Friday, September 15, 2006

 

Osama & George Bush - BFF

The president speaks the name of his best friend forever (BFF) quite often these days. He talks about how dangerous Osma bin Laden is, what a great threat Osama is, how Osama wants to murder our families.

If Osama is so dangerous, Mr. President, why is he still at large? Where are the resources, the money and manpower, needed to capture him?

Well, we knew he was in Afghanistan, so we invaded and now we own the responsibility for the world's prime source of opium. But we let Osama get away. Why and how is that?

And, instead of chasing him, we invaded Iraq. Why, Mr. President, why?

Why did you dismantle the CIA unit charged with finding him?

Now, five years later, Osama the bogeyman is trotted out as evidence we need to continue the policies of wars and invasions.

In a rational universe, his continued freedom would instead be taken as evidence of incompetence. He is the world's most wanted man; he has been for five years. Yet he is still free. In what warped perception can that be taken as proof of efficiency and effectiveness? How can that be used to claim we should continue with more of the same?

When I was in ROTC, they pounded a few very simple messages into my head. "Don't exploit failure," they repeated. It means do not continue to squander men and wealth in futile operations that have been shown not to work. This particular piece of military logic applies to all aspect of life, but especially to war.

Osama used modern technology, which gives great power to individuals; a mere 19 men struck on September 11. Yet they caused the kind of damage that formerly took a whole army of enemies.

What would be the proper reaction to a blow dealt by an "army" of 19 men? (We used to call them "gangs," but now that seems hardly appropriate.) The president decided the proper reaction was to marshall our own armies of and invade foreign nations. We now have over one hundred thousand troops in Iraq.

In what reality is it smart to react to sporadic attacks by a few dozen individuals with bombs dropped on the families of ten thousand innocents? What do we gain, other than whole hosts of new enemies?

In what cruel world did the United States, the "last, best hope of mankind" become the sponsor of secret prisons, indefinite confinement without trial, and torture?

The nation I grew up in was a nation of high moral standards and the best conduct in foreign affairs. It was a nation that followed the golden rule in international politics.

My father, a career Army officer, a former golden gloves boxer, taught me to never strike the first blow in a fight. But this is exactly what the president's doctrine of "preventative war" is all about. The president's notion that we should hit them first was condemned by every major religious group, every Christian denomination in the world except one. (The Southern Baptist.)

Osma is the president's best friend because he can be trotted out as justification for all the mistakes and all the atrocities committed in the name of the American people. Osama is the president's best friend because only Osama can save the Republican party.

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