The Ongoing Obscenity of Our War on Terrorism
by Rev. Paul J. Bern
The war in Afghanistan lasted more than 11 years as of this year. The original reason for the US military invasion was to hunt down and capture or kill Osama Bin Laden as the chief perpetrator of the 9/11 attacks. The reason it took the US military more than a decade to find him was because they were looking in the wrong country. Oops, sorry Mr. or Mrs. taxpayer, we got the right guy but we had the wrong address. Oh well. At the height of its military operations, the United States was spending $60 billion per month on the twin wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. That is not counting all the other bases the US military now has in well over 100 countries around the world, such as Germany, Japan, Okinawa, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, to name a few of the major ones.
This leads to a fundamental question; why are our military forces still there after fighting the longest war the US military ever fought? Osama Bin Laden is long gone and we are still there, seemingly chasing our own tails. But that was before the truth came out about two things. First, Afghanistan is a country with vast untapped natural resources, including enormous copper deposits. Second, all the fuss about Afghanistan’s poppy seed crop being a target of the ‘drug war’ here in the US is just a bunch of bull. Upon closer examination of what has been happening there out of sight of the American public, it becomes apparent that it is none other than the CIA running the show. So when you see teenage gang members selling heroin on any given street corner in America, you can thank the CIA. This is a stark contrast to what I have been teaching about being a people of peace. It brings the US “war on terror” into sharp focus and sheds light on the hypocrisy of the American Empire’s military machine and its illegal incursions into third world countries where it does not belong. The truth of the matter is that the U.S. position with respect to the dictators in the Arab world has been one of pure hypocrisy. We have supported these tyrants in the name of “stability” and the “war on terrorism”, but it has been a policy that has contributed mightily to the oppression of the people in those countries (which is a betrayal of our own revolutionary past, not to mention our fight against tyranny, as well as exacerbating the Islamic terrorism being used against us).
It has been amazing that the people who are in revolt against the dictators and their regimes haven’t linked the U.S. with the tyranny they have been forced to live under. Contrary to what is being reported in the Lame Stream Media, their rebellions have been non sectarian, grass roots and non ideological in every country they have occurred and completely unrelated to Islamic fundamentalist or ‘jihadist’ terrorism. That last fact would seem to expose and make America’s policy in the “war on terrorism” while initiating wars in the Muslim world obsolete and absurd. The irony is there has been little if any mention in the media of our wars and the war on terrorism possibly because they have had nothing to do with these Arab rebellions. Yet it is a topic of urgent need. The closest form of mentioning anything in this regard came from “W’s” administration Secretary of Defense Robert Gates who said during Bush 43’s second term in office, “Any new secretary of defense who advises a president to engage in land wars with vast armies in foreign lands needs to have his head examined”.
The fact is our entire policy of pre-emptive war and occupation and the whole “war on terrorism” is a ruse, an unnecessary and a cruel invention concocted by neo-conservatives and cold war warriors who were itching to replace the defunct Soviet Union with an enemy we must oppose in a fight to the death (as we now see in our endless “war on terrorism”). Not only is the war on terror a reason for the American Empire to exist, it has become the only reason for its existence. It was and is a fantasy perpetrated by them and foisted on the American people. The terrorist attacks on 9/11 became their cause for that endless war and is the real, but unfortunate, legacy of that fateful day. But in light of the unfolding democratic “awakening” in much of the Arab world can there not be serious discussions deep in the bowels of the White House of the absurdity of our continuing to fight wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen as well as Iraq (not to mention the proxy war the CIA has been fighting against the Assad regime in Syria)? Gates’ comments allude to the insanity of fighting these wars (even if he put it in the context of new misadventures). From here it seems the U.S. resembles (in its ability to end its wars) a giant ship at sea that takes an excruciatingly long time to reverse course. Like the Viet Nam quagmire we seem stuck, committed to the un-winnable yet unwilling and unable to face reality. War is an ongoing obscenity.