Monday, July 10, 2006

The Root of the Problem

A lot of people seem eager to mitigate the transgressions of our troops and our government by contrasting some of the more mild offenses committed by our side with the brutal response of our opposition. This tactic is nothing new. It is called propaganda.

A prudent course of action in this ongoing war on terror would be to pick our battles wisely and use brute force sparingly. This would minimize our casualty rate, reduce collateral damage and win global supporters to our cause. Of course the most important element to an effective plan of action and a glaring deficiency in our current efforts is to understand the source of our enemy's rage. If we were to eliminate our enemy's motivation the war would end immediately.

The mistake we are making is believing that the so-called terrorists despise our lifestyle.Big Macs. Busty, breathless teenage sluts. Rap music. While there is no doubt that these fundamentalists disapprove of the things we enjoy, that is not the reason they readily sacrifice themselves for their cause. The motivation is not philosophical.

We have made enemies because of our economic and political influence over the Middle East. The U.S. consumes a ponderous amount of oil every year but the wealth doesn't seem to trickle down to the people who work hard to quench our thirst. In fact, our corporations and politicians have conspired to keep the money and the power in the hands of corrupt leaders who ignore the needs of their people. The fact is some of the most coveted targets of the terrorists we battle with are leaders of the very countries those terrorists call home.

In the US we think of citizens of oil producing countries as wealthy sheiks who drive expensive cars through the sweltering desert, but the majority of the people living in those countries are destitute. We don't hear about the millions of children dying of cancer because the water they drink is tainted with the byproducts of irresponsible drilling. To save a few bucks a barrel our government happily ignores these issues so Americans can continue to gas up the Excursion.

Bloody battles were waged on American streets so that our workforce could become empowered. We celebrate Labor Day because the working class united to demand a bigger share of the profits their hard work made possible. Laws were passed, regulations were enacted and wealth was shared. The result has been advantageous for everybody. We live in a nation of remarkable resources and opportunity. Unfortunately that oppressive greed that drove our workforce to gang violence wasn't eliminated, it was shifted overseas. How can we be surprised that we are now witnessing a backlash from those who have been exploited for so long?

It's time for Americans to accept some responsibility for this bloody war. The reason there is no end in sight is because we have failed to address the issues that started it. The blame for this failure falls squarely on the shoulders of a horribly under-qualified president who surrounded himself with arrogant corporate agents of greed who just don't care. The combination of ignorance and self indulgence is not only bad news for this country, but a serious problem the rest of the world will spend decades trying to recover from.

Bush ran on a values-oriented agenda. He even had the audacity to claim he was doing god's will, but a righteous man always judges himself before he attempts to scrutinize the actions of others. If Bush were truly a man of god he might have pondered such concepts as turning the other cheek or removing the plank from his own eye, but Bush tossed the bible aside in favor of John Wayne . The man of god became the cowboy when the chips were down and now that the hand is unfolding it's clear that a little patience and humility would have gone a long way. Instead were stuck in a no-win situation that we'll be paying for in years to come.

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