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the War on Terror...revisited.....

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    “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

    George Santayana

    The treatment of Islamic peoples, following 9/11, is an issue that eats at the heart of the American Dream. The terror threat emanating from global Radical Islam posed significant challenges to American security. In the eyes of most Americans, an unprecedented emergency {9/11} justified extraordinary measures to prevent future attacks. Following that horrible day, a stampede of Americans from across the political spectrum stumbled over themselves to argue that sacrifices to our civil liberties were necessary for the sake of security—Benjamin Franklin be damned! Our freedoms left us vulnerable to an enemy from within. Stopping a 2nd wave of attacks was paramount moving forward out of the rubble of the World Trade Center. Breaking up sleeper cells and intercepting al-Qaeda agents was priority no. 1, and the federal government took swift action to prevent any secondary attacks on the Homeland.


    The embarrassment of being caught with their pants down was more than any democratic government could possibly accept as their own making; and in the aftermath of destruction, there was more buck-passing than anyone could imagine, culminating in the propaganda take-down of the Clinton Administration, encapsulated in ABC's prime time broadcast of “The Path to 9/11” (September 10-11, 2006). That we had gone soft was without question; and the American people readily ate up the prevailing assumption, that the false sense of security created by the naivety of multiculturalism had left us so forgone the 9/11 attacks were unpreventable by the time the Bush administration took office. Conveniently, such views ignore the hundreds to thousands of warning flags and opportunities that the government had to stop the attacks with the pre-9/11 national security-state. Despite our vulnerabilities, it's quite clear, in hindsight, that the government possessed the tools to stop the attacks, under the laws of the land written before 9/11. Instead of accepting responsibility for the failure to enforce the law, as it was written, policy makers were largely successful in convincing the American people that Civil Liberty roadblocks were largely responsible for the government's inept response to the threat posed by the crafty death-cult of al-Qaeda. America's civil liberties became the scapegoat for the basic problem of restoring the government's credibility following its failure to prevent 9/11; and in the new “Kingdom of Fear” (Thompson, 2001), where one more measly car bomb could have had revolutionary consequences, the American people were all too willing to trade-in fundamental rights and liberties in order to protect the Homeland from further attacks.

    By pumping-up the threat posed by al-Qaeda, the government inexorably prompted even greater suspicion and anger towards all Muslim people. While indecency to the whole of Islam is widely condemned, most Americans still support aggressive means to seek-out the bad from the good in our Muslim community. Consequently, in the decade-long dragnet that has followed 9/11, innocent, law-abiding Muslims have faced unequal intrusion on their rights as American citizens and as guests in our country. No doubt, many have wrongly faced prolonged domestic detentions in abusive conditions, where the presumption of their innocence was thrown out the window.

    Contrary to numerous international treaty commitments―as well as contemporary interpretation of the Constitution’s prohibition on “cruel and usual punishment” (U.S. Constitution, amend. 8, cl. 3)―, a vast array of government officials, elected representatives, and public intellectuals loudly championed the right of the Executive Branch to employ the use of torture to gain intelligence on terror plots. While it is known, that detainees on foreign battlefields were subjected to torture, just how far the government has gone to extract information from its own citizens, on American soil, is an unknown that is a cause for great alarm.

    Given the power asserted by the former president to make unilateral judgment calls about the entitlement of individual American citizens on American soil to the most basic level of due process known to the civil body of man―the writ of habeus corpus―, the only thing the American people would have to go by, in regards to justifying the compelling state interest of the government in denying basic liberties to American citizens, would be the word of our government. In a nation-state based on the rule of law, 'trust us' is simply not good enough.

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    Today, many Americans might claim, that the wholesale militarized internment of anyone of Japanese descent along the Western Coast of the United States, during WWII, pales in comparison to anything our modern government has done to our Muslim community in the post-9/11 world. At best, that argument is treading on thin ice, and people who live in glass houses should not throw stones. The Bush Administration's zeal for protecting the Homeland, clearly outstripped its concern for Civil Liberties and Human Rights, and many innocent people ended up on the short end of a very big stick.

    The similarities between Japanese internment and the Bush Administration's denial of the writ of habeus corpus to “unlawful enemy combatants” is absolutely striking. While our modern government has not gone about ordering the forced evacuation and relocation of all Muslims, like they did to the Japanese during WWII, the metrics of the unchecked power assumed by the Bush Administration in the War on Terror, included the wholesale legal right of the government to pursue indefinite detentions of U.S. citizens on U.S soil, outside the purvey or review of the justice system, based on the judgment of the Executive alone. While sweeping orders to intern all Muslims were not issued, in its post-9/11 global dragnet, the Bush Administration denied the writ of habeus corpus to those it classified as 'unlawful enemy combatants,' allowing the government to detain these individuals without charge, without any presentation of evidence in a courtroom for cause, and for as long as the global terrorist threat remains real.

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    Turned this into today...well...its part of a bigger paper...been stuck writing it for almost a week....

    I spoke out in class to blurt out a few things regarding my complicated views on the war to a big class....felt good.

      however its more than obvious ..that not all of my views sit well with my fellow liberals...

    In 2006 it became clear...that Bush did sometimes listen to criticism....and in his second term he attempted manuevars to improve the strategic position of this country, which Rumsfeld..Wolfy..Gonzo .and Cheney all fucked up...while  the president and condi  just sat back and watched as those guys bullied around those  in the Administration who didn't agree with them.   

    The appointment of Robert Gates was a signal that Bush wanted out of the box he had made for himself, by failing to listen to the advice of his father's realist circle from the get-go......

    Realism has dovish instincts...war is bad..fighting is a failure to maximize strategic power correctly..
    Offensive realism...or neo-conservatism, inexactly... is the darkside of power.  Having maximized strategic power, the impulse  to use that power grows even greater, and when the top blows ...its usually ones downfall.....and then they come home crying to daddy begging for the Realists to come in and restore sanity.  It's the story of the Prodigal Son.  

    Now I don't subscribe to realism, but I am its student...and its advocates and thinkers are far more exceptable than the neo-conservative War Pigs.  Indeed I am a hybrid thinker....a strategic opportunitst for good...a true Road Warrior for the Lords of Karma, but I am not a realist...however, when the shit hits the fan...there comes a time and place when the liberal ideal must be compromised for the sake of saving what can be salvaged of strategic position, and at times like these liberals and realists can be the best of friends..
    Well, I believe we owe it to the people who've come to count on us to see the Afghan War through....this is not self-flaggelation..or some moral cross to bear..but an opportunity to salvage what was lost to our initial foolishness. 
    Look, I'm against bombing poor people. I don't care what their government is....but since we went into Afghanistan and Iraq and  toppled their government...we owe it  to those people to bring stability to their fully bringing the Taliban to their knees...and our position in the world will be better off for it...
    I would not suggest this if I didn't believe it was possible...

    Before 2006 I saw us on our way to a total disastorous defeat...I didn't support the invasions, and the insurgency after explained why...I didn't not support anything the Bush Administration was doing until Gates was appointed.  Why keep fighting if we are only going to lose even more men, more money,  and more of our strategic position in the world?  After all, sky high oil prices, influenced by a fear premium of our own making, brought down the consumers who couldn't pay their mortgages which knocked down our financial house of cards.and Wall Street, ruining the savings and pensions of millions.  Boy that was one hellish Downward Spiral. 
    But the Gates appointment gave us that chance....and because I love my country more than I hate Bush.....I supported his attempts to correct his mistakes with new Sec. of Defense.  
    Now I didn't agree with the surge...and I still don't....the War in Iraq was won through reconcialiation and by empathizing with the enemy....the same way the war in Afghanistan will be won.....the surge in Iraq may have helped Iraq, but it also cost us in Afghanistan.
    The troops out there on multiple deployments.....they are brave men and women.  They have saved this nation from a mega-disaster created by politicians.  

    Support Obama as he makes the best of a bad situation for this bringing the Taliban to their knees.
    You can tell your rightwing friends, if Obama's a Muslim, he's one mean son of a bitch.....
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    Thanks EPK for sharing your paper on the treatment of Islamic people following 9/11.  It is well written and informative.  If I was your professor, I would give it an "A."  I share your views. When Jason adds a blog feature to this website, you'll be up and running.

    The underlying theme is one that would apply to many of the topics discussed on this website...that is the absence of critical thinking by a populace manipulated by plutocrats, politicians, church leaders, the military industrial complex and the media...Fox News pundits, Rush Limbaugh and Clear Channel in particular. I have delved into the psychology of why people act like they do, often with violence, whether it is pogroms against Jewish people, acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing around the world, or as simple as school yard bullying of gays. I often come away shaking my head at the ignorance and bigotry displayed by otherwise educated people. Why do so many people choose to follow the hate rhetoric rather than engage in an intellectual discourse of why things are as they are.  And why do so many people dismiss facts and succumb to a group think that often evolves into a mob mentality.

    There are many articles by distinguished psychologists that one can tap into, and the vocabulary will leave you scratching your head.  I could mention several but will single out just one. Bob Altemeyer's book, The Authoritarians, explains in layman's language the respective roles of authoritarian leaders and authoritarian followers, but especially why so many people are just content to follow a person of authority off a cliff rather than critically examine the facts.   Professor Altemeyer has kindly made his book available for reading online at the above website.  His Introduction will tell you what the book is all about. I got hooked after reading his first chapter.
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    Thanks, Frank....

    The enemy is on the run!  Team America, Fuck yeah!

    Onward to Victory!
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    Well....what a year in Warfare predictions it's nearly been. 
    Obama, yesterday:  "This is the Begining of the End"  
    Me, last fall:  "The war will be 'won' by spring at the latest."  Semantically speaking, I was only a few days off. 

    And let me define victory once again, a resolution that results in anything above a total disaster for American interests. 

    American servicemen and women have saved this nation from a mega-disaster. 
    Embarassment in Afghanistan would have certified our nation's decline, leaving a vaccum in Central Asia to be filled by the Russians and the Chinese.  There is Great Power to be had in Central Asia, and in more than just oil, but mineral resources.  It is prudent for the US to project it's power to secure the development of these resources; but it was unwise and self-interested to pursue the rapid overthrow of the Taliban, 3 months after 9/11, and even more incredulous to do the same with Hussein's regime, a year later, with more military resources and less solid rationale.  These wars put more at stake than could be had to gain by them.  

    I'm not saying we shouldn't have attacked Afghanistan after 9/11.  I'm saying we should have pursued diplomacy longer, and took more time to learn about Afghanistan, before hurdling ourselves into the Graveyard of Empires.  We had the time. 
    Afghanistan is not a literal launching pad for attacks on the West.  It is has no port.  It's infrastructure and roadways are pourous, and the Taliban had destroyed the airport, before we came along.  After all, Afghans did not attack us on 9/11, and the Saudis who did certainly did not recieve their pilot training in Afghanistan.
    Taliban-ruled Afghanistan was a runaway failed state that sanctioned numerous terrorist-retreats and the retirement homes of numerous international outlaws. This undercut the ability of global governments to bring terrorists to justice, and thus disrupt the organizational capacity of terrorist networks.  Afghanistan was like one gigantic hole in the Westphalian state-system, completely outside the networks of international globalization. 

    The Taliban knew this, and it's near elimination of opium production in 2001 was part of a concerted campaign to attract Western investment.  Indeed, the Taliban had a Washington lobbyist, the estranged neice of former CIA director Dick Helms.  This, of course, all went to shit with 9/11, and may have went nowhere, anyway.  But it does raise questions about Taliban connections to 9/11. 
    It would appear that the Taliban's association with bin Laden blew up in their face, and ultimately Taliban leadership ended up caught between having to sell-out, or having to risk all, and they chose the latter. 

    I simply believe, then and now, that we should have attempted more diplomacy, for the sake of reducing the moral fog of war. 
    We had evidence linking the 9/11 terrorists to bin Laden, and we should have presented that evidence to the Taliban, even if it lacked conclusiveness.  We should have engaged the Taliban in front of the world, and made more of the international good-will that we recieved after 9/11, by demonstrating our capacity for restraint. 

    In addition, we should have recognized the role that unbalanced American foreign policy has played in fermenting terrorism, and to that effect, expressed strong and solid support for real Palestinian statehood, by making heavy investments in the peace-process.    

    Finally, when we went to war, we should have went in with  250,000 troops + the international coalltion, and reversed high marginal tax cuts to "pay for it."


    In honor of the fallen:
    Alice in Chains-"Rooster"
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