I don’t mean to suggest you need to lose it in the sense opposite victory. It was never possible to win it that way anyway. It was Cheneyesque lunacy to push the line that victory was a realistic outcome to begin with, if we still live in the world of long-accepted definitions for items in our vocabulary. At best, it was never more than a slogan designed to capture the support of that broad stripe of the populace who are satisfied to take their intellectual nourishment in sound bites. Your predecessor has demonstrated forcefully that this approach creates more dead innocents and live terrorists that any other factor, and contributes to our national and moral bankruptcy in the process. There is no GWOT victory possible.
Defeat is possible, however, and becomes more likely the longer we live by slogans coined for the simple-minded. Take us back to being a nation that speaks simply and resoundingly before picking up the big stick. In the case of terrorism, with each individual skirmish or incident involving numbers of combatants no greater than could be seated on a city bus, the big stick is less useful than the standard tool kit already employed by law enforcement forces in most developed nations. The Europeans have enjoyed impressive success combatting terror without destroying entire nations. Israel might like to try, but their case is unique, and like the US, her people are not of one mind about strategies for peace with her neighbors.
Sir, I respectfully urge you to declare an end of the use of the phrase, “Global War on Terror” by all government officials. War, as provided for in the Constitution, is a blunt instrument. What is needed are finely tuned, complex procedures, methods and weapons that are as easily taught, lawful, precise and effective as those used for many years by Interpol, the FBI, Scotland Yard and the top security forces of such countries as Japan, Germany, and Spain, with long experience dealing with small but determined individuals and bands of fanatics and zealots who are bent on killing innocents and destroying communities in service to their hopeless and narrowly supported causes. Wholesale invasion and indiscriminate widespread attacks throughout entire regions in an effort to kill or capture a few criminals, only results in enraging citizens who, lacking jobs, incomes, and opportunities for better, become willing fodder for the planners of suicide attacks designed to kill, maim make mayhem.
We are enablers of terrorism. It’s time to stop supporting the terrorists in this way. The only ones who can claim victory by this approach are the corporations and security contractors who reap billions in public funds for “protecti0n”, all the while stirring up populations that, if the same funds were shared among them for the improvement of their lives, would become allies in the resistance to terror. Until we abandon the GWOT as an instrument of official policy, we show ourselves to be the same kind of sorry losers as those we seek to defeat, demonstrating along the way our blindness to the origins of terror in dismal social conditions, not in the simplistic formulations fed us for so long by G.W. Bush and his crowd. To hear them spin it (and praise whatever provident force pervades our universe, we don’t have to do that for much longer!), there are millions of Afghans and Iraqis running around shrieking “I hate freedom! Death to America”. We are the mirror image of the lame caricatures of late night comics.
Let’s get serious about making the world safe from terror by making the world safe from ignorance, disease, inhumanity, militarism, greed, corruption and brutality, to name but a few of our problems. That’s not a struggle that can be won if our only stratagem is to blow up everything we seek to bring to an end.