Dueling Twins

After Afghanistan

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The 'Dueling Twins'

The best revenge is massive success. - Frank Sinatra

Point:

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After Afghanistan
 
James Hall, From the Left

Okay, we pretty much did what we came to do in Afghanistan--we destroyed the Al-Qaeda camps, its infrastructure and much of its leadership.  We got rid of its Taliban hosts so that the Al Qaeda will no longer find a convenient home there, and we've collected some prisoners and a lot of documents that will help us roll up the hidden Al Qaeda cells scattered around the world. As of this writing, we've not captured Usama bin Laden or his Taliban ally Mullah Omar, and for many people that makes the effort incomplete, but for all intents and purposes, the focus of Mr. Bush's war on terrorism will soon be off of Afghanistan and poised to go somewhere else.  Where will that be?

Some say the war's focus will shift to Iraq.  It's clear that the Bush administration looks on Saddam Hussein as unfinished business, and would dearly love to take care of that business.  Problem is, the current and future new UN sanctions are still working to keep Saddam from being a threat to his neighbors.  He isn't doing anything right now that would compel us to go after him, and if we do, we'll lose a lot of support from European and Islamic allies that may be crucial to fighting future terrorists elsewhere.  Despite the urgent desire of the Bush administration, our best approach to Iraq at this time is to uphold the status quo.

A better focus for the next stage of the war, and one that certainly won't go away, is the situation in Israel and Palestine.  As a result of recent attacks on civilians in public areas, including Israel's largest shopping mall, the Bush administration now lists the Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad as terrorist organizations.  The administration now supports the right of Israel to defend itself against these attacks, which it must do be consistent with our own policy of attacking nations that support or sponsor terrorism.

It's clear that the Bush people want Yasser Arafat to make the same decision that Pakistani leader General Mussharif was forced to make.  Support the coalition, even though a lot of Palestinians back Hamas and Islamic Jihad, or be lumped in with them.  But it's less clear that if Arafat makes Mussharif's decision that it translates into US support for the Palestinian Authority.  Will the US--or even Israel--support Arafat if a civil war or large scale civil unrest takes place in Palestine, or will they stand aside and watch?  And will Arafat's support of the coalition lead to a better deal in a future Israel/Palestine peace accord?  These questions must be answered before progress can be made.

The Israel/Palestine conflict is important to Bush's war on terrorism, and may be the key to winning that war.  So long as it goes on, the conflict diminishes Arab support for the anti-terror coalition and fuels the recruitment of terrorists for a war against Israel and maybe even the United States.  Bush can't hope to win the war on terrorism unless he can help bring about peace in the Middle East.  But that's going to be a much more difficult effort than rooting Al Qaeda out of Afghanistan.

It's also possible that the focus of the war will shift to the home front after Afghanistan.  What about the Anthrax Mailer?  What Al Qaeda cells remain in operation here?  What information can we gather about their plots?  Ironically, the best information we've gathered about plots and the most promising suspects that have been arrested comes not from the US but from Europe, which seems to have been a favorite staging area for Al Qaeda.  Most of the September 11 terrorists, for example, came to the US from Europe.  Other information that proved valuable to understanding Al Qaeda came from the Philippines and the Sudan.

The implications are obvious. The isolationist and unilateralist foreign policies of the past no longer apply in a war on terrorism. We need the support of nations abroad, both now and in the future, to track and arrest terrorist cells before they can strike at Americans and American interests abroad.  What's called for is increased cooperation from the world to defeat terrorism--and this may mean forgoing our desires to try terrorists caught abroad with the death penalty or in military tribunals--a concept of justice that our European allies especially have trouble with.

A focus on the US might prove problematic to the Bush administration.  Because the administration made a conscious decision to arrest any and all potential terrorists before they could act, it has no track record of surveillance, little evidence, and little chance to make strong cases against those arrested.  Because of this, the chances of breaking up new plots and successfully prosecuting Al Qaeda operatives is small.  Looking at the quick success achieved by our military in Afghanistan, the efforts by the Justice Department here in the US will inevitably appear paltry by comparison.

For now the focus of the war on terrorism remains on Afghanistan, and it's sure to be a headline area for quite some time.  But soon that focus will change, and where it rests next will have a major impact on the war's continued success--or on its failure.

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Rebuttal:

Sartre complains that the "war on terrorism" will never end.  But it would be foolish to believe that terrorism will go away permanently all by itself--and especially if we do little to prevent it from returning.  Before too long we can move from a full military mobilization against a well-known national threat, as Afghanistan was, to a different state of readiness where law enforcement carefully tracks down and eliminates outlawed terrorist organizations.  The use of FBI investigators, instead of military personnel to interrogate captured Al Qaeda fighters shows that we are already moving in this direction.

Sartre asks if we've failed to learn the lessons of 1983.  Has he himself forgotten the lesson of 9/11?  Usama bin Laden's stated intention was to destroy the very ideals of liberty and freedom that Sartre cherishes.  Sartre seems to think that if we bring home US forces, the terrorists will be satisfied.  But how will he deal with terrorists whose idea of "US intervention" is seeing a McDonalds on their street corners or American television shows on the local television?  Will Sartre insist we cut off all contact, including trade with the rest of the world in order to keep terrorists happy?

I will agree with Sartre that an indefinite military presence overseas isn't desirable or even required.  Once we've eliminated states that sponsor terrorism, terrorism becomes a matter of law enforcement flushing out groups from their hiding places.  But it would be foolish to believe that withdrawing from the world will make us safe.  That will be seen for what it is--a sign of fear and weakness, not the isolationist principle that Sartre would like to set for America's dealings with the rest of the world..

Ultimately, we must understand that the best response to terror attacks is not to run and hide, but to promise and deliver retaliation to any terror group who wages war against civilians, Americans or otherwise.  This demands from us a vigilant defense, but also a strong offensive capability.  When terrorists know they can't sink back into anonymity after an attack, they will think twice about attacking.  Americans do not cower in their basements, fearing attacks--they go about their business.  Let the terrorists do the cowering.

James Hall, From the Left

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Bring on your Bombs . . .

Counterpoint:

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How Many More Afghanistan's?

By your thinking this 'so called' War on Terror will be endless. Any group that is designated as opposed to American Foreign Policy will now become the target of the wrath of overwhelming power. You are content with this formula for continuous turmoil, because it allows for a perpetual intervention, throughout the world. Did you not learn anything from the tragic 1983 outcome in Lebanon when countries impose themselves in the middle of a civil war?

The advocacy of another "stage of the war", falsely accepts that identifying and holding those responsible for the crimes of 911, can be expanded into a holy cause against selected groups that menace the interests of other countries, while not posing a direct threat against America. Visions of removing any potential organization that hates the United States will keep the military mission in high gear indefinitely. This kind of madness that runs the circuit within the Beltway, has no party restriction. The 'War Party' is a bipartisan equal opportunity society . . .

Only dreamers in a distorted fantasy, can claim that a resolution can be imposed upon the combatants in the Middle East. Their war is not ours; but by adopting your tactics, we will be thrust into their conflict with inevitable consequences. Under the guise of wanting peace, your thinking guarantees the continuous shedding of more American blood. If significant numbers of Palestine people support Hamas, as you state; does that make them all terrorists? Ridiculous as that extrapolation may seem, that is exactly what your policies demand. It rivals the lunacy that Bush can help bring peace to this feud, when both clans reject conciliation.

In the hysteria after 911, people's views are clouded with emotion. As tragic as the attack was, America suffered a bloody nose. By contrast, your rabid expansion for eliminating selected terrorists, will never bring real security to our shores. If one is serious to avert further carnage, the U.S. must be accepted as an honest broker; not a partner of only one side. This campaign of will, requires a bridging of cultural biases, if it really seeks to be successful. What we have is closer to a war to win minds, than for bombing remote hideouts.

Our mutual defense will be secured on the home front. At least the 'internationalist' has room for domestic focus. Cooperation with EU nations to identify and track down criminal terrorists is certainly part of the solution. The American First perspective eagerly advocates working with any and all nations, to secure mutual interests. Reducing global terrorist networks, to impotent dissent is a worthy goal. Bring justice to criminals for their crimes, is proper. So why demean your positive appeal, by falsely accusing supporters for America's own interests, as opposing beneficial cooperation among lawful nations?

The death penalty has no deterrent value on radical terrorists. Achieving justice requires accountability, but it also is well served by discrediting the actions behind the crimes. If our rules of evidence are so restrictive that persons, who have not committed a crime, but have ill will towards America; cannot be prosecuted, that is our system. The answer to foreign infiltrators, is simply keeping them out of the country. This approach works, so why not wage your need for war, against the unrestricted entry of undesirables?

What aspect of smugness requires the interventionist to embarrass themselves, when they rally round the UN flag, while they should be saluting the red, white and blue? If peace is so important to the warrior, why is their trade soaked in the blood of an internationalist policy? We all should seek punishment, appropriate to the offense, for the criminal. But what is seen by the Council on Foreign Relations member as an opportunity to further their power, is viewed by much of the world, as just a sophisticated form of a different kind of terror.

The debate always is reducible to the same question: "What is the best interest for the American Nation?" Note that the quiry does not say 'government'. The standard response of the interventionist is to send the troops to foreign soil. In the process, the risk is real that our own form of Hamas 'American Style', is created to achieve the objectives of CFR elites. If you doubt this conclusion, then answer why your support of the current foreign policy, never produces any real security for our Nation? Could it be that your goal, is not really one of peace, but one directed to force any dissenting country back into the fold of the International Community?

In your world, the more Afghanistan's the better. So why should we believe that the terror will stop under your plan? We have suffered under this policy for over a hundred years. How much more success can we stand, since body counts are seldom reported . . .

James Hall aka SARTRE

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Final Word:

It is always amusing to hear the silliness of world experts, when their international experience is confined to their lazy boy, watching 60 minutes. If the 'Guru of the Left' wants to be taken seriously, travel outside your neighborhood and see for yourself the appreciation that the Third World has for American military presence. As usual, the basic point of a positive foreign policy escapes the internationalist.

Securing your own borders with stringent visa approvals, from potential high risk entries, is the single most important step to bring real security to the U.S. Such a measure certainly doesn't resemble a cower in the basement, but a vigilant defender of the home front. The illogical inference that terrorism can be eliminated by rounding up the current crop of outlaws, while magnifying further resentment that accelerates the ranks of replacement, is typical of these myopically challenged; interventionists.

If the protectors of the failed empire fear bin Laden, so much; what is your response to the millions that hate the U.S., as much, if not more? You can't eliminate all the sponsor states with your bombs, even though you wish. For a bleeding heart that loves democracy, why are you so eager to destroy such expressions of self determination? If you want real solutions, drop the nonsense and discover the aspects of effective protection that will secure our national interests.

You are better served with asking questions, than consistently failing to provide useful answers. When you can master asking the correct question, you might start to get it. Al Qaeda didn't attack Ireland or Switzerland! Those who support the NWO empire enforcement machine, identify themselves as the next bull's-eye for attacks and inspire future generations of terrorists. Human conflict is the nature of the beast. Current methods to eliminate the animal, only wounds it, and makes the brute more dangerous. Extinction is forever! What you are killing is not the untamed, but the worthiness of  the society which you claim to be protecting.

James Hall - 'The Right'


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Justice is a temporary thing that must at last come to an end; but the conscience is eternal and will never die.
Martin Luther

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