket science, it’s simple human behavior. If a mighty nation comes halfway around the world to bomb, imprison and torture you, and you are able to survive, do you simply forgive and forget? Who would?? The result is called “blowback” but it’s really revenge, the same wrongful urge that inspired Americans mindlessly to kill Iraqis and Afghans. Barack Obama, in another setting, got it:
- “They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them . . .”
A key law enforcement official in Great Britain says terrorism is a legal problem, not a military one.
- There is no “war on terror” on the streets of Britain, the country’s most senior criminal prosecutor said yesterday.
Those responsible for atrocities like the July 7 bombings in London were not “soldiers” in a war, but “deluded, narcissistic inadequates” who should be dealt with by the criminal justice system, Sir Ken Macdonald, the Director of Public Prosecutions, added.
He gave warning against allowing the threat of terrorism to trigger a “fear-driven and inappropriate” security response which damaged Britain’s traditions of freedom.
Let’s try to keep the terrorist threat in perspective. What is the risk of injury by terrorists, really, to the average American? Statistically very low, somewhere ‘way below bath-tub slips and lightning strikes, and certainly less than auto accidents, heart disease and cancer. Losing your job and your house isn’t exactly a walk in the park either.
Left unchecked, this “war on terror” is a slippery slope leading to US armed aggression anywhere in the world.
- A country should have the right to attack another if it is harbouring a potential terrorist threat, the U.S. homeland security chief said in remarks appearing to justify recent U.S. raids in Pakistan and Syria.
Laying out what amounts to a broadened definition of self-defence, Michael Chertoff said international law should accommodate a country’s need to deter a possible threat abroad even if it meant taking pre-emptive action.
Mr. Obama, terror means fright. The perverted, criminal US government has used fright as a weapon against us for seven years. Do you intend to copy this policy, to continue the campaign of terror against the American people, or will your election truly bring change?
Mr. Obama, you have promised to close down Gitmo, but that is only a baby step. There are tens of thousands of US troops overseas who have, among other crimes, imprisoned and tortured thousands of foreign citizens. From The Guardian:
- “If the most important single thing that Obama should do quickly is to announce the immediate closure of Guantánamo Bay, the corollary has to be a declaration that the war on terror is over. Accept that terrorism is a technique. It is not an ideology. The west faces no global enemy, no worldwide Islamofascist conspiracy. Foreign crises should be treated on a case-by-case basis. Their roots lie in the complex interplay of local tensions, social grievances, economic inequalities, unemployment, food and water shortages and cultural prejudice that plagues so many countries. If fundamentalists of this ideology or that religion try to exploit that, they only scratch the surface. Don’t hand them the gift of overreaction.”–Jonathan Steele
Mr. Obama, remember what you said.
- “I don’t oppose all wars. . . What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war.”
Mr. Obama, tear down this dumb “war on terror.” Please.
Don Bacon is a retired army officer who founded the Smedley Butler Society several years ago because, as General Butler said, “war is a racket.”