Charley Reese: Unwinnable War
- Unwinnable War
by Charley Reese
October 1, 2005
The so-called war against terrorism is unwinnable. It was designed to
be unwinnable so that it can be carried on for an indefinite duration
and thus support the vast military-industrial-anti-terrorism complex.
The end of the Cold War scared this complex half to death. It can only
survive with an enemy at the gates.
Conventional wars can be won because they are fought against
governments. Either the enemy government can be destroyed or it is
made to pay such a high price in casualties and assets that it will
sue for peace. Either way, everybody knows the war is over. The Cold
War ended when the Soviet Union collapsed and the Russians ended their
occupation of Eastern Europe. We should have dismantled the North
Atlantic Treaty Organization, as they did the Warsaw Pact, and moved
to a peacetime situation.
Too many people in this country, however, have a vested interest in
war, and they were in desperate need of a new enemy and some dramatic
event to get the people all riled up. Osama bin Laden obliged on both
The war against terrorism, however, is being waged against individuals
scattered around the world. When one is killed, he is replaced by
another. There is not, and there never will be, anyone who can say, on
behalf of all terrorists, "OK, we quit." Most of the terrorists in the
world don't even know each other.
The analogy of war is a false one. The proper analogy is simply
dealing with individual criminals and a few criminal gangs. To do
that, you don't have to put the nation on a war footing; you don't
have to destroy or injure civil liberties at home or spend billions of
dollars. You just doggedly pursue the criminals as they arise,
knowing, as police forces do, that this is steady work. You will never
get them all because they are replenishable.
I've often pointed to Israel as an example of the futility of trying
to shoot or bomb your way out of a terrorist problem. No nation on
Earth has been more ruthless, more determined and more effective in
fighting terrorists than Israel, yet after more than 50 years, the
Israelis are still plagued by it. That's because they have refused to
solve the political problem occupation of Palestinian land that
gives rise to it.
Now President Bush is following their bad example. He's developed a
habit of lying. He claims we were struck by terrorists because they
hate our freedom and prosperity. That's not what the terrorists said,
and they ought to know their own motives. They said they make war on
us because of our one-sided support of Israel, our military presence
in the Persian Gulf, and now our occupation of Iraq. They said that if
we will correct those policies, they will stop attacking us.
In his recent White House remarks about Iraq, on every single occasion
Bush used the word "terrorist" instead of "insurgent." The majority of
people fighting us in Iraq are not terrorists. There are some, mainly
the suicide bombers, but the majority of them just oppose our
occupation of their country. Attacks against an opposing army cannot
be called acts of terrorism. Only attacks against civilian targets
qualify as acts of terrorism, and that's true whether the civilians
are killed by a suicide bomber or an American airplane or an artillery
The president and his band of pro-Israel neoconservatives grossly
misled the American people into a war that, even were we to win it
(and we won't), will not benefit the American people one iota. It's
good to see that more and more Americans are catching on to the fact
that our government was not honest with us.
It's too bad the Democratic Party is in such a sorry shape, with
spineless opportunists and left-wing ideologues, that there is no good
alternative party for the American people to turn to.
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