by Pa Rock
The War on Terrorism ended when the United States lost its focus, quit worrying about Osama bin Laden - the man who plotted the attack on our country - and went charging off into Iraq to fight an unrelated war for oil. When our government made the inexplicable decision to pump our troops and our treasury into a global war with no defined objectives except to remove a leader who had been a personal embarrassment to our leader's father, the terrorists had won. Suddenly we were not out to right a monstrous wrong, we were invading and occupying a country that had not been involved in the attack on the World Trade Center.
Remember George Bush deliberately lying to America about Saddam Hussein hiding weapons of mas destruction in Iraq? That was the premise for the unnecessary war on Iraq and the expanded "Global War on Terror." The weapons, of course weren't there, but Bush and his enablers needed for us to think they were. Bush was very fond of comparing his mean-spirited oil war to World War II, and he wanted the country to be completely senseless with patriotic fervor.
Valerie Plame, a CIA operative (spy) sent her husband, Joe Wilson, a former ambassador with impeccable credentials, to Africa to check out the administration's claims that Niger was sending materials (yellow cake uranium) to Iraq to help make nuclear weapons. He came back and reported publicly (because Bush and company didn't want to hear it) that those claims were false. The response from the Bush team - specifically Vice President Cheney - was to leak the fact to the press that Ms. Plame was a spy for the CIA, effectively ending her spying career. If you, or I, or any other ordinary citizen had outed a U.S. spy, the crime would be treason, and the punishment could be death. But for Darth Vader...er...uh...Dick Cheney, it was just another day at the office. We lost the war to the terrorists when a functioning CIA operative was made useless due to Dick Cheney's petty revenge - you betcha we did!
The war was no longer about terrorism when our nation, the greatest national bastion of democracy and democratic principles on the planet, sent the murderous thugs of Blackwater into Iraq and told them to do whatever they damned well pleased. That scary outfit, under the direction of their wealthy and politically connected Christian fundamentalist leader, Erik Prince, apparently was fighting a religious jihad with a goal of eliminating Muslims from the face of the earth - a goal that fit in fine with the world view of Bush and Cheney. When Blackwater was loosed on the Middle East with the funding and official blessing of the United States government, the terrorists had won.
When young, naive, American servicemen and women at Abu Grahib Prison spent weeks and months humiliating Muslim prisoners by making them strip naked and endure inhumane humiliations, with at least tacit approval of their superiors, we as a nation had definitely lost, and the terrorists had won.
The terrorists won when we began waterboarding prisoners and practicing tortures that were expressly prohibited by the Geneva Convention. We had given up the high moral ground and taken up residence in the gutter - a very poor location from which to wage a war. And now, when our troops are captured (God forbid), they are likely to be tortured in the same manner thanks to the old schoolyard adage - "He did it first!"
When America began to turn away from its own Constitution and ignore basic American values like the right to a fair and speedy trail - or any trial at all for that matter, the terrorists had won.
When our politicians began to feel they could they control elections through raising and lowering the color levels of the national terrorist alert systen, the terrorists had won because their actions resulted in us being the simplest of pawns to these shameless political hacks. When we have to take off our shoes at the airports and make sure that we have the proper amounts of toothpaste and deodorant stored in the proper sized sandwich bag - who has won? The terrorist have won!
And now we are fighting two wars, wars that show signs of never ending, and paying for them with our children's and grandchildren's future - and by passing that burden along, the terrorists have defeated our kids and grandkids as well as ourselves.
It is well past time to start refocusing on our true strengths and American values - things like liberty and justice for all, compassion and caring for the needy, universal education, affordable health care that is available to everyone, religious tolerance, and basic human rights - and it is also well past time to quit dancing to the terrorists' tune and letting them define us. We have a far better face than the one we have been showing to the world for the last several years. We aren't Blackwater, we aren't racist or homophobic morons, we aren't religious extremists - we are Americans, plain and proud. Let's start to act like the good people we are!