America’s Sucide Bombing of its own Exceptionalism
‘A properly funded police, intelligence and military response is essential; but so are improved diplomacy and efforts to deradicalise potential terrorists, for the Hot and Cold Wars are now parallel.’—Michael Burleigh- ‘distinguished historian’ in ‘Blood and Rage: A Cultural History of Terrorism’ (itallics and bold type my addition)
Let’s juxtapose his recommendations, as pragmatic as they seem, with what America’s response has been not just historically, but currently. As is rightfully recommended that one not judge a book by its cover; perhaps it should also be recommended that one not judge a book by its preface. Now, this being a history book, the preface merely serves to demonstrate more/less the author’s angle in his approach, the overriding thesis in a book- possible challenges, documentation retrieval, difficult interviews, and thankful sentiments to a host of collaborators. However, this book was written post 9-11- for the final chapter deals specifically with Islam terrorism and Al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah. Let’s break this down a tad and see what Michael is talking about shall we from the American perspective.
Thus far, we are getting molested and being x-rayed nude at the airports, the Patriot Act has more/less incinerated and pissed on the ashes of the 4th Amendment. Our congress has; whether voluntary or not, kneeled down to the king of the Executive Branch who can now invade whoever he/she wants, for whatever reason- it doesn’t matter if there are American interests involved (but economic interests sure don’t stop the rising death toll), doesn’t matter if it’s a civil war, land dispute, etc. that should be handled by the involved parties in the region. Homeland Security continually attempts to act like the country that spawned the term ‘homeland security’ (I’ll give you a hint….the leader had a weird moustache and is used in American politics as a napkin should be used by a child at the dinner table). Similar to our undeclared war on drugs and poverty, the War on Terror is never ending, no real objective defined (sure, let’s kill all those who hate us, let’s burn all the drug crops, and let’s make everyone rich), and continually shifting from one country to another regardless of any real pretenses- i.e. Most people think of the drug wars in Latin America involving Columbia- that was only after the drug cartels shifted from Bolivia in which fields were sprayed and the poor peasants were told to grow bananas (oh, and by the way, we have more non-violent [drug possession, distribution] criminals in prison than any industrial country in the history of the world, more black non violent prisoners than recorded numbers of total slaves in the southern colonies).To highlight this point- this undeclared war has spread to drones in Pakistan, bombings in Yemen, bombings in Libya (oh sure, Libya isn’t involved in the war on terror right- neither was Iraq, and Libya has an anti-American dictator, like Saddam became after invading Kuwait, let’s not be delusional here folks).
My argument is that the latter point, well, the point on ‘improved diplomacy’ is what I favor. Contrary to Ann Coulter’s point at this years’ CPAC in which she said that ‘bombs are the answer,’ I feel that does not work. Just think of this for one second- what was the last country that the Soviet empire attempted to ‘control’ before its economic downfall……..Afghanistan. Why did the Soviet Empire fall? Was it because of the gulags? Was it because of the violence? No, it was strictly economic…..and we seem to be wanting to mimic them by spending over a trillion dollars on a war that has really no goal, no objective other than some abstract enemy ……why not declare a war on jealousy or even anger while you are at it and let me know your strategy in that (well, Soma might help now that I think of it).
Oh, let’s not just resort to the Soviet Union for comparisons; let’s pick something even more grand- grander for historical reasons. Why did the Roman Empire fall? Was it cause of the Vandals and Visigoths specifically? Was it because of the Roman Legion eventually becoming a bunch of disenfranchised and alienated boy scouts with swords? Nope, it was the stretching out of the empire- through North Africa and Western Europe that led to what economists call in the business world ‘diseconomies of scale’- too big to manage, too large to maintain. The result- the Vandals, Visigoths, and other German ‘barbaric’ tribes conquered. No, never mind that we are currently engaged in roughly five military involvements (I’m not talking bases or advisors, I’m talking bombs being dropped, bullets being fired, people dying), we have over 900 military bases in over 135 countries, and we give foreign aid out like candy on Halloween.
This wonderful country is not Rome nor is it the Soviet Empire, nor is any of these comparisons what the Founders wanted. Sorry Neoconservatives and Obama devotees- if the Founders wanted the President to be able to go to war and send troops to kill people for whatever reason he/she wanted, they would have insisted a bit longer that George Washington be the first King of America and upon his insistent refusal, they would have found someone else. It is only through jingoistic talking points (not patriotism, sorry) that certain people feel we have the moral obligation to police the world, install dictators, and dictate codes of political institutions on other countries.
Want to know how to avoid ‘creating’ a bin Laden? The same way you avoid creating a Lenin, Stalin, Castro, Mao, and all the others. Lenin and Stalin came out of Czarist Russia- where oppression was king- oppress people enough and you will get a Lenin. Install a military dictator in a democratic Cuba- hello Castro. Want some Ayatollahs taking US embassy members hostage? Give Iran a Shah after overthrowing its democratic government. It is real simple folks. Want a Hitler- give Germany the Treaty of Versailles. Oh, want to waste 70 billion dollars real quick- hand it to Mubarak of Egypt, as we did over the 30yrs of his reign.