War on Terror and Political Parties

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History teaches that civilizations ebb and flow like the tide. They ebb and flow due to an infinite number of influences and variables. It is natural in the affairs of humankind that what they build, will not last. Nature will eventually undo all that humankind has exerted such strenuous efforts to make permanent. The reason is that nature is in the core of humankind on this earth. The one and only hope of humankind to make anything permanent, is to conquer space travel and thus insure the continuation of the species long after this earth is a crusted cinder.

I know, this sounds a bit metaphysical. But, the very best an individual can do is open their mind and eyes to what is real. I don't know for sure if this latest reaction to 9/11 will commit America to a path of diminishment, or not. But, at some point I hope Americans will see that we kill more people in auto accidents, more Americans are maimed or die each year from pollution and medical malpractice than died in the 9/11 attacks. As Prof. Michael E. Tigar warns, we must not become used to the word terrorism nor comfortable with Bush's answer to it.

9/11 can be a wound which we heal, or a cancer that spreads throughout our national psyche, choking off rational and intelligent action directed at preserving what is good and great in our society. The very concept of a War on Terrorism is a form of cancer on the psyche of our national consciousness.

First, the concept of a War on Terrorism presumes that it can be won and terrorism can be eradicated. Human history attests that this is patently false. Human beings have engaged in terrorist acts for as long as they have gathered into groups. It is a natural outcome of human social psychology. Oppressed or threatened groups will engage in intense hostile acts against oppressing or threatening groups with only one rule to guide them. That rule is to end the oppression or threat. It matters little in history if the threat or oppression is real or imagined. There are actions we can take to reduce the incidence and effects of terrorist activities to the extent that we can diminish perceived oppression or threats by groups. But, it is a complete fallacy that we can create a utopia in which all human gatherings are happy with themselves, their neighbors, and other human gatherings.

Second, building on the false notion in the paragraph above, if we send armies to war on those who use terrorism against us or pose a potential threat sometime in the future (Iraq), we only throw fuel on the terrorist fire. I use the word 'we' to represent America. If the war on terrorism is an American war, and not a unified United Nations/NATO war on terrorism, we do little more than highlight the target on our American backs and give laser like focus to their targets.

Lastly, just as human civilization ebbs and flows, so too do political ideologies. One of the greatest hopes I have, stems from the very fact that the Republican Party has all the power it could reasonably expect in a pluralist society, and now has no choice but to reveal its leadership's true character through action. As time goes by, more and more Americans are awaking to the stark differences between the Republican Party's platform ideals and campaign promises for peace, prosperity and unity, and their Congressional and Executive behavior. My Mom taught me to know a person by what they do, not what they say. I believe most Americans have that common sense about them as well - and it just takes time for the contrast to be drawn in the minds of the citizenry.

Hopefully, we will not then turn everything back over to the Democrats. For like the Republican Party, the membership desire the party platform promises, but the leadership ends up following its own agenda. If we do turn it all back to the Democrats, we will go through it all over again with another set of idealistic platitudes which become subservient to the main goal of its leadership, increasing and maintaining power. The Democratic Party is as inherently flawed for this very reason as the Republican Party. Hopefully, the American people will realize that the best government is a split and divided government that only has the ability to promote its party agendas through compromise, trade offs, and appeal to a broad based majority of Americans.

Hopefully, Americans will realize that the first step to the best government America can produce is to dismantle or completely overhaul the Federal Elections Commission which protects the two party system and the ever revolving door between parties and their rhetoric vs. behavior. Dismantling or overhauling the FEC to permit full and equal ballot access to qualifying third parties will be a major down payment on a government that is forced to act in greater compliance with the will of the mainstream majority of Americans regardless of liberal or conservative bent.

But before even that can take place, we must purge our collective consciousness of the false and cancerous idea that we, and we alone, are capable of ridding the world of terrorism. That path will only lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy in which we elevate terrorism to a new role of media respect for the ad dollars such stories can and will generate. And thus, give the most valuable tool and powerful weapon terrorists could possibly dream of having, media attention. We didn’t win the war on drugs; - we lost it by fighting it with police force. We did not win the war on Communism; - we lost it by fighting it with Weapons of Mass Destruction which killed innocents. We will not win the War on Terrorism by fighting it with Armies. And we must recognize the possibility that Terrorists can have serious moral goals, and the powerful weapon those can be against us.

We must address the root causes of chemical dependence to win a huge reduction in substance abuse. We must address the root causes of the appeal of Communism to a quarter of world's people. We must address the root causes that make terrorism an effective method of elevating sympathy and status to terrorists in the media.

The primary and only successful long term function and role of our armies should be to defend. When we use our armies to aggress without first being attacked or first proving that we are about to be attacked, we give those whom our armies oppose, the high moral ground to recruit and defend against us. And when we give our armies’ enemy the high moral ground as in Abu Ghraib, or Iraq itself by preemptive invasion, we all but guarantee lack of support at home for such use of our troops and the spilling of their blood. For if the cause or the methods are not just, the will to sustain the effort will fade. And that is the greatest concern of the Bush administration, and rightfully so.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on May 10, 2004 4:12 PM.

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