Tuesday, September 05, 2006

To Quote Bob Marley -- Everywhere Is War, Me Say War

So if George W. Bush is taking credit for helping win the war on terror, I have a question for his hawkish supporters here at TPS. If America is ever seriously attacked by terrorists down the road, should George Bush or the then-president be blamed for losing the war on terror? And where does this put the attacks on 9/11 given that they happened while Bush was commander-in-chief and responsible for leading this war on terror?

I'm fine with security. But when police arrest a child molestor here in Port Charlotte and help keep my kids safe, I don't look at it as "another victory in the war on child molestors." When I'm walking through a not-so-nice part of downtown Tampa and see an empty crack vile lying in the curb, I don't blame the Hillsborough police for "losing the war on drugs." And when a grocery store clerk over at Publix checks my identification to see that I'm the named person on my check, I don't pat her on the shoulder saying, "Well done, you're winning the war on check fraud."

All these actions keep us safer, to varying degrees. But let's not reduce the meaning of the powerful word war and all those terms that go along with it such as troops, homefront, and casualties. Let's not equate the sacrifice of boys dying in Iraq or Afghanistan with US travelers having to wait a few extra minutes at the airport. But I'm afraid that's what Bush wants to do to divert attention from a real war in Iraq and create a better atmosphere for Republicans here at home.

My point is that I'm still not ready to accept a military state, even if there are legitimate threats to our homeland security. And the more our leaders talk about a "war" here in America, the more I fear an errosion of our liberties. Yes, I want our leaders to guard against foreign and domestic threats. But I also want to preserve our way of life. Europe and Japan of 1942 were wars. Vietnam was a war. Iraq sadly is a war. Our security measures here in America are not part of a war, in my opinion. They're perhaps worthy actions taken by the government to protect our security by using its police powers. But is this really a war???

If you think so, ask yourself how your own life was affected on this very day by the continuing war? Because in a real war, all aspects of life are touched. War is called hell for a reason - just ask folks from Israel, Lebanon, Iraq, Serbia, Darfur, or Chechnya who have all experienced war recently.

Yes - let's limit terrorism's ability to disturb life in America. And if our military needs to fight an actual war overseas that hinders legitimate promoters of terrorism (i.e. Afghanistan) then I'm all for that too. But my grandparents told me all about this nation being at war in the 1940s. And, in my mind, this is not the same. Ask yourself that when you vote this November....because this president doesn't even call it a "war" when our porous borders are literally being trampled.

UPDATE A - It was noted on cable news tonight that never before has the United States waged a major war without raising taxes to fund the fight and also increasing the size of the military to supply troops for the fight. Without thoroughly checking the history books, that sounds about right. And in this case, we've actually cut taxes, ran up massive budget deficits, and slashed the military - in its size, spending, and bases. So I ask once again, are we really fighting a war?

UPDATE B - After listening to the further commentary of several tv talking heads (and in answer to the above question), if we are indeed fighting a broad war against terror on all fronts foreign and domestic, then are we winning? If so, how are we winning? And if not, where is the accountability for failing to win?


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