The Travesty of Self-Perpetuating War
by Stan Moore
May 3, 2003
For decades, the American government has declared "war" on various abstractions. There was the "War on Poverty". Then there was the "War on Illiteracy". And the "War on Drugs", the "War on Crime", the "War on Illegal Immigration" and the "War on Smallpox".
There were various degrees of success in these wars, but reviewing the list mentioned above, we still have poverty, illiteracy, drug use, crime, illegal immigration, and we have a resurgence of smallpox.
The War on Terrorism is the only war we can think of that actually produces more of the "enemy" the greater the success of the war might be. By killing terrorists, we create revenge-minded accomplices. By oppressing innocent people in the pursuit of terrorism, we provide the basis for more terrorist recruitment.
Terrorism should not be fought as a military campaign. It should be fought as an international law enforcement campaign, selectively and with prevention as an equal goal to punishment. As the old saying goes, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
America could have easily prevented the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Every single one of the perpetrators were well-known to law enforcement authorities and were issued passports by the American government, often overriding standard State Department protocols that could have easily excluded those people from entering the U.S. Every one of those persons was under direct surveillance by U.S. intelligence authorities, with full knowledge of their activities and associations.
If those attacks on 9/11 had been prevented, a whole lot of human suffering in Afghanistan and elsewhere could have been averted. But perhaps the sensible use of law enforcement tactics to control terrorism as one would control crime was counter to political needs of the American government. It appears that the sensible, more effective approach was determined to be less politically palatable for the usual reasons of economics, greed and expansion of the military/defense/corporate establishment.
Thus, the "War on Terrorism" (after the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001 were allowed to occur) has already cost the U.S taxpayer tens of billions of dollars in "Homeland Security" and warmaking expenses, and has made the U.S. much more vulnerable to future acts of terrorism than ever before. The Bush and neo-conservation agenda of drastically expanding military spending and dominating the world in a military-oriented Pax Americana depended on a "Pearl Harbor"-type event that would galvanize the American people into political support of a military agenda, and lo and behold! -- it happened!
Rather than squelch terrorism by efficient, controlled tactics used by InterPol and international law enforcement agencies; using additional intelligence gathered routinely by national intelligence agencies, it serves warmongering defense-industry interests to have a large-scale war. Better yet the defense establishment benefits by a series of military theater wars, which do not solve the core problem, but perpetuate the need for more and more military action.
Kill a terrorist - create another terrorist. Bomb a city or village -- create many terrorists. Oppress a population -- create many terrorists.
Respond to force with overwhelming force. Create terrorists for the sake of battling terrorists. Keep the cycle going so that the funding cycles for warfare are kept spinning.
Meanwhile, tell the folks at home that there is no more money available for social programs, such as repairing dilapidated school buildings around the land. There is no money to feed hungry children whose parents cannot find work. There is no money to repair infrastructure or to cure sick ecosystems. Those resources are co-opted for the war on terrorism.
The War on Terrorism is a travesty. It is bad strategy for dealing with a real problem. It is wasteful. It misutilizes scarce resources, and transfers wealth from the working class to the wealthy industrialists. It raises the national budget deficit sky-high, up at B-52 level. Like cluster bombs, the War on Terror leaves behind bomblets that cause future, indiscriminate, and counterproductive damage to human bodies as well as minds.
This travesty benefits a minority of already wealthy people, and detracts, not adds to national security. It requires preemption of civil and constitutional liberties in the homeland. It divides America from its allies, and may cause our former allies to conspire against us for their own security purposes.
This war is carried out under an illusion of justice, but perpetuates injustice. It is overly brutal, and underly efficient. It is self-perpetuating and never ending. It drives the country towards financial, spiritual, and moral bankruptcy.
Who needs this War on Terrorism? Follow the money trail, and it is easy to see who benefits from this travesty. This should not be a military effort, but should be an international law enforcement process.
Stan Moore lives in San Geronimo, CA. He can be contacted at: email@example.com