T Nation

This guy gets smarter all the time

Finally someone that says what I have been thinking. Check it out…BEGIN…Not a year has elapsed since the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon that killed 3,000 Americans. Yet the national consensus behind the war on terror has begun to fray. And the fault lies with the president and his War Cabinet.

The war’s first phase – assembling the anti-Taliban alliance, deploying U.S. forces and striking with decisive impact – was done brilliantly. But beginning with the president’s “axis-of-evil” speech last winter, the focus has been lost.

Pentagon generals confide to the Washington Post that an invasion of Iraq is not needed to contain Saddam. Our European and Arab allies have peeled off. Domestic dissent is rising. On the populist Right, there is a growing suspicion of a hidden agenda.

We are told the “war on terrorism” may last our entire lives and we must prepare to sacrifice freedom for security. In recent weeks, we have read of plans to use the army to make arrests in the event of a catastrophe, to train postal workers and others with access to homes as spies to inform on suspicious activities, and to create a new domestic intelligence service.

War is the health of the state, it has been said. Our Civil War, the two World Wars and the Cold War all brought vast expansions of state power. While the government receded after each war, it never returned to prewar size and now eats up 20 percent of our gross domestic product and intrudes in all aspects of our daily lives.

Some of us had thought that the $350 billion we turn over to the Pentagon each year was for homeland defense. Apparently not. For we are now about to create a new 170,000-person Department of Homeland Security. But if it is Tom Ridge’s job to defend the homeland, what is Rumsfeld’s? To defend the empire?

And should this war on terrorism last decades, many freedoms we enjoy today will be gone tomorrow. Which raises a question: What are we fighting for? If we are, as the president contends, fighting to retain freedom, what is the greater threat to that freedom – Islamic fanatics or Big Brother?

True, surveys have found large deposits of hatred of America from Morocco to Indonesia and broad support for Osama bin Laden. But the 22 Arab nations together have a combined gross domestic product about the size of Spain’s. Oil aside, their total exports are comparable to Finland’s. None manufactures the modern weapons we produce in abundance. The only way they can kill us is by terrorist attacks. But even a dirty bomb in a U.S. city is not going to defeat or destroy the United States. Look at what Japan survived.

But if the Islamic fanatics cannot defeat us, why do they attack us? Bin Laden gave us the answer. Al-Qaida’s warriors and their allies want us to get out of their region, as the British got out. And tens of millions of Muslims share their view of America as a decadent empire, trampling on sacred Saudi soil, propping up puppet regimes and looting resources given to Islam by Allah himself.

As for the terrorist tactics used by Islamic fanatics – the bombing of Khobar Towers and of the USS Cole – they are the same tactics used by the IRA and Irgun to drive out the British, by the Viet Minh and FLN to drive out the French, by Mandela’s ANC to dump over the apartheid in South Africa and by Hezbollah to expel the Israelis from Lebanon. It is difficult to think of a “war of national liberation” in the 20th century that did not use terror tactics.

While terrorism – the killing of the innocent for political ends – is morally abhorrent, declaring war on terror is like declaring war on weapons of mass destruction. It is an open-ended commitment.

Many have urged Congress to debate and declare war not only to meet the commands of the Constitution, but to end the moral confusion. To avoid an endless war for an unattainable end, we need to know who our enemy is, what we are fighting for, how long the war will last, how many casualties to expect and what our goals are.

And, to be candid, if suicide-warriors of Islam are willing to die in great numbers to drive us out of the Islamic world, we are one day going to be driven out, as the British and French were. When the French and British went home, the terror ended. And the sooner all imperial powers go home – including Americans – the sooner the anti-colonial wars, and the terror that goes with them, comes to an end.

The Islamic world is caught up in a great civil-religious war over its future. Let them fight it out themselves, as did we. There is nothing over there worth risking an atom bomb on U.S. soil. Having won in Afghanistan, let’s declare victory and bring the troops home…END…Maybe not the most popular position, but one that makes sense. Can anyone guess who this is?

Patrick J. Buchanan

my guess? Hillery and Billery

Buster is right.

Joe Sobran

Buchanan has always been an isolationist.

I particularly liked the last part of the article. The Islamic/Middle Eastern World needs to sort itself out. It isn’t our concern.

I wish I were the one who wrote that. For
once I highly agree with Buchanan. Military
isolation was one of the principles that the
US was based upon - as written by the
“founding fathers.” Not the american global
imperialism that is currently in place.

Isolationist is another of the terms that get thrown about, but rarely defined. PJB subscribes to George Washington’s idea that we should avoid unneccesary foreign entanglements. Sounds good to me. I have been “in harms way”. It is not fun. I don’t relish the idea of my sons being sacrificed on the altar of altruism “because we are the last superpower” or some such nonsense. We need to pull in our troops from Europe as well, and let the French, Germans, etc take care of Bosnia, et al. For the life of me I can’t understand why it is our concern if a bunch of tribal semi-savages that have been murdering each other for ecnturies continue to do so. Someone please list all the bad things that would have happenned if we let the Europeans sort out their own stuff. What a waste of our men and money.

I agree 100%. Get the fuck out and bring the men and women back home. Why any country would risk their own people for others problems is beyond me. In Canada we seem to have appointed ourselves the Worlds’ Peacekeepers. What a crock. 30 years in Cyprus for what? We go to Afghanistan (flying in U.S. planes, pathetic or what?) and we lose more people in friendly fire than to the enemy. I think American presence in differing countries has contributed to the wrongful dilike of Americans. For some reason or another this hasn’t been the case with other countries that have been there. Look at Canada, even though we get mixed up in other countries’ affairs we are not diliked the way you guys are. We each have enough of our problems at home to sort out without trying to fix someone elses’. Enough already.

I am not a supporter of Pat Buchanon but I liked what he had to say. I do agree that it is time The United States stops getting involved in other countries problems. I think if were not involved with Isreal we would not have been attacked. It is clear our position in the Middle East isn’t wanted by a majority of the people over there. It is time to let the Middle East fight by themselves and bring home our troops and take care of the problems that THIS country has. No more trying to save other countries.

Tenyearsgone75, I also believe that if we were not involved with Israel’s affairs that 9/11 wouuld never happen. Let Israel deal with her mess. By giving her billions of dollars of military aid every year we are inviting the Arab terrorists over to our borders, as they associate America and Israel as one. Lets stay focused on America.

It’s more than military/political involvement, it’s also economic invasion. When McDonald’s has to have a restaurant on every Middle Eastern corner, there’s a cultural problem, there. While I’m all for free trade in countries like the US, where the consumer has a little more power, I worry about artificial markets that are designed at the expense of an already impoverished people. These kinds of involvements circumvent democracy, really.

I’m totally down with this philosophy. The United States accomplished its primary military goals in Afghanistan – we broke the primary Al Quaeda training camps and did great damage to its infrastructure, plus we ousted the Taliban and assisted in the establishment of a new government. It’s up to the Afghanis now, we don’t owe them anything else. Sure maybe we could make a few more military passes to make sure we didn’t miss anything big in the region, but after that, we (the USA) should withdraw from the entire region. The military won’t be as effective in uncovering further international and domestic al quaeda cells as would internal and external intelligence agencies (FBI/CIA and others), and further military presence in the middle east will just make more enemies. If we attack Iraq…then what? Bombing, even nuclear warfare, will in all probability NOT kill Hussein, and will strengthen the resolve of terrorists, and ground action will just get lots of Americans (and Europeans and Canadians) killed, and if we establish a new government, so what? Even if a decent guy ran Iraq for a while, it wouldn’t last and we’d make even more enemies who would think we were running a puppet government. After all, I hope at least a few people here remember that the USA gave Sadaam the vast majority of his military funding, equipment, and training just because we were pissed at Iran, and look where that got us now!

As for oil…screw the middle east. What, they won’t sell us oil? Yeah, right…plus, As we make more political alliances with Eastern Europe, including and especially Russia, combined with the oil in North and South America, the world will do just fine for now thank you very much.

I think so much of foreign policy is pride and rhetoric, combined with a little pressure from American oil companies with a vested interest in the middle east. If we turn our back on the region, the terrorists would lose all their rhetorical clout, and who cares, really, if Sadaam makes a few speeches claiming victory if we leave? Seriously! WHO CARES? Withdrawl will save money and lives, and either the oil-producing middle eastern states will come grovelling to us for business and help, or lose the only serious source of income they have availiable, which would also, in turn, destroy the terrorists fund source (especially considering how much terrorist funding comes from our good buddies in Saudi Arabia), and even if there are some short term raises in cost for the oil industry, the long term gains will in my opinion be much better for American business, plus our military won’t be so spread out. Ah I could rant much longer than this, but it’s late and I’m getting repetitive. I hope there was a point somewhere in my post!

I liked what he had to say, but it’s just not possible, not right now anyway. Two things need to happen to make it possible: 1) get a new source for oil, be it here or somewhere else, like Russia. Next, we have to make a commitment on the Isreali/Palistinian conflict. The arabs blame us for isreal and will bomb the shit out of us because of it anyway; so we can’t ignore it.

It would be nice to isolate and let them duke it out. It would be really funny if we pulled our money out of the Middle East, theyed be throwing rocks at each other, but being a pure isolationist is not possible and this war will escalate soon.

First of all, I want to point out to all the “spineless” contributors to this thread, that death is not the worst thing that can happen. Sure 3000 Americans’ lives were lost and that is sad, but it is not worse than sitting on the sidelines while oppressive regimes wreak havoc in our world. An isolationist theory is nothing more than cowardly turning a blind eye to the evil happening in the world (what you can’t see CAN hurt you)! Yes I know that the U.S. isn’t necessarily void of evil itself, but in this war we are right. How do I know? I grew up in Saudi Arabia and have family and friends throughout the Middle East. Fortunately, my parents and I moved here (U.S.) in the late 80’s. These countries have some of the most oppressive governments the world has ever seen. Women are basically treated as slaves, you bust your ass your whole life knowing you have NO opportunity to make a better life for your family, and everybody’s rights are constantly violated without reason. Trust me when I say that in private conversation, the overwhelming majority of Arabs voice their hatred for their governments and secretly hope that the U.S. intervenes and helps them create their own democracies. Also, my people are not ignorant, we know America has an egoist theory of “what is in it for us?”, the answer being the world’s largest and cheapest supply of oil in the world. Guess what? We don’t care what the true U.S. motivation is, we just want some kind of intervention. By the way, these anti-American protests you see on the news aren’t legitimate. These governments out of bribery and intimidation create these as a propaganda tool for the world’s media. Sure there are tens of thousands of Arabs that hate America, but there are also tens of thousands of Americans that hate America. My last word is this, if the U.S. pulls out of the Middle East completely and finds alternative oils sources the only thing that will happen is that our Arab economies will suffer which will be blamed on you know who, and without a U.S. presence, these governments will violate human rights even further causing citizens of these countries to blame U.S. cowardice for their horrible lives. The U.S. can not pass the buck on this one, you may not have started the problem, but you’re the only country powerful enough to find a solution.

America is being used as the scape goat for all the damn problems in the middle east. It’s being villified by the fundamentalists as the root cause of all the decay in their society and it’s being idolised by others as the saviour. But then if America intervenes and things go wrong, well it’s the root cause! What America is to these people is a crutch. Something to hold on to and not take responsiblity for your own destiny. If America stay in there or keep intervening the situation will never be resolved as there is always someone else to blame!"

These fundamentalist regimes feed off the people. The people need to change their attitudes and start a process of reform that can be internationally supported.

you said it yourself. we didn’t start the problem, why should we fix it? This type of change needs to come from within. The Middle East is so based on religion that any external attempt to change that regions politics or government would simply be called a crusade or some such foolishness. We may be the last super power but that doesn’t mean we have to solve the world’s problems. If it bothers you that much, go back there and work for change.

I understand your frustration when it comes to America’s policing responsibilities thrust upon them without asking. Unfortunately, the adage no man is an island or in this case no country is an island, holds true. If America ignores these responsibilities, they will come back to bite us here in the U.S. twice as hard (nuclear proliferation among Islamic fundamentalists). Believe me when I say that the “culture of dependency” mentality that some have of the Middle East is not true. The fact is they just need America’s help (military and monetary) and time. By the way, when I finish Law School in 18 months I will go back to my home country and try to help. In what fashion I’m not sure. See the trouble is, if there’s a problem here in the U.S., then we have a right to voice our opinions and take legal action to correct it. In those countries you are either falsely imprisoned or recieve a nice bullet in the head, no joke.

I understand your desire to have the US help out your country, and your true reason. And of course, most, I think nearly all Americans would like to see the end of tyranny and human rights abuses worldwide. I do, however, reject your assertion that since we are the most powerful, we therefore have the responsibility to take action. This is pure altruism, and the root of most of the evil in the world today. Why should I sacrifice my sons, my money, and our country’s wealth to help people I don’t even know? Are my son’s lives to be worth less than those of strangers? The entire 20th century was an endless series of American sacrifices to “the good of mankind”. Our capital is crowded with monuments to those that paid the ultimate price – for mistakes made by the leaders and peoples of OTHER countries. Your argument that if we don’t help or fix the problem, we may face nuclear attack smacks of a threat. So that’s our choice? Please help us – or else? When you put it that way, our best option is to turn the entire region into a smoking cinder, and pump the oil out at our liesure. As to your reference to some on this thread as spineless, I would like to point out that while most people on this forum are young, there are plenty of older guys here that have “seen something” whether in direct combat or other scenarios. I know that from your lofty heights as a student, this may not seem like much, but I have put my nuts on the block for my beliefs – have you? Why not “return to your home country” and do it, instead of demanding that we do your job? Also, how nice that you come here to enjoy our freedom, get your education, bitch about Americans, and when you are done, return to your HOME country. Don’t let the screen door hit you in the ass, pardner.