Friday, August 17, 2007

Blood in the Desert

While I am not a fan of the manner the current administration presents, spins and obfuscates the talking point that "We are fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here", this statement is not as ridiculous or as inaccurate as some in the media are making it seem. Actually the statement just might be one of those uncomfortable truths that most people are only able to accept when they do not question or examine events too deeply.

The fear-meme is at least true in part but not in the way it is usually presented. America did not go to war to stop the march of Terrorism, but rather to divert and provide a new focus for what was already there. Invading Iraq, even though that country's leadership had nothing to do with the 2001 terror attacks in the United States is a tactic that has worked in the past and can be called a diversion of resources. Most recently this was applied in the last few decades in Europe in the form of the Cold War and even the Star Wars program, which nearly bankrupted the Soviet Union in their attempt to keep up. Vast resources were diverted on all sides to play a game of "one step forwards, one step back" in the European theaters, resources that could have been applied more effectively against America in the form of economic and political terror. Britain and other countries worried about their safety and security and America assisted in their efforts against the Red Menace. With the front of the non-battle raging in Europe, Russia was unable to focus entirely on America.

Something similar is currently taking place in Iraq. The invasion and liberation of Iraq has caused the focus of terrorist, criminal and special interest groups to shift their attentions from the stronghold of what they consider to be the enemy to their own backyards. True, by adjusting the troops and re-focusing Intelligence away from Pakistan to Iraq and other countries there has been a resurgence of the terror organizations that were once all but broken and made extinct. This is intended as they are most active and operating in nearby regions far from American shores.

By the Coalition maintaining a threatening presence in Iraq many countries have reaped the benefits of a destabilized region. Resources are diverted to the region and terror activity is on the rise, activity that may have once been directed elsewhere. Unfortunately for our place in history, in this instance maintaining the security of one country comes at the horrible cost of another. While the world itself may have become arguably more dangerous since the start of the Iraq war it is the Coalition members that are, for now, reaping the benefits of sacrificing the people of another nation for their own security under the guise of liberating an oppressed people.

That another country is mired in a war may be a price that many Americans, the UK and others are willing to pay. That some countries are using Iraq in this way does not diminish the sacrifice of the soldiers. They have pledged to fight for the security of their country and that is in fact what they are doing, though many are unable to see it that way. Their sacrifice is not in the least diminished by the questionable judgment and actions of the leadership, who appear too busy lining their pockets and pandering to the gullible to do their job, but their behavior does cast a long, cold shadow over the efforts of the soldiers fighting and dying for the cause.

I, for one, am not willing to "fight them here" at the cost of the lives of my family or those of my neighbors' family. That is my uncomfortable truth and I recognize it for what it is. But rather than admit that is it preferable to let another nation unwillingly make the sacrifice for our peace governments find it is far easier to demonize, marginalize or ridicule the people of the middle east than accept that they are equals as human beings who are perhaps being used most cruelly. Many pundits have and still graphically show or report stoning, beheading and other human rights violations or cultural differences that Americans find horrific, distasteful or savage.

This is done to make it easier for outside cultures to take the moral high ground while simultaneously letting the besieged country remain as a battle ground in war because they are "not us" and are perceived as "primitives". The consensus is that they are no worse off for having the "blip" of civilian casualties because after the crisis they will be better for the struggle. A parallel would be Democracy taking the place of Christianity during the expansionist efforts of the last several centuries, where missionaries smashed and rebuilt from scratch ancient cultures in the centric belief that their society benefited from the forced change. The sad fact is that it was really about control and exploitation, not salvation, and most of the cultures vanished forever, unable or unwilling to adapt.

I'd like to think that the America I grew up in would not lead another country that had not acted as an outright aggressor into ruin to protect our own borders, but it may be that doing so is one of the ugly facts our generation must eventually face. There were similar choices and actions taken in World War 2 that many are just now exploring, questioning and coming to terms with. Hopefully, we will continue to outgrow believing such tactics as being necessary to ensure our own survival and create other solutions to maintain our way of life that do not include bombs and bullets.

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17 comments:

  1. A "diversion of resources" cuts both ways. And with Mr. bin Laden still out and about, I see no reason to believe that the United States of America has come out ahead on that pseudo-strategy. Especially when one considers the very limited resources necessary to conduct an insurgency or a terror campaign. It is highly unlikely that our misadventure in Iraq will so bankrupt violent fundamentalists that they cannot afford some box cutters or a rental truck full of fertilizer.

    -- SCAM

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  2. Of course. But this is big picture kind of tactics.

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  3. I see what you're trying to say, but:

    Somebody breaks into my house by popping the window locks with a screwdriver.

    I do not upgrade my doors and windows. Instead, I search the pockets of all invited visitors, and also the postman, to see if they're carrying screwdrivers. If they are, I confiscate the screwdrivers and lock them in my basement. Also, I set fire to a house three blocks away in the hopes that the robbers will either go loot the smoldering ruins, or turn out to be members of the fire department who are now too busy to rob me.

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  4. I'd say security upgrades are all a a part of it, but you know what? Light a house on fire and watch how many people show up, ignoring the dark homes down the street that are behind tall fences.

    America, even if the war is brought home, is not willing to have battles in the streets (that is what those secret detention camps all over the US are for, putting away Islamics). We are however, willing to bomb another country back to the stone age.

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  5. Mr. Stak,

    The merit of the "lets burn both houses down, maybe theirs will burn first" tactic would be questionable even in the best of circumstances.

    And there can be little doubt that, according to the Pentagon and other sources in the military, our misadventure in Iraq is decaying our military readiness and capacity to project force at an alarming rate and to an alarming degree.

    By starting a fight in hopes that the world's bad actors would show up to do battle, we have disabled our military capacity to an unprecedented degree. We are reducing our capacity to engage militarily, while those who use car bombs, suicide vests, snipers and suicide pilots do not seem to have a much harder time in the world.

    It is past time to stop engaging in wishful and magical thinking about war and security.

    -- SCAM

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  6. Having been kicked out of Saudi Arabia, Iraq is all about creating a semi-stable oasis in the mid-east. We can't invade Pakistan, so Iraq is the next weakest logical choice.

    Our military has always been 'stretched thin' and had readiness hurt in war or peace. In the late 80s we were crippled by a lack of mission and funding, in Vietnam the lack of experienced soldiers. The difference of the two eras being that in the 80s soldiers were not being thrown into them mill wholesale by corrupt officials.

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  7. Even the smallest terror group is funded, under the direction of or is given haven by a larger government. That attention and resources is drawn towards the current hot spot is not the reason for the war, but it is one of the 'benefits'.

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  8. I say let's fight the war at home, let's see if we really are as vulnerable as the administration would have us believe. Personally, I don't believe it for a a fraction of an atomic moment, that we need to fight the "war" abroad to guarantee it stays off our shores.

    But I can see where a well-organized single group of fanatics could be encouraged to set up the bogeyman that would allow us to pursue the current war we're in. The history of the bin Laden and Bush families is intertwined with the history of the Middle East after WW2 and they all have long-standing agreements to support and help one another at all cost.

    That cost is currently being played out in Iraq.

    There is no "imminent" threat in this country, no security issues so great as to require the gutting of the constitution, and no reason to live under the threat of the terrorist-provoked police state we have allowed ourselves to become. Hell, we've got more problems with drunk drivers than we do with homegrown terrorists.

    Live in fear, die afraid.

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  9. The fact is there are forces out to destroy everyone "not us", we do it too. Leaders use whatever tactics they can to manipulate the legion of Stupids be it patriotism, fascism or religion.

    I'm not willing to have bombs go off in crowded market places in America.

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  10. "I'm not willing to have bombs go off in crowded market places in America."

    Willing? You think our national policies actually prevent this from happening? You think our policies aren't inviting people to try and prove our government ineffectual?

    Do you remember how quick everyone was to jump to the conclusion that Oklahoma City was a terrorist attack? Remember the Unibomber? It is just as easy for homegrown terrorism to come from within, and in those cases it was from "fanatics" who felt our internal state of affairs was wrong.

    No, the problem with our current holy war is that the longer it continues, the more inevitable it is that it will come home to roost.

    I'm no more "willing" to accept bombs in American marketplaces, but we aren't really solving that problem by dedicating our resources abroad. One look at how we respond to national disasters like Katrina and you know we aren't in the least bit safe.

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  11. Actually since the FBI building was bombed was in Oklahoma, I first assumed it was some crazed militia group.

    And I agree that the longer the war in the mid-east continues it is inevitable that it will come to America. But as I stated earlier, we are reaping the benefits now for the time being of waging it elsewhere.

    But how long will it be until the holy war comes to America, or is it already here? After all, we have been fiddling around with the internal politics of the mid-east since the 1920s.

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  12. The "willing" statement was in response to another post.

    What I think prevents bombs from blowing up more often here in the US is our intel services which, when not politicized to ignore facts, doesn't do too bad a job. They are the reason some clown with a LAW rocket doesn't target the rose garden from beyond the fence when the Pres is giving a speech.

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  13. Interesting viewpoint. The jihadists, like everyone else, have limited resources, and if they're focusing on Iraq it probably does reduce their ability to be active elsewhere.

    The glaring fact is that it's now been almost six years since Sept. 11 and the jihadists still haven't attacked our territory again. There must be some reason for that. To me, it seems obvious: for all of Bush's disastrous incompetence and poor choice of targets, the fact remains that we've inflicted some serious violence on the heartland of the Islamic culture the jihadists claim to be fighting for. I think they're scared of what we might do if they do hit us again.

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  14. I've been long of the opinion that 9/11 happened because a small group took advantage of the political corruption and shenanigans going on in the country.

    There are very few countries or organizations who want to 'wake up the sleeping giant' and only take the risk when when we are otherwise occupied by politicizing of intel.

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  15. The jihadists have limited resources? Yes, I suppose so. Already thousands of them have committed to fighting us in Iraq. And this fighting has encouraged millions more to turn against the US and become potential jihadists. But once we kill or capture every Muslim who now hates us because of the unjust and immoral war we launched against Iraq, we'll be safe.

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  16. It appears to me that by and large your regular readers are much better informed and more logical than you. You only embarrass yourself by arguing with them. Stick with pop culture and comic books, you do that well.

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  17. Thanks for the advice, sport. You're right. I'll just post about funny homosexual subtext from now on and keep any opinion to myself. Wouldn't want to keep on embarrassing myself.

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