OK, it’s not going well there, so let’s forget about Afghanistan. Let’s talk about Iraq. What happens when we kill 15,000 Iraqis and bring down Saddam? We were told the thankful populace would greet us with flowers and kisses. We were told that this heartland of worldwide terrorism would quickly transform into a western-style democracy that loves America, provides stability in the war-torn Middle East, and pays for our war there with its own oil revenues. Has all of this happened according to the script? Well, not yet. US forces have lost more dead in Iraq than in the first three years of the Viet Nam war, and the attacks increase daily as we face a growing resistance of 50,000 armed Jihadists and 50 million more rising up in anger throughout the Muslim Middle East.
The fact is, we can’t kill off the terrorists faster than they multiply because each one dead brings 10 more alive into the fight. This is a strategy of madness and we will all be howling into the void we used to call our future if we keep it up. Clearly we didn’t learn the lesson of Viet Nam, that you cannot kill and bomb and poison your way to peace in another culture’s country no matter how many weapons and troops you send over there. The locals resent it and they just keep on coming at you. Those American GI’s in Iraq are the objects of fear, scorn and hatred. They are sitting ducks in the Iraqi shooting gallery, and the dangers they face don’t end with the bullets and mortars and RPG’s of the Iraqi resistance. Those American soldiers are stationed in a profound soul loss theater. Soul loss can happen in the instant it takes to fire a gun at a civilian caught in a crossfire but, like other forms of abuse, it leaves a lifetime wound. All those soldiers will be coming back home and bringing their internalized terror and soul loss with them to add to the mix of an already deeply polarized and angry American society.
There is only one way out. We must realize that our security is linked to the security of our “enemy”. This ironic truth must become the one, clear definition of the “New World Order” if that phrase is ever to get a life. If the New World Order doesn’t stand for multilateral security, then we might as well call it by its true name, the “New War Order”, and write it out enduringly in human blood. We must realize that we don’t get out of danger unless and until the other peoples of the world do too. The terror must end for all or it ends for none of us.
Who will end it, and how?
It’s got to be “US”, not “them”. We must end the relentless pressure and war that we as a nation have subjected the “developing world” to—from the hypocritical and userous policies of the World Bank and WTO to the corporate dirty tricks and suppression of workers’ and indigenous people’s rights, to our support for depraved dictators like Saddam Hussein (when he was America’s chosen leader in Iraq decades ago). We must enter into bilateral and mutually beneficial diplomatic and trade relationships with the other nations of the world, relationships that help the vast body of citizens, not the minority ruling class. We must help strengthen the UN to be the guarantor of international peace and human rights. We must empower the International Court to guarantee justice on a global scale and to render the crimes of war and genocide expressions of the past, not the present.
Beyond these international relationship-nurturing behaviors, we must embrace the future, not the past, beginning with our society’s use of ENERGY. Simply put, an energy policy that relies on resource extraction and poisonous by-products (coal, oil & nuclear) is the old way, and it is dying. Human misery and blood taint these forms of energy, just as slavery was tainted for the centuries it was used as a primary energy source. America’s energy policy of resource extraction and poison has seeded more exploitation and war than any other single issue over the past 150 years. It is precisely that old energy policy, in the guise of our dependence on Middle East oil, that brought the explosions of 911 to our soil.
Like slavery, these forms of energy must be rejected by society, finally and absolutely. Taking their place will be “clean” energy—wind, solar and hydrogen fuel cell are good examples. These are the energy generation technologies of the future—technologies that do not pollute our planet and that do not exploit others till they’re so pissed off they’re willing to strap on a bomb and blow themselves up in a crowd of Americans just to get their point across. It is time we quit making excuses, phase out the old energy forms, and reshape America’s energy use. Our economy will be beneficially reshaped as a result, as will our foreign relations.
It is time for us to realize that the War On Terror is both: it is War and it is Terror, and neither of these can ever give us what we want. It is time to call an end to this charade of leadership and to dump the current crop of “leaders” who have pushed us into this barbarous nonsense. Finally, it is time for our nation to truly lead, not through power over others but by the power of principles in action. Our world desperately needs us to do this, and to begin it now, in our lifetime.
Peter Moore, Editor, Alternatives Magazine