Response to Terror

Rescue units in New York City worked non-stop for 52 days after the attack.

The last survivor rescued was carried out of the smoking rubble on day two.

The official WTC site death toll is 2752 people, from more than 80 nations.

189 die in the Pentagon attack.

44 die in a Pennsylvania field.

Have you thought about how the war against radical, Islamic terror will end?

It won’t be a U.S. victory, and it won’t be in a signing ceremony on the deck of a ship.  Nor will it be an agreement between the U.S. president and Osama bin Laden, or his disciple, or any single leader of the Islamic-fundamentalist movement, which is, after all, a multi-headed snake.  And it won’t end because the U.S. and its allies, if there are any of significance, have killed all of the Jihadists.  The war against these radical, religious and social fanatics will not be marked by any definitive boundary or event, or any headline’s or leader’s declaration of victory.  So, is it really a war, then, if it cannot end as wars do?  Whatever it is, it will be a gradual and ephemeral crossing into silence, which can only happen when there is no longer reason or desire for young Muslim men and women to end their lives in violence or live their lives in poverty, sorrow, hopelessness and hate.  The war will end when peaceful, social change ends these characteristic traits in the lives of those who now wish death for America and Israel.—change, in conjunction with effective law enforcement, unfettered by constraints of political correctness, to apprehend and silence those who only know to preach and incite the violence and hatred, no matter the circumstance, cost, or consequence.  There is a generation of them that cannot change and must take time to die or be silenced behind bars before new roots can take firm hold.  This change has not been realized by inciting a war and long occupation in Iraq.  Or by remote bombing into clusters of people from a distance, there, bringing only a greater measure of collateral death and reasons for vengeance and hatred.  But how long, and how many more must die if the struggle to bring to justice and end the violence of the Islamic criminals is to remain defined as and treated as a war?  This is why America is on the wrong track every second that it continues to follow the vision of Bush, Cheney, and the motivations of those for whom they fronted.

The Lebanese gushed praise and devotion over those in Hezbollah who brought death and destruction down upon them in the last conflict with Israel.  Aside from the Iranian dollars handed out by the unrecognized harbingers of sorrow in their midst, the hate that blinded the Lebanese, and the fear, is the same in Palestine, among the downtrodden of Arabia, and Egypt, and the North-African belt, and those excluded who are found at every point of the monarchial, oligarchical, and dictatorial Middle-Eastern compass.  This, and the clash of Western, liberal culture with religious conservatism, are the non-corporeal, systemic, sociological agents that provoke the violence that brought down the Towers on the other side of their world and which will continue to strike out until the social conflicts are made to, one day, fade away in the wake of social change that brings education, respect, tolerance, jobs and a future that is denied by the greed and extravagances of the kings, princes, dictators, and clerics who deal the official rule of life with the industrial West for the future of the region.

The “war” will end when it is recognized that there is no war against terror and that there never was.  Oh... it was so easy to believe there was when a suspect, but still unknown quantity in the Oval Office set himself up, in front of a bewildered and angry nation, to be the great, deciding crusader and focus that anger by declaring that the organized, criminal acts of extremist Islamic criminals were to be defined as acts of war, and the perpetrators as subjects of warfare rather than criminal subjects, without a second thought of how the defining of a thing sets the boundaries of assumption and actions that carry their own momentum to take events out of control and put options out of reach.  And so it was that George Bush defined an event as the justification to launch a coiled nation into a nose-dive of decay through commitments of lives, fortunes, and global esteem to secure what actually was, in a domino-cascade of false justifications for the unjustifiable, finally described as the towering cause bringing “liberty and democracy” to Iraq, to be the salvation of the Middle East and the guarantor of security for the homeland, which was in reality a front for treasonous capital ambition, exercised behind the smoke screen of the fallen towers in New York City, and a false definition.

There was, even before those Towers fell, an ongoing war being waged by the Afghan governing regime, the Taliban, which sponsored the criminal organization, al Qaeda, which carried out the numerous attacks in New York and against U.S. resources around the world, and which was engaged by law enforcement and intelligence.  That real war, against a criminal-sponsoring state power, was won when the Taliban was removed from the role of government, by right, and reduced to operating under the principle of influence by fear, just like the criminal organization it previously state-sponsored.  And now, like any other organized, criminal enterprise, the resources to carry out their aims are secured by crime, in the manufacture and trade of drugs, fraud, theft, extortion, kidnapping, and murder, and to defeat them, a robust, coordinated, international, law enforcement offensive must be sustained until the criminals are bled of resources, jailed or killed.  Bombs launched from drones to fall in the midst of men, women and children who are not perpetrators of the crimes will not defeat the organizations; it will only enrich and embolden them to do greater travesties in the name of wrongs done in confrontation of their crimes.

The history of warfare in Afghanistan must not be forgotten, because that history says that if the U.S. chooses to define the struggle against organized criminals as a war, on that stage, that another 60,000 troops, bringing U.S. totals there to 90,000, will not bring a victory.  Especially when they are troops no longer unbridled in their authority to push national values aside in order to prosecute an unsanctioned offense against the enemy.  Some 120,000 tough and unaccountable Russian troops, able to operate as their commanders dictated, without the glare of media reports, and regardless of the laws broken and the collateral damage inflicted, were defeated, forced to retreat and leave Afghanistan to its tribal leaders.  If the new president decides to send more troops there, he should be prepared to send more than twice that many, and to win, they will have to confront a conflict being waged in two countries, where the Taliban-al Qaeda combine prefers to fight and hide, in Pakistan, and where the U.S. must relay on a non-sympathetic Pakistan military.  To win, in both countries, the goals the U.S. must achieve are to destroy every poppy field, guard every smuggling route, infiltrate and apprehend every village radical, every cache of weapons, every fragmented arm of the scorpion that is the social order and cultural norm of the politics of fear and extortion, and at the same time, keep alive and well a cooperative, nuclear-weapons-controlling Pakistan government and those in both nations who would work to transform those cultures and the poverty and hopelessness that feeds the evil...

President Obama would be very wise to think again, and again, about continuing to carry George Bush’s dictionary when deliberating his next actions regarding U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the dual snare of Pakistan, and whether there really is such a thing as a war, fought with armies against an organization like al Qaeda, as opposed to the nation-state regimes that would support them, which present military objectives that can be met, or his administration will likely be defined in Bushesque terms by that rugged and untamed corner of the world.

Not viewing the confrontation with criminal Islamic-radicalism as a military war also greatly simplifies the legal question about captives, since they would all fall under the jurisdiction of the host nation or its military, and, with February 2009’s successful launch of a satellite into orbit, the incentive for a strong, unengaged military is drastically increased, since Iran can now reach the U.S. when it completes development and down-sizing of its nuclear weapons, which it is determined to do, especially with the U.S. leverage diminished by the circumstances of its military in such extended deployments.  And while there is no doubt the U.S. would defeat Iran’s military, it would not be the cake walk experienced in taking Iraq.  A U.S. no longer at “war,” but poised to focus on Iran, would be the most persuasive leverage President Obama could ever devise to confront them.  End two wars to prevent, or win, a larger, more dangerous, far more significant conflict.  Confront al Qaeda and the Taliban with intense, closely coordinated law enforcement and intelligence, using the Afghan and Pakistan militaries and U.S. special-operations resources when the situation dictates the need or provides the opportunity for more than SWAT actions against them.  Then, focus on the build-up of the “now-at-peace” U.S. forces in the region, and on obvious (but duplicitous) training exercises for offensive actions to be employed against Iran if they remain defiant to U.S. and U.N. non-proliferation demands, because if they do, that will be a justified war that must be fought, with obtainable military objectives that must be achieved.

The end of the violence will not come with the end of Bush’s war in Iraq, drawing vaguely closer as the voices of regret and change grow in America, and as a new president’s withering, 16-month promise winds down to expected deliverance.  The end of the violence in which America is entangled today will be heralded by a long parade of new, Islamic voices, growing ever louder, ever-more numerous, drowning out the bearded, jabbering seeds of violence and war in their midst.  As President Obama speaks the new, fresh, calming tones of diplomatic attention to the words from the other side, even while America continues to prod down the illicit, bloodied path chosen by Bush, the voice of reason has already begun to whisper across the sands in an internal conversation, begun with the brave, lone argument of a factional, Palestinian leader who cautions his people to look in the mirror to find blame for their circumstances, and not just to Israel.  Changing definitions has its place in tactics as well as diplomacy.

On every anniversary of 911, America should also heed that voice when looking to lay blame and find reasons why.

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