Wednesday, September 13, 2006

9/11:How To Win The War On Terror

So this week I have spent writing about September 11, 2001 and the War On Terror. I will wrap things up in the next day or so, but there are a couple of issues I want to address. The first topic is what I will write about in the following paragraphs.

I believe, and have believed, that the War On Terror is winnable. That's the first thing I think all Americans have to ask themselves. Do they believe that this war is winnable? Add to that, what do you think victory means?

Victory, initially, means that terrorists are marginalized to the point where there are no longer major attacks or the threat of major attacks. The ultimate goal is to wipe out all attacks. Yet, I know that this is going to take a long time. A guy who straps a bomb to himself and then walks into an outdoor market and blows himself up killing 20 or 30 people is going to be hard to stop, but I feel ultimately he or she will be stopped.

First off we have to start at home. The borders have got to be controlled. Not only the Mexican border but also the Canadian border. Logic dictates that a terrorist who knew that the southern border was secure would then most likely try to enter the U.S. from the north.

Second we have got to secure our ports. Too many packages coming in go unchecked.

What this means? Money, money, money. But it is worth it, is it not? I believe the National Guard should be put on both borders. So we should look to expand our military forces which were significantly cut in the 90s after the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The purpose of the National Guard needs to be more clearly defined. I feel you will get more people to join if they knew they were only going to be guarding the homefront rather than going overseas. By all accounts, our National Guard has been pretty well run down as a result of its services overseas, particularly in Iraq. There is also a domino effect to expanding the Guard. Years ago "trouble kids" would be given the option of joining the service rather than go to jail or a "special school". The military provides a great benefit in paying for college. It also gives discipline and hope to those who maybe don't have the best home life. So by expanding the Guard you get more kids hopefully going to college or possibly military lifers, which keeps them off the streets and gives them a great deal of self-respect and hope for a better future. I know it is not 100% foolproof, but it is better than nothing, or worse, jail, where there is no rehabilitation at all in attitudes.

Securing our ports largely is done by private companies which is fine, but there should be greater supervision by the military and also we should make sure it is only done by United States companies. Let's not be foolish enough to outsource our national security.

We need to continue to develop technology on planes and trains to detect bombs or bomb-making materials. The recommendations from the 9/11 Commission Report clearly state what needs to be done. Those need to be implemented without further delay.

We should continue to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq until the job is finished. If we need more troops, then so be it. We need to secure the borders in both countries to prevent foreign fighters and any weapons from entering the country. But we need to put pressure on both governments and the governments of surrounding nations to make sure they are watching the borders from their sides as well.

We left Afghanistan once the Afghans ran the Soviets out in 1989 and the country fell into civil war which gave birth to the Taliban which then harbored al-Qaeda. Get the picture. We have to make that country secure. One thing I never understood is why President Bush did not have the opium fields wiped out in the fall of 2001. But we can still do this now, can't we?

I am not a proponent of entering Iran or Syria at this point. I feel if we secure the borders in Iraq and Afghanistan then they will not be a factor. We also need to watch the movement of money from these countries to see who they are funding and to make sure they are not funding the jihadists.

Look with all our ships and troops in the Gulf if we wanted to take out Iran's nuke ambitions we could do it in no time. But do we want to have to rebuild another country. Of course not. So let's fund the opposition movement in Iran in any way possible. Did you know that 60% of Iran's population is under the age of 30? Do you think they want to live under a repressive theocracy. No way!

I believe that we should also put pressure on countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in the sense that those governments must monitor what is being taught in the madrassas. For far too long kids are being taught to hate Christians and Jews. This is the heart of the matter. As long as kids are being indoctrinated in this sort of twisted thinking then these countries and others will continue to produce terrorists. There should be a much greater emphasis on education in these countries. Real education. Like math and reading. Anyone remember that stuff?

Did you know that Iran does not even have the capability to refine its own oil? That is pretty sad. There are many folks in these countries who are drawn to terrorism and radical religion because they have no hope for a good life and are disenfranchised. Meanwhile, the wealthy oilmen pad their wallets and many of the skeiks live what is viewed as an immoral life. This is the case in Saudi Arabia, where so many of these young princes have reputations as party animals.

Many members of the Saudi Royal Family have been educated in America's great schools such as Harvard, M.I.T., and Yale. If I were President I would find a way to not allow these men to come into our country until there are changes made to the curriculum inside Saudi Arabia. We really don't have many bargaining chips at this point. So that brings me to a real hot button topic: oil.

People are drawn to radical religion when they have no hope. They hear about 72 virgins greeting them in Heaven and they feel they have nothing good awaiting them on this planet so why not become a terrorist. The world has to work together to improve the educational system in these countries, so they can produce something and so that they can be productive citizens. I remember Tom Friedman saying that the number of patents coming from the Middle East is virtually nil, meaning they aren't coming up with any ideas. Why is that? Poor education, in my opinion. Too much of a disparity between the very few haves and the very large percentage of have-nots.

Look folks we have to make up our minds. Do we want to drill in ANWR(Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) and drill in the Gulf of Mexico and continue looking for our own oil or do we want to keep getting our oil from unfriendly regimes. I propose that we do everything we can to use our own oil and continue to look for more of this precious resource throughout the homeland, such as in the Gulf. But at the same time give major tax cuts to auto companies and gas companies that will begin the switch to alternative energy. Look their are enough bright people in this country that there has got to be an alternative option to fuel.

In many ways we fund the War On Terror from both sides of the spectrum. We fund our military and then we also fund the sheiks in Saudi Arabia by purchasing their oil which goes to the radical Sunni Muslims of al-Qaeda. Makes little sense to me. Let's get off foreign oil and find a better alternative.

Then we can really thumb our noses at the Middle East by not being constantly worried about $200 per barrel oil prices.

Also, we have to put pressure on the mosques throughout the United State that continue to teach hatred and foment terror. We have to hold the Muslim community accountable for spreading hate. I know it is not everyone, but there certainly is enough at this point.

If I were President I would organize some sort of organization that would bring together prominent members of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, and any other religion for that matter, to get together to figure out ways for us to better get along. I know they have organizations like this for Catholics and Jews, why not expand it.

So let's continue looking for the high value targets overseas such as Usama bin Laden(UBL). Let's continue to freeze accounts of these terrorists and let's continue taking the war to them.

The War On Terror can not be won with bullets alone. I have said that many times on this blog. Victory will come with a multi-pronged approach. Some of my ideas may sound hokey, but at least I am putting forth a plan, which is more than what some of the politicians are doing.

Many people seem to be extremists. They don't see that we can do more than one thing at a time. It does not have to be all war all the time, nor does it have to be all appeasement all the time. We can have dialogue while continuing to go after the terror camps and the terror leaders. I am not suggesting that we can negotiate with UBL, but we can work with the leaders of the Middle East nations to try to have the school curriculums changed and to bring about a better understanding for both sides.

The U.S.A. has to take the lead on this. We always get stuck funding wars with our blood and our money. We don't want to have to be in a perpetual war so I hope that we will look for additional solutions. I hate the expression "think outside the box" but in this case the bright folks of this country are really going to have to make sure the batteries to their thinking caps are fully charged. Too many lives are at stake.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should run for President! You would do a much better job than the last few that we have had.