posted on Jul, 11 2006 @ 08:57 PM
The problem with the "war on terror" is that it is a nebulous, ill-defined, poorly-conceived affair. The question of whether we are "winning" or
not cannot be answered until we can first answer the following:
1. Who is the enemy?
2. What do we want from the enemy?
3. At what point will we be willing to make peace with the enemy?
4. With whom will we negotiate in order to end the war on favorable terms to ourselves?
We can perform this analysis with any war that really was a war in our history. For example, in the European theater of World war II, the answers
would have been:
1. The enemy was Nazi Germany.
2. We wanted unconditional surrender.
3. We would be willing to make peace once the enemy surrendered unconditionally.
4. While he was alive, we would have negotiated with Adolf Hitler. Once he was dead, we negotiated with surviving government and military
Or, in Vietnam:
1. The enemy was North Vietnam and the Viet Cong.
2. We wanted the enemy to accept the partition of the country and cease attempting to reunify it, especially by force.
3. We would have been willing to make peace once the Viet Cong laid down their arms and North Vietnam agreed to recognize South Vietnam.
4. We negotiated with the government of North Vietnam.
Now, in reality, we lost the Vietnam War, so let's look at it from the enemy's perspective.
1. The enemy was the United States.
2. They wanted us to pull our troops out of the country and let them settle their affairs internally.
3. They were willing to make peace with us as soon as we agreed to do this.
4. They negotiated with the U.S. government.
And of course, eventually we did agree to do this, and we've been at peace with North Vietnam ever since. That's part of what wars are about. They
come to an end as soon as one party is ready to give the other what it wants, or as soon as one party is willing to settle for something the other
party is willing to give it.
Can someone do a similar analysis with respect to the "war on terror"? If not, then what we have here is not a war, and we should stop calling it
one, or at least recognize that we are speaking metaphorically.
While I'm on this subject, let me also correct two common misimpressions.
First: Muslim fanatics do not hate the U.S. for our "beliefs and way of life." Yes, they do see us as irreligious libertines, but they see a lot
of other countries as irreligious libertines, too. Yet we, not those other countries, are their prime target. Why? Because we interfere in Muslim
countries for our own profit to their loss. We support tyrants. We support Israel. We provoke wars between Muslim nations. We pay off ruling
elites to sell us their country's oil to no gain of the ordinary people. These are the reasons we are hated. That we are irreligious libertines
just adds insult to injury, and would not be sufficient reason by itself.
Second: What Osama bin Ladin thinks of us is irrelevant. What his followers think of us is what counts. We do not need to do what would be needed
to make him like us. We need to do what is needed to make ordinary Muslims like us, or at least not hate us enough to let bin Ladin manipulate them
into dying to do us harm. Luckily, that is a much easier task. I think bin Ladin's opposition is probably incurable. That of ordinary Muslims,
however, is not.