Sunday, August 06, 2006

Defeating Terrorism - Part 1

This is the first part of a series that will (hopefully) explore what needs to be done in order to defeat terrorism.


The first item on the list that needs to be done is establish Unity. No, this is not holding hands, chanting "Oooooommmmmm" and being one with the universe. Rather, this is having a common national direction from the citizens of the United States and the elected representatives to our Government.

I look back to the days immediately following 9/11, where both political parties and the population were united in our desire to find, punish, & destroy the terrorist organization that inflicted such damage & casualties upon this country. I wondered at that time how long that desire, that single-mindedness was going to last. I didn't have to wait for long for the political opportunists to start their misinformation and spin campaigns.

What happened? Where did the desire, the "fire in the belly" go to? I have a few thoughts on this.

In one nutshell, the Democrat Liberals want power. They are desperate to show that the current Administration is inept, and cannot bring this war to a quick and successful conclusion. Of course, the Conservative Republicans want to hold on to the power that they have, and fight back with counter-claims that the opposition doesn't have a plan, as no idea what is at stake, and is out of touch with the wishes of the common man. It does not matter what facts have been presented or proven to show that (in my opinion) the current course of action is correct, the political war continues within our government. Political infighting is costly in more than one way.

In another nutshell, the average citizen has the attention span of a gnat. Our entertainment media has conditioned us to believe that crimes can be solved in an hour, Dr. Phil can mend a relationship in ten minutes, and a new American Idol can be selected in a matter of weeks. Mention that a war against terror will last years, and there is absolutely no comprehension. "Why can't we (the US) get this done & over with?" is the most common question I hear from various people.

Another nutshell is media related. Remember the videos of the first Iraq war? How many of us were facinated by bombs dropping on a certain building or bridge? How neat & clean was that? War in recent times has been shown to be relatively bloodless and extremely high-tech. I will be one of the first people to tell you that wars are far from bloodless, and technology has just made the battlefield all that much more deadly. Again, the general public has no idea that war involves bloody death until those pictures are shown on the nightly news (or every half-hour on CNN's Headline News).

The end result of the above examples is that our attention is diverted from the goal of eliminating terrorist threats to the United States and to the world. The more attention that is given to the political arguments & sniping and to the defense of those arguments is less attention given to defeating terrorist activities. For the average citizen to not understand that this war against terrorism is real and not a TV show subtracts from the long-term will to get the job done.

The problem is that this country is not fighting against another country as in World War II, but against a shadowy, unknown adversary who does not have a country. Rather, it is an ideology that most people have either no understanding of or faulty information about. It is incomprehensible for most people to understand that there are a bunch of radical people out there that want to destroy their way of life and them even after 9/11.

Bottom line: The politicians and the citizens of this country need to understand that this enemy will not go away by themselves. We must be committed from the highest government positions to the most humble citizen to defending this country from the threat of terrorism. And that is the first step in defeating terrorism.

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