Thursday, June 10, 2004

What's wrong with the war on terror?

In my view, the whole Iraq thing comes down to two questions:
1) Was it the best use of our resources given that our assessment of Iraq's capabilities was based on sketchy intelligence? (Remember, Osama is still out there, unless he's at Gitmo awaiting W.'s October surprise. Not only that, but poppy production is in full swing in Afghanistan)
2) Are we killing or capturing more terrorists than our actions are creating (a question that Rumsfeld did not yet have the answer to when recently asked at a Congressional hearing)?


Jeffrey Hill said...

As for killing more terrorists than we're creating...that strikes me as a short term question for a long term problem. I'm not sure of any action towards the terrorists or their supporters that would not stir their hives.

Dude said...

Actually, it's a short-term and long-term question. I'm not convinced that we can ever win the war on terror, as there is no formal organization to surrender, no territory to occupy that would mark a win. However, we can kill them, cut off their resources, and secure ourselves to make it harder for them to hit us.
But the logic in that if someone is prone to terrorism, they were prone to do that all along is flawed. I offer Pat Tillman as an example (not of terrorism - hear me out on this one). Here is a man who had every incentive not to lay his life on the line in combat before 9/11. However, that event was such a jolt that he decided he needed to enlist, without any fanfare. Now take an unemployed Iraqi who loses a family member to fighting in Faluja, or who was abused at Abu Gahrib. He doesn't have much to lose, and sees the American forces as a threat to his well-being. It's not a big leap to see someone like that taking up arms against American forces.
So yes, our actions could potentially create more terrorists and insurgents. That's not a call to sit on our hands, but to consider carefully the ramifications of seizing territory and how we go about securing that territory. Given the bombings, assasinations, lootings, the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers, and the bill that has been incurred because promises of Iraqis paying for their own reconstruction that haven't come through, it would appear that there wasn't a lot of consideration to what would happen once we seized the territory.
And if the administration is serious about stabilizing the Middle East, then they should take a more even-handed approach and a more involved approach to resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Marginilizing Arafat had to be done after he walked away from a deal in October 2000, and a roadmap was a good step, but since last summer, very little progress has been made with the roadmap. Bush seems to be just letting Sharon decide on his own how to resolve it.