The United States of America can not wait too long to react in some kind of meaningful, if indeed non spectacular military way to the attack it suffered a week ago today. It must strike an identifiable enemy much sooner, rather than later; if for no other reason than the psyche of the American people, and to send a strong message that the USA is indeed decisive.
The other reason for the United States to do something now, lies with the coalition it is trying to build. It won’t last. Many of the countries the USA are courting, are they themselves supporters of terrorism, or nations ruled by dictators. In addition, a great many of these countries are also not just majority Islamic; but fundamentally so.
The USA has been making a very big mistake in its continuing reference to God. The show of God at the memorial services attended by the who’s whom of America’s leadership was significant. The many hymns that were sung, including the “Battle Hymn Of The Republic” might have made a great many Americans feel better about themselves, but it also had the effect that it gave credence to the calls by the enemy, that this is a Jihad. A religious war between Islam and a world of Infidels, namely Christians and Jews.
If America has any hope to align Moslem nations against terrorists, it will fail miserably if the Moslem nations feel that they will be killing, or be aiding in the killing of their Moslem brethren in a Holy War resembling the Crusades. In fact, President Bush didn’t help the world one iota when he made a reference to America’s resolve to find and punish those responsible – as in a “crusade”.
The western world payed the USA a great deal of sabre-rattling lip-service the day of, and after the attack. But; now that it is a week after the fact, the world has calmed down and is looking for a more “civilized” approach to retribution. And as days pass by, more and more countries will see a much lesser need for a harsh and immediate military response.
The world is a place of guile and personal interests, where leaders will make whatever accommodations that are necessary for their own benefit, rather than the benefit of their neighbors, truth, justice and the American way.
There are many countries that also have important interests in keeping a reasonable relationship with despots who control either oil in the ground, or oil access above the ground in the way of pipelines. And no matter how noble the cause might be, these countries will not jeopardize their long-term financial well-being. Therefore; the longer the delay in a real military response, the less likely it is that all the would-be allies will still be there when the the time to strike becomes a reality.
Unlike the Gulf War 10 years ago, where the enemy was seen occupying another country and threatening the entire world’s oil flow and access to energy. This is not in the least bit the case. No national interests can be seen to be immediately threatened. There is no international crisis that requires instant reaction. And the threat to world order is really somewhat non existent. Therefore; how does the USA begin to marshal the international troops as the heat of the moment cools?
Now that a week has passed, and we have all seen the replay of the two airplanes crash into the two World Trade Towers a thousand times. And we see the devastation that was the World Trade Center Complex, and part of the Pentagon every time we turn on the television or read a newspaper or magazine, the incredulity is fading.
I fear that the USA is making a series of huge mistakes in how it is handling this entire mess. It is not showing leadership. It is consulting the world and building a consensus that does not exist. It is looking for succor from countries that are its enemies; such as Syria, Pakistan, Iran etcetera. And it is depending upon countries that have their own self-interests.
Even though many of us, including me, believe that the world was attacked on the morning of September 11, 2001; in reality, it was not. The USA was attacked. New York City was attacked. The Pentagon was attacked. And four American passenger airplanes were crashed into oblivion.
If America’s response to the instigators of this horror is reliant upon seeking the rest of the world’s approbation for it to take action. And if it is looking for partners, so it will not to stand alone. It is looking in many of the wrong places, and waiting for approbation that will never come.
The following is something else that is a fact. As good as it may feel to many, to see US jet-fighters and armed troops go at Afghanistan; it can not!
From everything I have read and heard from the Russian (Soviet Union) experience in Afghanistan and Chechnya, these people can not, and will not be defeated on their own turf. There is no use in having thousands, if not tens of thousands of young men and women fighting in an area where there is no chance of victory, and only a guarantee of their slaughter.
And whatever force that might be used to bomb Afghanistan, will only destroy what was already laid to ruin by the Russians. History has taught the world that these countries can not be beaten militarily on their own terrain. Certainly not by outsiders.
There is however a different way to fight these savages on terms that belong to the good guys. First thing. The world has to become “SUBSTANTIALLY” less dependent upon foreign energy. And then:
1) Make all cars far more fuel efficient. Get rid of the gas guzzlers, and work diligently on alternative fuel supplies, such as electricity and hydrogen. And use mass transit in cities rather than cars. Create the type of Metro system that can be found in Washington DC that is so efficient that is the commuting choice of the wealthiest to the poorest.
2) Create a North America Wide mass rail transit system that is extremely fast, reliable, energy efficient and affordable, to replace air traffic as much as is possible.
3) Build all new structures to be energy efficient. In warm weather regions, the buildings must be able to retain cool air. In cold weather regions, the converse.
4) We must also speed up development of alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar power, and power from the geothermal plates of the earth.
5) We should work diligently to produce safe and clean nuclear energy until a sufficient volume of all other forms of alternative energy effectively come on-line.
In short, take away our voracious appetite for foreign energy and we take away virtually all reasons to have any contact with people who prefer to live in the 16th century opposed to the 21st. Also; take away the oil revenue, and we take away their ability to organize, travel, buy arms and kill people in western societies.
All of the preceding is not to say that the USA and the rest of the world should not respond militarily. Not only should they. They have a moral obligation to do so. But; not in a conventional fashion.
What the Free World has to do is invest whatever it takes to establish the best counter-terrorism force possible, and use it in various ways.
1) Create the toughest and best trained special force of international soldiers possible. This new army should include men and women who are ready, willing and able to use deadly force, whenever and wherever possible. They should hunt down terrorists as the Israelis do, and kill them.
What the world has to understand, is that we are really at war, and have been at war for many years. We just didn’t want to admit it. And in war, people die.
Let us not kill innocents with bombing and missile raids just to quench those amongst us who have a thirst for blood. And let us not send civilized young men and women to deal with savages in foreign landscapes. Let’s get the people who are directly responsible for this attack, and past attacks, and kill them, just as you would expect your military to do to the enemy on any battlefield.
And anyone who believes that this is not a war, differentiated only from all other wars by the design of the battlefield is sorely mistaken. This is very much a war with rules that are the antithesis to our western values.
But; nonetheless, it is a war, and we must learn how to engage this new type of enemy with an entirely new set of rules.
2) The financial world has to seize all financial assets that are used in the terrorist war against humanity.
3) The democracies have to agree to punish all countries through national ostracism and sanctions, who will aid terrorists in any way, shape or fashion.
4) The Free World has to rethink its relationship with countries that are not true democracies where majority rules, and where minorities have entrenched individual rights.
The “Framers” of the American Constitution were brilliant in their decision to completely separate church from state. Organized religion has done more to kill, maim and destroy, than any and all other forces combined.
The democracies must adhere to the total elimination of religion from government. Completely! There is nothing wrong for the state to enshrine freedom of religion. There is nothing wrong for individuals to ascribe to any religious belief, and practice that belief as fundamentally as they wish.
But there is plenty wrong when religion becomes part of the workings of a society. And that includes in the schools and all government services. I do not want us to become them; them as being religious fundamentalists of any belief.
I do not want our children to become “indoctrinated”, as are the children of the fundamentalists. We must do whatever we can to make certain that in our society, we never succumb to an us versus them community.
We must fight this enemy with everything we’ve got. We must band together and support our troops who will fight from behind desks, spy satellites, computers, corporate boardrooms and in the shadows where the final scene of war is played out to its conclusion.
But, most of all, we can not lose faith in our values and ourselves. And we can not stop this kind of vigilance. Not ever.