Monday, January 02, 2006

Endless War, Endless fear

As the Iraq War goes on and we hear the debate over when to pull troops out or how do we define victory, it's curious to me why we don't hear the same debate about The War On Terrorism.

Are there people that really believe that there will be a time that there are no terrorists? I read a lot of history and there really has never been a time that someone couldn't be described as a terrorist. Whether it was a nation or empire that was doing the terrorism on other people or whether it was an opposition terrorizing a nation state, there has always been those who were viewed as "evil" by the type of actions that were used.

England viewed the American colonies as terrorists by the acts of disobedience they used such as the Boston Tea Party. And during the Revolutionary War the American force (insurgents) used what would be termed today as guerilla tactics and England considered the Colonial Army as evil renegades. Later the United States terrorized Native Americans in the sweep of manifest destiny using terrorists tactics, such as brning of villages, yet the US government called the indigenous opposition evil (literally) and as wagers of terrorism, such as scalpings.

A historian could easily trace a history of terrorism from practically the dawn of man. Terrorism is nothing but political war tactics that are deemed appalling to the recipient of the attacks. The aspect that the tactic is appalling to the recipient is the inner feelings of fear and that's why terrorism past and present ellicits such strong reactions from those that are being attacked. Further it's the discovery that a tactic induces that fear which causes the attacker to consider it a successful tool and to use it even more.

I'd have to say that when we decide that Al Qaeda type attacks are not considered so appalling is when we'll decide that the War On Terrorism is over. Sure, there may be a time that these type of attacks are reduced, but will they ever be completed stopped, not likely. We don't even name the same type of attacks on our country as always terrorism. The Oklahoma City bombing done by an American did not get the terrorist label. Yet the exact same truck bomb attack was used by Al Qaeda on US embassies and that was called terrorism.

My problem with this War On Terrorism is that we are being told that this is some type of new war and could last decades. This "new war" is being waged with many crossings into our Constitutional rights. Secret spying, torture, suspensions of habeous corpus, etc. are deemed neccesary in this new war. But I'm not buying it.

Going back to World War II, we can trace nearly a continuous line of wars, every one different from the next, that the US has been involved in, WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, Granada, Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Gulf War, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, and I'm probably missing a few and have the order mixed up. Somehow only this War On Terrorism justifies being called a new war and stepping on Constitutional rights.

And no these examples are not to be called "conventional warfare" if a person does the research and understands all that was involved in most of these wars. Conventional war is only a defintion of war as a point in time where there seems to be a large agreement in how war should be waged, yet war is simply never the same from one to the next. The use of guns and bullets were at one time seen as a terrorist weapon, just ask Montezuma. The use of napalm in Viet Nam was considered appalling by much of the world and many here in the US, yet the US is one of a handful of countries that refuse to sign an international agreement to ban that type of weapon and we used it early in the Iraq War.

The War On Terror is not some war that we will consider over, as we never deem the War On Drugs as victorious. These type of wars are really just a state of mind, or rather a state of our collective mind. There will be a day that we view the War On Terror as not something to always fear attacks in the recesses of our mind. I mean how many of us really fear terrorism this long after 9/11? Did we fear terrorism for years after the Oklahoma City bombing? Most Americans don't live anywhere near what would be considered a terrorists target. New Yorkers didn't evacuate their city for other parts of the country after 9/11, they adjusted their state of mind to not fear.

Almost 3,000 people died on 9/11, yet we have approximately the same number killed on our roads every month, yet drivers aren't considered terrorists and people live with the knowledge that driving is a dangerous act. The fear factor is the difference, note that we aren't fighting a "War On Traffic" (maybe we should be). As Franklin Roosevelt once famously said, "All we have to fear, is fear itself." We will stop paying much attention to terrorism when we end our collective fear. I for one had done that not long after absorbing the shock of 9/11, but many people will live on in fear. They will buy into the Bush Administrations use of fear to scare Americans into allowing our Constitutional rights to be eroded.

I refuse to give into fear. I don't care what color the terrorist warning threat is, (haven't heard much from that have we?) I live my life on my terms not some vague fear I'm suppose to imagine. I just hope more Americans understand that we are being made to fear by both our government and our media. Simply acknowledging that fact lessens fear quickly. Fear itself is not going to get me!


Blogger Situation Tranquil said...

Rock on Brother

12:51 AM  

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