# How we should fight the war on terror.

#### Backtothemac

##### macrumors 601
Original poster
The war on terror. There is a bit of laughter that should come with that statement. As the last three years have unfolded, and the war, which really started over 20 years ago has developed, and as I have had time to view it, my opinion is as follows.

The war is not a winable war. The reason for that is that it is not a traditional war. Here is the problem. How do you win the opinions of those that would kill you. You have two options. Either bow to what they want, or kill them. But the problem is that by killing them, you are only going to give them power. Martyr status. Thus begins a never ending cycle that will continue until the end of time. Example: Israel. They are in a cycle with the palistinians that will never end. There cannot, and will not be peace until both sides agree to live in peace. Madmen do not make such sanctions without political gain. So, both sides have to be viewed as the victor in their minds, and ideologies. It cannot happen.

So, now that the US has been fully brought into the conflict, we are at a crossroads. I have long contended that you must kill the terrorist before they kill you, and in some cases, that is true. But it cannot be a blanket statement that applies to every situation. Example. Say we knew about 9/11. Them we should arrest, or kill those who are going to go through with the plot beforehand. But, should we really go looking for them?

That is the problem that we have now. How do we conduct a war that was forced on us, and yet we continue to force? What is Iraq really. Well, here is my opinion. Iraq is a diversion in a classic sense. It is a place to fight the war, were our civilians will not suffer. With a goal of democracy. The notion that a thriving democracy will lead to others in the region through envy? Reality is that by fighting the Iraq war, we have given the terrorists a haven in which to conduct offensive operations against our military, not our civilians. In some ways this is briliant to protecting the home land, and in others, it is insanity.

We cannot use other countries civilians so that ours are protected. Reguardless of the notion of WMD's, terror links, etc. Iraq was chosen because the initial phase of the war would be simple. An easy enemy to humiliate on the field of battle. The country would then serve as a theater to fight the terroists on "their soil".

The underlying problem is that more, and more are coming. An endless drove of those that hate this country. So, how do we stop it. How do we end this war.

First. We have to leave Israel's fail policies and adopt those of common sense. We cannot blindly follow their whims and be the only power in the world that stands by them. Thus, we must force them to be adopted with the palistinians. We must stand by the UN and enforce the sanctions that have been placed on Israel. We must stand by the palistians and let them know that we will work for them, and Israel. There can be a forced peace if Israel thinks we will leave their side. Futhermore, by enforcing a peace, the radical sects of Islam will view us differently. If we force Israel into adopting a Palistinian state, things will change.

Second. We must remove the debt of poorer countries through the IMF. This has started to happen, but it cannot be words, it has to be reality. We have to adopt a strategy of appeasement. I hate to say it, but money can be a powerful friend, and we have plenty of it.

Third. We have to get out of Iraq in conjuction with the Israeli move. We have to get that country back into the hands of Iraqi's. We have to do it quickly, and it has to be in conjunction with the goal in Israel.

Fourth. We have to secure this country. I am not saying that we have to loose freedoms, but we can secure the boarders, and ports. With technology today, do you really think that we cannot keep those out of this country that we want to keep out? We know more than people think we do.

Fifth. We have to divert funds. 200 billion on Iraq is insane. That 200 billion being put into humanitarian efforts would change the worlds opinion of this country. Thus, if attacked again, it would truely be a world effort answering the call of the United States.

What do you think?

#### zimv20

##### macrumors 601
bttm -- you're pretty spot on, imo. the motivations for terror must be removed, just as the way to fight crime in the US is to improve the living conditions for the disenfranchised.

like crime, terrorist methods can never be completely wiped out. but it can be minimized.

in addition to what you're advocating, i'll add that the US has to remove its nose from others' affairs even more, including making foreign policy decisions based on oil.

the US must -- asap -- make a serious effort at reducing its dependence on oil (it's america's drug). massive investment in alternative fuels and energy efficiency (better CAFE standards, for example) will not only provide a boost to the economy, it'll help create the kinds of high-tech jobs this country could use right now.

additionally, there MUST be better cooperation among first world nations to improve the conditions everywhere else in the world. pissing off allies and taking a me-first / we're-always-right attitude is at cross purposes w/ that spirit of cooperation (to put it mildly).

finally, if the US wants the world to respect it and hold high its self-proclaimed freedom and democratic values, it'd better show that actions speak louder than words. so i say call off this bull**** non-POW status, sign up for the ICC, honor the ABM treaty and allow full UN and Red Cross access to military prisons. and get back in good graces w/ the UN -- we need the rest of the world.

#### toontra

##### macrumors 6502
I think that everything you say makes complete sense.

You and I have had differences over the past years over many aspects of the Iraq war, and terrorism in general. That makes it all the more gratifying to hear you express your dissatisfaction with the current US policy, and further, to propose some really positive ideas for future progress in world security & prosperity.

I have to ask, what was the turning point for you? For a long while it seemed to me that you were supporting US policy in the Iraq war. What changed?

#### Backtothemac

##### macrumors 601
Original poster
toontra said:
I think that everything you say makes complete sense.

You and I have had differences over the past years over many aspects of the Iraq war, and terrorism in general. That makes it all the more gratifying to hear you express your dissatisfaction with the current US policy, and further, to propose some really positive ideas for future progress in world security & prosperity.

I have to ask, what was the turning point for you? For a long while it seemed to me that you were supporting US policy in the Iraq war. What changed?
Well, I supported the idea of going in because in the past I worked in the government and saw much of the intel so I really thought that Saddam was in possesion of the hords of weapons that the world thought he had. We know now that he either did not have them or got rid of them. I think the turning point was listening to Kerry and Bush. Neither of them has any clue as to how to conduct the war on terror. When Kerry talks to pro war groups he is hawkish, and when he talks to anti-war groups he is a dove.
Bush, well, he keeps being Bush. I really think he thought it would be better to fight the war in Iraq instead of here. But, I don't like the policy, and I think we can do better.

#### zimv20

##### macrumors 601
Backtothemac said:
WWhen Kerry talks to pro war groups he is hawkish, and when he talks to anti-war groups he is a dove.
Bush, well, he keeps being Bush. I really think he thought it would be better to fight the war in Iraq instead of here. But, I don't like the policy, and I think we can do better.
we can definitely do better. the sad thing is, many of the things mentioned above would brings cries of "appeasement!", and there's something odd about americans and their need to "win" and "kick ass". it's in the national psyche, and unless we can get past that and invest in ideas such as cooperation, humility and compromise, it will be our undoing.

#### Backtothemac

##### macrumors 601
Original poster
zimv20 said:
we can definitely do better. the sad thing is, many of the things mentioned above would brings cries of "appeasement!", and there's something odd about americans and their need to "win" and "kick ass". it's in the national psyche, and unless we can get past that and invest in ideas such as cooperation, humility and compromise, it will be our undoing.
Well, let me say this. Bin Laden, yes, I would love to "kick ass" on Bin Laden. However, in the grand scheme of things, we need to change tactics in order to be successful.

#### zimv20

##### macrumors 601
Backtothemac said:
Well, let me say this. Bin Laden, yes, I would love to "kick ass" on Bin Laden.
no doubt.

i'm thinking of such things as killing tens of thousands of iraqis, which, to many, is retribution for 9/11. as robert mcnamara points out in Fog of War, proportionality should be a guideline in war.

#### Zaid

##### macrumors 6502
zimv20 said:
no doubt.

i'm thinking of such things as killing tens of thousands of iraqis, which, to many, is retribution for 9/11. as robert mcnamara points out in Fog of War, proportionality should be a guideline in war.
Especially since Iraq had nothing to with 9/11.

But i suppose to many it's ok, because they're arab (even though not all of them are), they have brown skin and funny names, and they live far way.
(OK maybe i'm being a bit cynical)

#### Mike Teezie

##### macrumors 68020
Zaid said:
Especially since Iraq had nothing to with 9/11.

But i suppose to many it's ok, because they're arab (even though not all of them are), they have brown skin and funny names, and they live far way.
(OK maybe i'm being a bit cynical)
No, you are pretty much spot on. Where I live, when I ask people, "Why are we in Iraq?"

THe most common answer I get?

"they bombed us man! SOMEbody has to take the terrorists out."

#### mischief

##### macrumors 68030
Backtothemac said:
The war on terror. There is a bit of laughter that should come with that statement. As the last three years have unfolded, and the war, which really started over 20 years ago has developed, and as I have had time to view it, my opinion is as follows.

The war is not a winable war. The reason for that is that it is not a traditional war. Here is the problem. How do you win the opinions of those that would kill you. You have two options. Either bow to what they want, or kill them. But the problem is that by killing them, you are only going to give them power. Martyr status. Thus begins a never ending cycle that will continue until the end of time. Example: Israel. They are in a cycle with the palistinians that will never end. There cannot, and will not be peace until both sides agree to live in peace. Madmen do not make such sanctions without political gain. So, both sides have to be viewed as the victor in their minds, and ideologies. It cannot happen.

(To save space; Snip)

200 billion on Iraq is insane. That 200 billion being put into humanitarian efforts would change the worlds opinion of this country. Thus, if attacked again, it would truely be a world effort answering the call of the United States.

What do you think?
I applaud your effort B. If you can come to this conclusion as a somewhat hawkish conservative, there is hope for the rest yet.

It can be effectively argued that the provocative attack of 09/11/2001 was, in fact designed to bring this centuries-old conflict back to open warfare. Why? Because the far-right Islamists have a small contingent of truly insane Jyhadis. These are the Muslim equivalent of the KKK or WAR groups here in the 'States. The difference between our hate groups and there's is fundamental and profoundly more dangerous.

The hate groups in this country thrive in the poorest and least educated regions with the least telecommunications available to keep them in touch with the realities of the outside world. However, they are still more or less within the structures of this society with Rule of Law, etc.

Contrast this with the Hate Groups of the third world and thing get far more grim. In third world countries even the basic levels of literacy and education found in the most backwater places in the USA evaporate. Prayers are often recited by rote over a page whose image has been memorized as being the one that goes with the prayer. In these places even the simplest infrastructure of sanitation, water, heat, glass windows are absent, let alone tellecom. These are places where Rule of Law is as alien a concept as breathing Ammonia Gas would be to us westerners. Rule of Force, backed by fannatical and perverted religious doctrine are the norm. It is in this environment that Hatred and Despiration can be harnessed into Terrorism.

The only way to halt a war based on hatred as old as civilization itself is to nurture those places that hate us most. It sounds insane but it is the only way. North Korea must have pressure applied. But that pressure must come from within. The psi-ops leaflet campaigns used in recent conflicts have proven very effective, as were the food-drops. The days of winning by force of arms are gone. We have civilized all those who were once colonies with resources the West wanted. Now we are left with the consequences of ignoring the places that had nothing worth stealing.

We must find a ballance between compassion and Force. That ballance will have to be based both on securing the USA through more coherent, (not more draconian) Law Enforcement; overhauling the flow of information through the Federal and State systems; Implementing a true Federal level Universal ID; linking the Judicial databases of our allies with that of our own including direct links to Mexican and Canadian Motor Vehicle registries. We must choke out international drug and human-trafficking cartels through legalizing and regulating the trade of illicit substances and prostitution. We must pass more coherent gun laws that regulate NOT BAN sales, licensing and ownership so the illicit trade of weapons can be stemmed.

All these things and more must be done AND SOON to avoid being drawn into committing a form of defensive Genocide our society will not easily stomach.

All of these things require a level of leadership, charisma in the presidency and national unity not seen since WW2. We must be one nation and we must act compassionately abroad to bring the 3rd world on par with newly emerging nations and those who are just now coming of age. We can no longer afford to ignore those who have little to offer us in resources because they have found a coherent vent for their frustration in the oldest feud in recorded history.

We must cut Israel loose to survive on it's own. The arguement between the tribes of Israel and the tribes of trans-jordan/Syria goes back to the dawn of recorded history and cannot be settled by outsiders. The nations of the area must settle it on their own or no peace is possible. This alone would cut reruiting by Jyhadi extremists immediately and measurably.

We must demand the same elevation of the common man in places like Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, the UAE, etc. as our rhetoric implies. We must demand it and we must make it unavoidable. The money that flows from these places to the hands of Terrorist organizers must be stopped and it can only be stopped by choking the economies of these theocracies.

We must see and publicize Jyhadis the world over for who they really are: They are cowards who use the downtrodden to extort the west. Hammas must be exposed for this. The "Martyrs Brigade" must be exposed for this... If they are to be the heroes of Islam let they who make the bombs also wear them; to strap bombs to women and children while living in relative luxury is cowardly, dishonorable and a crime against anything sacred ever found in the cause of Jyhad.

This rant could go on for DAYS but I'll leave off here to catch my breath and let my keys cool off....

#### wwworry

##### macrumors regular
I totally agree with thread starter.

#### Taft

##### macrumors 65816
Backtothemac said:
The war on terror. ...
Bravo.

That is a very rational and well thought plan that puts to shame the policies of the current administration or any plan I've heard Kerry speak of. Quite frankly, I don't see Kerry as being the silver bullet to fix the current "war on terror." He, or any other president, would act similarly in the face of an event like 9/11, IMO.

The sad fact is that Bush has clearly demonstrated a lack of sophistication in his administration's efforts on the war on terror. Killing terrorists (and drawing fire from the mainland) seem to be the only two matters of importance to his administration. His inability to see what those actions will reap in 20 years time is utterly tragic.

You are right, it is a vicious cycle. Terrorism cannot be stopped by brute force alone. Force is necessary and often justified, but only by understanding and eliminated the conditions which cause terrorism can we ever hope to be free of its grip.

Taft

#### diamond geezer

##### macrumors regular
I agree bttm, great post.

I would however disagree with regards to Iraq being a place to fight the War on terror away from the US mainland. The huge majority of the people that the US is killing are merely iraqis defending their country. You are therefore fighting "terrorists" of your own creation, most of whom had no connection to terror groups before the invasion.

#### wwworry

##### macrumors regular
edit (sorry posted in wrong thread)

#### Backtothemac

##### macrumors 601
Original poster
diamond geezer said:
I agree bttm, great post.

I would however disagree with regards to Iraq being a place to fight the War on terror away from the US mainland. The huge majority of the people that the US is killing are merely iraqis defending their country. You are therefore fighting "terrorists" of your own creation, most of whom had no connection to terror groups before the invasion.
Actually, the point I was making is that the US decided to use Iraq as a faint. To fight the war there, instead of here. However, from family friends, and co-workers that are there, the majority of the people we are fighting are from Syria, Iran, and other countries, not Iraq.

#### IJ Reilly

##### macrumors P6
Actually, according to recent intelligence estimates, only a small percentage of the insurgents are from outside of Iraq. This news came out fairly recently.

#### diamond geezer

##### macrumors regular
IJ Reilly said:
Actually, according to recent intelligence estimates, only a small percentage of the insurgents are from outside of Iraq. This news came out fairly recently.
Perhaps bttm is laying the political groundwork for an invasion of those two countries.

#### Xtremehkr

##### macrumors 68000
Move away from fossil fuels and the middle east.

Just a suggestion or two, from what I have found through looking into what kind of alternatives there were out there. I was very surprised at what I found...

American Bioenergy Association
Biomass basics
Hemp for Fuel

Hemp as Biomass for Energy

Hemp is always a touchy subject to mention when talking about Biomass, even though it is perfect for Biomass due to its composition. Hemp is incredibly versatile, and does not have to contain THC.

"Charging Ahead" is a great book about the Biomass potential, and it does not mention Hemp at all. The author felt that getting knowledge out about Biomass was as important as trying to explain why Hemp is so well suited.

This would remove our need to go to other nations to get our energy resources. It is causing conflict and has been for quite some time. The amount of capital wasted keeping a military force in the Middle East is wasteful when there is a perfect alternative for our energy needs.

If every action causes a reaction, the best way to end this situation is to stop the actions that are causing the reactions. Saving lives on both sides.

Not to mention pollution, air quality, smog, chemical residue and all of the other specific and non specific forms of pollution that are by products of petroleum.

#### Xtremehkr

##### macrumors 68000
oh, no link privileges I guess.

Well, that would have been a lot easier for everyone to read if it were linked. I guess that comes with time.

#### zimv20

##### macrumors 601
use BBCode, not HTML

#### blackfox

##### macrumors 65816
I am not sure this (WOT) is anything new or exceptional...terrorism has been around for as long as mankind has, although the term was not yet coined in some instances. It is a tactical response to a conventionally- superior opposing military force. Along with guerilla tactics, I am sure earlier kings and Empires, as well as the Colonial Powers had to deal with such realities. Here in America, the Native American used some tactics which could be equated with terrorism.

It seems to be a tactic of desperation. Under such circumstances, psychologically it is easier to allow a certain amount of moral ambiguity when the stakes are so high. The demonization of the enemy, a tactic often used helps with the inevitable moral clash faced by those who would use tactics where pragmatism intersects with human decency.

The fact that modern conventional forces use weaponry that distances and detaches the individual from the abhorrent results of that weaponry, including innocent civilian casualties, is but another such conceit. Those we call terrorists, unable to use such fantastical weapons as rationalizations, must use more simplistic ones, but ones that we, ourselves have used in our histories. We are not above reproach here, and we should well understand the mechanisms of such a policy of terror and irrationality. It keeps the enemy guessing and as such is a tactical advantage.

As for the impetus behind the current WOT, it is again a struggle for power and the right to self-determination against a more powerful enemy. As far as we are talking about Arab and/or Islamic terrorism, we are talking about a Culture which was once among the more advance Cultures in the world. Beginning with the Crusades, however, they clashed with the West culminating in their eventual defeat as the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th Century. They were then subjected to the arbitrary whims of the Western victors, who carved up the former Empire into "states" which did not reflect the wishes or the best-interests of the people or of stability. You could make a case that by purposely keeping the ME divided and weak, it would be easier to control and/or dominate them.

Then the West again intervened in the Region, with the creation of Isreal, which was a solution of a Western problem - a homeland for a displaced Jewish race, who had just been victims of a horrible genocide by a Western dictator. The ME had nothing to do with any of this. Nevertheless, a Jewish homeland was created at the expense of the Palestinians and covered land which was sacred to the Muslim and belonged to the Arabs. It should be noted that from a Religious standpoint, there is no enemity between Islam and Judaism. It was a slap in the face, however, to the Arab and Muslim faith to be further humiliated and disrespected by the West, whom they were powerless to challenge. The failure of the coaltion of Arab nations to defeat Isreal, further cemented this reality.

There is also the question of Oil, the ME last bargaining chip. Again, this could hardly be a point of pride for the Muslim/Arab world...With Saudi Arabia seen as being co-opted by Western Interests for the sake of Security, with Iraq falling under a secular neo-socialist Regime, and Iran being run by a corrupt Western-influenced Shah, it would seem that they were once again powerless. A revolution in Iran proved the exception to the rule, but did prove the validity of both the power of Islam as a unifying force and of the power of demographics (numbers).

Lastly, there is also the question of Culture, with the spread of Western consumer culture through the advent of satellite TV and various other media forms. This media onslaught seemed to be attacking the very viability of their sense of selves, which more than anything can evoke a sense of desperation. In a very real sense Arab and Islamic culture was not only fighting for geography or power or money, but for the right to exist.

Again, this has happened to a myriad of subjugated people throughout History, with similar results. Of note, only the Aboriginies of Australia chose a non-violent tactic - they chose just not to breed anymore and peacefully end their Culture. Perhaps Gandi's India would be another example.

Anyway, when you talk about an end to the WOT, in the broadest terms, it is impossible. Still, something close can be acheived. When you talk about any solution, however, you must speak to the underlying problems, not just their symptoms. While much of the current WOT derives from what I have said above (western intervention), it really comes down to the viability of Capitalism.

In a world with finite space and resources, The West has enjoyed pre-eminence for hundreds of years. Capitalism to a certain extent is built on expansion of markets and of wants. For much of recent history the West has consumed a far greater share of the world's resources than they deserve and often on the backs of those countries/cultures less powerful. Some might even suggest that Capitalism needs a segment of less powerful to exploit to make the system work. The work of the IMF and WorldBank can in part be seen as part of this mechanism. In such cases, countries are not given aid to help them acheive the optimal outcome as is relevent to their circumstances, but given aid which makes them optimal in terms of working in the Global Market, which often not in the majority of the country's best interests. Environmental and Worker protection laws, although admirable (and when implemented), further handicap developing countries in suceeding, even though the West had no such handicaps put on them.

Then there is of course, the fact that there is development on a Global scale and there are more people than ever. This puts even more pressure on the already diminishing resources, and creates an even more acute version of the methods that have always been used by the powerful - co-option, subjugation or annihilation of the obstacles (ie people) that stand in the way of what you want.

This is not just about oil, but about every resource, from copper to education to water. As long as there is an inequity in the usage of these resources, there will always be conflict. When talking about self-determination, this is antithetical to the modern Capitalist system, unless you agree to it under the parameters of it's system. We here in the West are as much victims as we are perpetrators.

anyway, that is enough ranting...To be clear, I do not advocate terrorism as a tactic, or pre-emptive War for that matter. I also am not suggesting Capitalism need be thrown in the dustbin. However, when you talk about a problem and are serious about a solution, you must be clear on the causes and the assignation of blame.

In the past, rather than addressing the realities of such, the more powerful have generally pursued a policy of "might-makes-right", which at best delays the inevitable resurgance of the undrlying problem. Currently, however, the level of sophistication and destructive power of modern weaponry make such a policy dangerous to our survival as a species. I would hope that we could all grow up some...

#### zimv20

##### macrumors 601
b'fox -- it's a fascinating idea you mention, that capitalism needs inequality for its own survival. i think you may be on to something.

the US grew its agriculture on the backs of slaves. indentured servitude grew economies in many areas. resource-rich lands were stolen from natives. the industrial revolution can probably contribute much of its success on long hours, low wages and little need to create safe work environments.

will human and workers rights progress actually be the undoing of the US? the export of so many manufacturing jobs over the past couple decades may indicate so.

#### zimv20

##### macrumors 601
the other thing your post got me thinking about was the idea of fighting a war against a technique. terrorism is nothing more than a way to fight a war when you're outmatched.

maybe what we should really be thinking about is a War on Hate. just as the solution to racial hate isn't to kill all non-whites, the solution to western-hate is education and opportunity.

now that i re-read it, a War on Hate sounds somewhat orwellian. might as well call for a War on War and get it over with...

#### blackfox

##### macrumors 65816
zimv20 said:
b'fox -- it's a fascinating idea you mention, that capitalism needs inequality for its own survival. i think you may be on to something.

the US grew its agriculture on the backs of slaves. indentured servitude grew economies in many areas. resource-rich lands were stolen from natives. the industrial revolution can probably contribute much of its success on long hours, low wages and little need to create safe work environments.

will human and workers rights progress actually be the undoing of the US? the export of so many manufacturing jobs over the past couple decades may indicate so.
Insofar as you equate the development of Capitalism with modern corporations, it is easy to identify the problem(s) inherent in such a system: lack of accountability, self-interest, purely financial motivation/standards of judgement and subsquent disregard/suppession of any other considerations even if said considerations were instrumental in development of the corporation itself. Also tendency toward duplicity/propagandazing.

It is interesting to see "Free Trade" being promoted as "fair", as Capitalism thrives on trying to be as unfair as possible, as in exploiting every weakness of your competitors and maximizing every strength you can. Which was realized by some a while back, which is why there was regulation. Now Global Capitalism is so complex and far-reaching, there is no compareable regulatory apparatus, and even if there was, I am not sure they would be able to understand what the hell was going on, with so much to consider. Capitalism, being concerned about only Financial considerations, has no such limitation(s), as they couldn't give a sh** about the consequences of their activities, let alone try to understand them, outside of those which effect a balance sheet.

As for your question Zim, it might...but more likely it will be the US's unwillingness or inability to recognize that fact that it will soon be competing with economic powers such as China and East Asia's "tigers" who will be competing both for resources and in the marketplace. No longer in the position of power in Global markets, we might see what it is like to be in a position of weakness, and we won't like it. Pretty Ironic.

This is what irks me so much about US current policy in the ME (among others)...the fact that we are executing it so poorly/sloppily, while China is playing it's hand much more deftly. Say what you will about China, but at least they avoid the hypocrisy that we engender by dealing strictly with economic/strategic concerns w/o the prostelyzing of Ideology (democracy, Liberty etc) that we pay lip-service to...the unfortunate thing, is that we end up beleiving our own bull****, which makes clarity and any subsequent pragmatic action difficult.

This same poor/sloppy execution in the Marketplace can, and has, cause(d) US interests to decline in effacy in comparison with Chinese or Asian business-models/execution.

In any case, as a footnote I would add that when you hear about the WOT and the fight to "maintain our way of life" from terrorist threat, you must ask yourself what actually constitutes that "way of life"...and entertain the the fact that in some respects that is the last thing we should be doing...