Monday, March 15, 2004

How the capture of Osama Bin Laden may turn out to be a meaningless symbol

I hate to say this, yet I must. In a world where the rule of law has been scorned and squandered, the capture of Osama Bin Laden will be a meaningless symbol.

I heard G. Gordon Liddy on a CSPAN interview this morning. He said something I've lately thought (and written about) myself: Terrorism is a disease that will continue to occur throughout the 21st century. It is a disease in which children who attend fundamentalist-Islamic (Saudi-financed) madrassas have been educated to theologically abhor the decadence of western societies.

Capturing Bin Laden (which we surely will accomplish unless he dies of natural causes first) will be like snaring the one who had set the fire while the forest continues to burn fiercely for thousands of square miles ahead.

When the World Trade Center towers fell, the disease metastasized like a near-unstoppable cancer. It was the day the word "civil" was taken out of the idea of war in a new way only before imagined in our nightmares. Like cancer cells, thousands of self-named warriors learned that a new tactic could be employed successfully to beat away at the governments of the western world they had learned to so disdain.

Overall, war has been all-too glorified a word as we look back at history. We tend to forget that war is not always fought on gentleman's terms. Mass-killing savagery in war is nothing new. Bombs are perfect examples of mass-killing mechanisms. What is different..what is new about terrorism is that the would-be killers are making civilians of Western societies the targets of their aggression. This isn't going to end with Bin Laden's capture. Make no mistake, we will celebrate the capture if and when it happens, but it will only be because we will somehow feel avenged for 9-11.

It won't be because the world is saved from terrorism.

What is the answer, then, you may ask of me?
Like you, I have no easy answers. The good and civil people of Spain are sending us a message with the ouster of Prime Minister Aznar. What is the message? Simply, I think it's that people have had enough. They see that we are on the wrong path if we believe we're succeeding at minimizing the ugly force of terrorism. It is horrendously ironic that our warring tactics have inspired those who would employ tactics of delivering the angel of death to the innocents.

What is the answer, then, you continue to ask me?
The only thing that is clear to me is that we need a change in the policy on both Iraq and the war on terror. (Which really have always been two separate issues). If the Bush administration cannot see the error in these policies, perhaps it's time to give another leader a chance to get it right. John Kerry has recently intimated that certain foreign leaders have vocally expressed the hope he will be elected in November. Yesterday on the FOX Sunday show, Colin Powell stated: "He [Kerry] ought to list some names. If he can't list names, then perhaps he should find something else to talk about." Shortly after that statement, the Bush White House ordered both Powell and Donald Rumsfeld to stay out of the U.S. presidential campaign. We need not wonder why. It's obvious..they are two of the most vulnerable "players" exposed to the public's questions about the failed policies of the Bush administration to date.

The old adage "Two wrongs don't make a right" come to mind. War, in and of itself, has the evil component of factionally delivering one man's death at the hands of fellow men. War is ungodly, no matter how necessary or glorious they like to tell us it is. War is never to be taken lightly and should always be the very last of the last resorts. I feel, in my heart, that the dullard-king G.W. Bush has been dabbling at, tinkering with war.....playing God with the people of his nation. The civil world is repelled by his method of curing terror. I think it's high time we turn it all around for the sake of what is best for all of humanity. When our President plays American War-God with those who've been theologically trained to defend their own beliefs against the western world, it is easy to see a war for which there will be no cure. Where, I ask, is the force of the brightest angels of our human nature? Where have we allowed our leaders to stray?

President Bush and his administration had shown a clear disdain for cooperation with the world community throughout the pre-Iraq war days. Look at everything that has happened since the international rule of law (the "permission slip", as Bush called it) was thrown aside for what appeared nothing less than unnecessary macho-unilateral aspirations on the part of the U.S. in its march to war. Respect for the U.S. was lost, thus whether we want to admit it or not, we've lost a hell of a lot of "credibility-clout" in the world-at-large.

The capture of Bin Laden will surely happen, but the songs of joy will ring hollow as we see the disease which he caused to spread..the fires he lit...spread thousands and thousands of miles out ahead of him... coming closer to us by the moment.

If we love our own children and the children of this world, it's time to find a real and meaningful way to cooperate with the nations of the world and give the utmost respect to the rule of law.It is the only thing that separates us from the terrorists, you see. For God's sake, let's put an end to this madness....together. Like Dorothy's ruby slippers, Bush has held the awesome power of the rule of law all the time..and I don't think he ever realized it. I pray this nation finds its way.
Comments about Spain and the War on Terror from various places

At the Kos site, Jonathan wrote:
The Bush administration's disastrous assumption that they could take a vacation from fighting al Qaeda after a few early victories is coming home to roost in bigger and bigger ways. They segued at the earliest opportunity to fighting a war of choice, a war that was dreamed up long before 9/11 and sold on an immense heap of lies, a war that was carried out at the cost of an increased, not decreased, danger of terrorism. No matter what you may think about the Spaniards' decision at the ballot box, get this part right: part of the responsibility for the deaths of 200 Spanish people on March 11, 2004 very likely lies with the Bush administration and its allies and their wholly incompetent handling of this War on Terror.

The Spanish people have a right to say they're not happy about it, and demand better. We do, too.
Also at Kos, HoustonDem wrote:
The failure of this president in getting other like-minded nations in one camp against the Islamic terrorists is the greatest failure of his presidency. which this salient point was made by another reader:
Spain is certainly not withdrawing from the war on terror. They are withdrawing from the war in Iraq, which they feel has not been an effective effort in the war on terror.
Kos himself had this to say:
So, did the terrorists "win"?
No more so than Osama Bin Laden "won" when the US pulled out of Saudi Arabia -- a key demand of Al Qaeda.

Fact is, Spain was taking casualties -- in Iraq and at home -- for a war in which it had no reason to be involved. Bush lied to get his war, and Spain's Aznar was a willing and eager accomplice. The Spanish people opposed the war and their nation's involvement in it, and spoke the way true Democracies speak -- via the ballot box.

The system worked. Democracy won. Spain won.

Josh Marshall methodically and successfully tears apart the question posed by Andrew Sullivan: "If the war to depose Saddam is and was utterly unconnected with the war against al Qaeda, then why on earth would al Qaeda respond by targeting Spain? If the two issues are completely unrelated, why has al Qaeda made the connection?"
"... just because al Qaida has adopted the Iraq cause as their own doesn’t mean we’ve damaged al Qaida by taking down the Baathist regime --- especially by doing it so incompetently. Just as likely --- in fact far more likely --- is that we’ve just handed them a useful recruiting tool while distracting ourselves from pursuing more effective means of extirpating them.

--Josh Marshall