Stop the War!

Sep 19, 2009, 11:55 am by Paul Stiverson

I’ve been thinking about making this post for a while, but when I read why that Iraqi reporter threw his shoe at George Bush it sealed it. What he wrote fully cemented my pro-peace sentiments. We are, thankfully, on our way out of Iraq but we are ramping up forces in Afghanistan so this post is still very relevant.

If you want to know how people are able to commit such unthinkable acts as occurred on 9/11 then you really need look no further than why the shoe was thrown. It is a perfect snapshot of the (probable) feelings of millions in Iraq right now who are upset at seeing their homeland turned to Swiss cheese for the last 6 years. Millions of people who have witnessed their neighbors, friends, and relatives burnt, dying, dead, or rounded up for questioning; and not all of them have the luxury of throwing their shoe at the person most directly responsible. It is entirely plausible that some clever Iraqi will find a more harrowing way to lash out at those who invaded his homeland, and it is a complete certainty that organized terrorist groups are gaining recruits as direct result of our invasion of Iraq.

But wait, our invasion of Iraq was to remove Saddam Hussein, we were liberating Iraq from an oppressive regime! Those ungrateful bastards were supposed to greet us as liberators! Well, here in reality people don’t like it when uninvited foreigners tell them how they should be living, their disdain for outsiders meddling is increased with proximity. We have a ready example here at home, just look at the vitriol and hatred coming from the right about a perceived outsider—not an actual outsider, just somebody from a different party—meddling with their government. There are preachers praying for Obama’s death, and he is our duly elected president. Imagine for a moment that there were direct evidence that Obama hailed from a different country, not just tenuous rumors that he was born in another country, but imagine that he was wearing another nation’s flag on his shoulder every day as he administered our government and “kept peace” with an army of jack-booted thugs likewise from another country. Imagine the hatred that would emanate from nearly every American in that situation. That is the sort of thing you don’t soon forget.

But wait, Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, and he was hell-bent on using them on Americans! Our strike was a pre-emptive one! LOL.

The simple fact is that we had no right to go into Iraq, and that our presence has not been universally well recieved. Our intensions might have been noble (I don’t believe that they were), but we put our big dick in the sand of somebody else’s desert and it is going to have consequences. Hopefully those consequences will be mostly shoe-throwing related, and not involve explosive ordinance.

But wait, Afghanistan is different, those people attacked us! We deserve our revenge need to make the world safe from terrorism! Fifteen of the nineteen hijackers were from SAUDI ARABIA, in fact not one of the hijackers was from Afghanistan. To be fair, the central planning did go down in Afghanistan, but that doesn’t change the fact that a large-scale invasion is not the appropriate way to combat organized or decentralized terrorism. Counter-intelligence and public relations are effective ways to fight terrorism. Public relations to prevent people from hating us enough to attack, and counter-intelligence to thwart those who would attack us. It is the case that 9/11 could have been prevented by following up on data known at the time.

I do think that stopping terrorism is a noble cause, but I do not think that fighting a war is the right way to do it. “For not by hatred is hatred appeased, hatred is appeased by non-hatred only.” Bin Laden is heart set on attacking us, and that cannot be denied—we have the evidence—but let us not forget that we are the ones that elevated Bin Laden to his current status by employing him to fight the Soviets. Going into Afghanistan to kill thousands isn’t going to heal any wounds, it is only going to create new ones and facilitate future hatred. Let us do the right thing, turn the other cheek and put this old hatred to bed (and pay attention to future security briefings, and follow up on good intelligence).

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lew Says:

Sep 20, 2009

I agree %100 on Iraq. I don't think so about Afghanistan. I think we are trying to finish what we started in Charlie Wilson's War back in the 80s. We helped them protect their country but then didn't help them rebuild. We had a chance to set things right following the initial invasion but then Bush ignored Afghanistan and let it fester while he was focused on Iraq. Now we are trying to make up lost ground and rebuild both Afghanistan and Pakistan. If we left the situation could really turn to shit in both countries. We are doing a good job getting out of Iraq and we need to get Afghanistan to similar state before we can leave. I think Obama is starting on a good track, shifting the focus to protecting the population to regain their trust, and rebuilding their whole damn country. After abandoning them in the 80s I think we owe it to them to finish the job and help them prop themselves up on their feet.

Paul Stiverson Says:

Sep 24, 2009

It is true that we made a mess of things, but that is no excuse to continue making a mess of things. Also, armies are not particularly good at 'rebuilding' countries; they are great at precipitating rebuilding, but not so great at the actual rebuilding.

The point of the intro to my post was to make note that a military force is not the appropriate body to send if you want to regain trust.

lew Says:

Sep 24, 2009

The military is good at protecting the population and protecting the people doing the rebuilding.

Paul Stiverson Says:

Oct 12, 2009

What I do know for sure is that if the US ramps up its military presence without a commensurate increase in governance and infrastructure programs, the insurgency will only grow. Especially if those armed foreigners show up and turn even more villages into battle fields.

Well, thank you for agreeing with me there, leaders of Afghanistan.

Paul Stiverson Says:

Oct 21, 2009

The independent weighs in.

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