Monday, May 2, 2011

More Harm than Good

Update.-- I read the Navy Seals who conducted the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound really executed him. He was unarmed and not putting up any defense. He was simply shot. Ok, I can live with it considering what he's done, but why not say that in the announcement than hide behind a self-defense argument?

While the vast majority people in and from the Middle East applaud the death of Osama bin Laden, some don't and won't, and now knowing he was executed won't help us since they'll be more energized against us. I won't argue Al Qaeda is in its waning years as their host countries dwindle to a handful and we're focused on them now, but let's not kid ourselves into believing he was the movement anymore. A symbol yes, but the leader, no. And now a martyr.

I was reading this morning about President Obama announcing the death of Osama bin Laden and his quick burial at sea, which is strange considering the distance involved, but not when you consider the politics of keeping his grave from becoming a shrine. Anyway, I wonder about the US engaging in a firefight in the town of Abbottabad, which is home to the Pakistan's military training academy.

While it seems to me to know where Osama bin Laden has been hiding all these years, and I realized many Americans want personal closure for 9/11, I'm not sure it was a good thing to kill him, but rather more to let him die without any US help. Now we have the vast number of supporters of Al Qaeda around the world energized against the US.

In short, while it was good to get closure, that closure has opened a new door in the fight against Al Qaeda, by painting a target on every American everywhere, but more so every American installation in foreign countries and against every American in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We have bulleyes on our backs.

It's one thing to be proud of your country, your nation and the people, as I have served my country in the military and civilian service, but it's another to be arrogant beyond reality. And we are an arrogant people, proud to the point we think we are the best and angry when proven wrong or hit hard enough to feel real pain.

The attacks on 9/11 showed that. It was a statement against the World, remembering people from over 100 nations died in the WTC buildings and in the aftermath. The attacks showed we were blind to our own global view of the world and relations with other countries, treating them as puppets than soverign nations. And Al Qaeda punched us in the nose, and bloodied it badly.

But we survived, proudly, but we should not survive arrogant. But I think this was a case of our arrogance. We went in alone, obviously with the tacit approval of the Pakistan government, and we killed Osama bin Laden and others, capturing the rest, and then we quickly departed with those captives and bodies. Where are they now?

We have become to think we are the world's police against terrorism, and for all the wrong reasons and beliefs. We shouldn't be the world's police against terrorism because it automatically makes us the biggest and fattest target. Everywhere. Everyone. Americans will no longer be safe in many countries.

Pride is one thing, a good thing, but pride beyond common sense and humility is not a good thing. It's arrogance beyond any sense of reality. We have become an angry nation since 9/11. The military and more so intelligence have grown beyond any real need for the defense of this country and protection of Americans.

It's grown into making us a military and intelligence based nation where everyone, including everyone here, are suspected terrorists and will be, and has been on occasion, treated as terrorists suspenending our rights, liberties and protections guarranteed under the Constitution.

We have traded a false sense of our rights for the security of this country and war against terrorists. There are far more things more important than that fight. But politicians, including his President, has made it appear it's our most important fight. It's not. It's something to be done, but not at the price we've paid.

The price in cost of two wars, one which could have been quick (Afghanistan) and one which was totally unnecessary (Iraq). All in the name of arrogance and global politics. Pride in the first one and oil in the second. Ourselves in the first and energy corporations in the second. And now we think we have won, but it's only one day in many more to come.

The worst is yet to come. In Afghanistan. In Iraq. And everywhere Americans are or travel. We have become the enemy once again. And while they don't have the sheer force to match us, they can, and I bet will, bloody our nose again, and keep trying, making us drain the bank account of our future generations to fight back.

They spend pennies and lives, we spend billions on credit. Is this really a fight against terrorists or one of economics?

More American soldiers have died in Afghanistan and Iraq since 9/11 than in the WTC and Pentagon attacks. And these lives were at our choosing. We sacrificed more than they took. For what? Osama bin Laden? And we arrogantly stand there and say it was worth the fight? All those soldiers?


The answer to me is yes and no. I would argue it could have and should have been done not just differently but better. We sacrificed a quick victory in Afghanistan, including capturing or killing Osama bin Laden in 2002-03 if it not for the illegal diversion of funds for Aghanistan by Bush and Cheney to prepare for war against Iraq. And we know what has happened in both places.

Two countries we can't leave, and will continue to stay for imaginary reason of global politics giving politicians the fodder to create fear of terrorists and win money for more military and intelligence, ultimately turned against us. And we, in our arrogance, will think it's a good thing. A national thing. An American thing.

But is it really? Or just a political sham and game for power and money. Was Osama bin Laden worth all these past years? Was it worth the price to our country, to our nation, to our international reputation and standing, to ourselves?

We each have our own answer, as have I, but what of our collective answer? One that is honest and truthful than arrogant and expensives in lives lost since, money long spent, and a debt grown larger? Will we think in the future it was worth it? Or will we see the truth and reality of it?

What will we think then? What will the future generations think? Think of us? Rather than look in the past for closure, maybe we should have looked to the future? And decided what is and will be best for then and them?

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