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Can We Win the War on Terror?

By Bruce Crabtree

First of all, let us determine what's really going on. Is the term "War On Terrorism" an accurate description of reality, or something spit out of some spin-doctor's word processor? (Remember LBJ's War on Poverty? - Pure spin) Let's view current conditions from several perspectives to see if we can get a better grasp on the realities of our times.

View Number One: The Forces of History. We are witnessing the collision of historical forces which possess immense inertia: Globalism in collision with Tribalism - Democracy in collision with Feudalism - Western Culture in collision with Mid-Eastern Culture. In a sense, we are like dolphins watching immense icebergs grinding into one another, unable to do anything but watch until the inertia has been dissipated. Does that mean we have to be passive? No, just keep things in perspective.

View Number Two: Innocent Victims Reacting to a Vicious Assault. There's no doubt about the vicious assault, but just how innocent are we as a nation? How many tin-pot dictators have we propped up in the name of national interest? We even helped put the Taliban in business. We have our own would-be Taliban right here in America in the form of the Rev. Falwells and their ilk, so let's not get too anxious to call the kettle black. How many times have we, as a nation, looked the other way when something really rotten was going down somewhere in the world? How many times have we wimped out when we had the opportunity to eliminate terrorist institutions? What, you don't remember George Bush Sr. cuffing Saddam Hussein on the shoulder in 1991, saying, "Don't do that any more, you naughty boy"?

View Number Three: Real People Searching For Real-World Solutions. Somewhere, somewhen, there is always the point where the rubber meets the road. Well, folks, we've got skid-marks up our collective backside. It's time to get off our theoretical duffs, roll up our sleeves, and come up with real, practical, solutions.

Now, let us survey our resources:

(1) Our Federal agencies - If a more arrogant bunch of inept bumblers ever existed, I don't know when or where. Our CIA has become partly a bunch of techno-geek knob-tweakers and partly a bunch of thinly-deployed spooks who didn't have a clue that the terrorists were planning to attack the WTC. And of course, the FBI just can't seem to resist persecuting Americans on their own soil, whether that be killing off members of the American Indian Movement, or killing off members of the Weaver family in Idaho, or killing off the religious twinkies outside Waco ... and the beat goes on. They can't even keep tabs on their own agents -this Hanson guy, for example. He sold secrets to the Russkies for twenty years, for cryin' out loud! If the FBI can't even control their own computers or conduct accurate laboratory analyses, how the hell are they going to conduct some sort of sophisticated anti-terrorist program? And the BATF and INS? Well, I just have to break into a couple of chuckles and a guffaw over those guys. There is a bright side to this, however. If these agencies weren't such bumblers, they'd be much farther along in assaulting our constitutional rights by now.

(2) Our armed forces - As always, whenever circumstances demand, we rely on our service men and women (and, of course, to quote a popular Army song, They call out the Reserves). Thank goodness we have these dedicated, patriotic professionals to defend us and our Constitution! Yes, we can count on them, but that doesn't give us the right to send them into untenable, unwinnable situations (Remember McNamara's Folly?). Let the Afgan Northern Alliance and the Pashtun tribes do most of the Infantry grunt-work!

(3) We, the People - Let's face it, we are our own greatest resource. We come from a long line of self-reliant peoples. Since the defensive theater of operations is here in America, we as a people are going to have to step up to the plate and deal with these terrorists, rather than waiting around for Big Brother to come bumbling along to solve our problems for us. We have, dwelling among us, individuals who possess the fortitude, the patience, the training, the stability, and the quiet patriotism, necessary to deal with this or any other emergency that comes along . . . we always have. Let's call on these individuals to step forth to protect our nation in an organized, coordinated manner - under the aegis of the Homeland Defense Agency if necessary. I'd volunteer. I'm physically fit and healthy, and I don't mind coming out of semi-retirement long enough to get some sort of effective homeland defense system going. I dare say there are thousands like me willing to go the extra mile to defend our way of life. I know America will endure and prevail, whether historians consider this ordeal a war . . . or the quest for justice!

How about you? Remember JFK's words, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country!" How much are you willing to contribute to ensure this nation survives? But to answer the original question: Yes, we certainly can win, BUT if this nation slides down that slippery slope toward accepting an authoritarian government in the name of security, then we will have lost the battle no matter how many terrorists we eliminate.