The Political Werewolf
If you know me, then you know I'm a big political nut. So, I've decided to add my own personal flavor to the realm of political discussion. We'll be talking about various issues - some of them having to do with current events, others perhaps more on a philosophical level. But in any case, you're free to respond to whatever you read here, either by E-mail or on the message board.
All righty, here we go.
Focusing on the Big Picture
One week from now, the US will be handing over the sovereignty of Iraq to its own people. Not only will this event have major repercussions in the Middle East - considering that this is the first Arab nation that has anything close to a democratic government - it's also an opportunity for this country to refocus itself onto the task at hand. As the decaptitations of two more innocent civilians over the last week have indicated, Al Qaeda hasn't forgotten that a war on terror is being waged. Unfortunately, it seems as if people in this country may not have the same memory.
I've talked with other liberals online, and many of them say the same things: that we're never going to win this war on terrorism, because all we do by killing them or invading their state sponsors is enraging others and making them enlist in the cause to destroy the West. Others are all too quick to compare our efforts to the war in Vietnam, making analogies between the quagmire those soldiers facd and the so-called "quagmire" our soldiers are in right now. Our allies are mad at us, the terrorists are mad at us, everyone's mad at us, we're damned if we do, we're damned if we don't.
Once again, liberals are allowing their pessimist view of the world to paralyze themselves in the face of a challenge. Meanwhile, the terrorists themselves are taking advantage of this division in our public sentiment by flaunting their brutality in front of the cameras. Although I personally think that these recent kidnappings and beheadings are a sign of desperation in the Al Qaeda ranks - merely killing these innocent civilians isn't enough to cause us to waver now, so they put their victims on camera, make demands they know we won't accept, and sadistically murder them by cutting off their heads in an attempt to produce more shock and disgust among us - they seem to be working, as people seem to be getting more troubled about the mess we've gotten ourselves into. I've made attempts to convince those who disagree with me that we need to return to the spirit of unity we had just after 9/11, when we all realized the threat that these terrorists posed was dire and impatient, but few if any of them seem to want to hear it. They're too busy ridiculing our president. There are times I think that these people are more interested in winning the election than they are in winning the war on terror.
These people, to some degree, are right. Terrorism is not likely to come to a halt, at least not within our lifetime. There are a lot of people in the world today who not only envy our culture, but hate and resent it, blame it for all of the ills in the world today, and castigate it for not following their religious directives. They want to kill us, maim us, torture us, and showcase our pain to the rest of the world as an example of what others who side with us can expect. The question is, then, what do we do about it? Do we placate them and allow them to push us around, like they managed to do in Spain, or do we go to where they are, punch them in the mouth, and teach them a lesson for messing with us? Maybe terrorism is an endless cycle, but it doesn't mean it's not worth fighting. If anything, we ought to go down swinging.
That's why it annoys me to no end to hear so many people say that the war in Iraq was not part of the war on terror. Just because Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden weren't arm-in-arm at all times doesn't mean that we had no basis to invade the Baathist regime and remove it from power. The thinking is this: if people of the region had a say in their own lives, they will stop looking for scapegoats and become more willing to join the world community. By giving the Iraqi people a chance to govern themselves, we're giving them control of their own destiny. Others in the region will then see this new form of government and want it as their own. It might not happen all at once, but at the same time the more people that see what good can come from freedom, the more they'll want it themselves, and the less they'll want to lash out at the ones who can help provide that freedom.
Those who compare this war on terror to the war in Vietnam - of those that I've spoken with - tend to do so in the hopes of warning us about the mess we're getting ourselves into. Unfortunately, mess or not, this is a war that needs to be fought and won. Unlike Vietnam, in which our loss condemned another country to a future of communism and oppression, this is our own future that we're fighting for. If we lose this war, the United States that we currently live in will cease to exist. Either we will be forced to surrender many of the liberties that we so often take for granted, or we will give up our ability to live with the security of knowing that we are safe from the threat of terrorism. In any event, the very premise of this war being analogous is false; we're fighting with a military force that willingly signed up for this cause as opposed to a draft, we're sustaining much fewer casualties than before, and are making a lot more progress in capturing and killing Al Qaeda leaders and members.
My contention above that liberals appear to be more interested in defeating George W. Bush than they are in defeating Al Qaeda is not without evidence. Obviously, the ones making the arguments above want to push the war on terror to the back burner while and spend more effort on the election. It also shows itself in the fact that Bush's opponent, John Kerry, seems totally disinterested in helping out. I know, there's a campaign to be waged, and I'm not suggesting that Kerry forfeit the election. But he doesn't have to be in the White House to do things that will help this country win the war on terror. For instance, it's pretty much a given that Kerry is more popular among the international community than Bush; even I don't disagree with that. So while Bush is handling the military efforts, Kerry could be rubbing some elbows with our allies, helping us sell this war with the folks abroad who don't appear to be pleased with us. Again, I don't expect Kerry to do anything that will submarine his own bid for the presidency (at least, intentionally), but honestly, if he were to take the bull by the horns, it might serve to help him in this election by showing voters that he is concerned with their security.
Winning the war on terror should not be something that the republicans in power are solely responsible for. If a democrat were in office right now, I would hope just as much that we win this war, because our enemy wants to kill us regardless of the party we belong to. That's why I call upon everyone to support the war on terror, support our troops, and most of all, support our president. You may disagree with everything he does, but ultimately, it's he who makes all the decisions, and their outcomes affect us all, whether we voted for him or not. If we unite as one country again, and come together to combat the terrorists, this war won't just be winnable - it'll be won.