"Don't you remember 9/11?" asked the caller to WTMA.
I replied, "I certainly do remember 9/11, sir, which is why I want to bring the troops home from Iraq immediately. I want to prevent it from happening again"
"Well, Jack," the caller continued, "either we fight them over there or we fight them on Calhoun Street."
Despite our disagreement, the caller was nothing but a gentleman and a sincere patriot. But it still amazes me that our leaders have been able to con enough Americans into believing such fiction.
The notion that fighting terrorism overseas is the only way to prevent it from happening at home is worse than wrong — it's the exact opposite. Writes former CIA terrorism expert Michael Scheuer, "On no other foreign policy issue since the Cold War's end has the truth been so easy to establish on the basis of hard facts but so hard for Americans to see ... that Muslim hatred is motivated by U.S. interventionism more than any other factor."
From the perspective of the Islamic world, the U.S. is a permanent occupying force that for decades has soiled their holy land. In fact, Osama bin Laden has explained that the main reason why he attacked America was because "infidels" were on the Arabian Peninsula. In the eyes of the Islamic world, Al-Qaeda didn't start a war with the United States on Sept. 11, 2001 — they were fighting back.
The most gung-ho supporters of the Vietnam War believed that if communism gained a foothold in the small Southeast Asian country, the surrounding countries would soon follow. Our debacle in Vietnam neither proved nor disproved the domino theory, but most defenders of that war still subscribe to it.
But not in the Middle East. Pointing out how America's habit of setting up and pushing down dominoes in Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Pakistan, and beyond has consistently led to even worse problems invites accusations that you are being unpatriotic, perhaps even treasonous. These accusers are often the same folks who defend the Vietnam War on the same principle. It's called selective reasoning.
Conservatives rightly criticize liberals for believing the answer to ending poverty is to offer even more of the government welfare that causes it. But pro-war conservatives continue to suggest that we can only end terrorism by offering even more of the foreign intervention that caused 9/11. Again, selective reasoning.
After a half century of U.S. intervention in the Middle East, what exactly have we won? And what have any of our actions since 9/11 done to combat terrorism? Al-Qaeda has exploded in numbers and anti-American sentiment is more widespread than ever. The conditions cited by bin Laden for carrying out 9/11 are larger and infinitely more severe now than before he attacked us.
What does temporarily quelling the never-ending hatred between Sunni and Shiite in Iraq with a "surge" do to "defeat" Al-Qaeda, an outfit with countless members in 80 different countries and which apparently has an easier time recruiting new soldiers than the U.S. military? If the U.S. occupied every single Middle Eastern nation, Al-Qaeda would remain stronger than ever. You can't fight a war against an international network of individuals by invading nation-states. In fact, you guarantee their success.
In addition to getting serious about border control and becoming much more selective about who we allow into this country, the first and clearest necessity in fighting any war on terror is to bring every last American soldier home. There is virtually no positive argument in terms of safety, dollars, and curtailing any future terrorist threats other than the U.S. extracting itself militarily from the Middle East as much as possible. In trying to "fight them over there," we are insuring that they will want to fight us here.
We don't want another 9/11. The current war on terror is nothing less than a war for terror. It's time to end it.
Catch Southern Avenger commentaries every Tuesday and Friday at 7:50 a.m. on the "Morning Buzz with Richard Todd" on 1250 AM WTMA.