Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bush Foreign Policy Legacy

Dear Editor,
Helle Dale exposes her extreme partisanship (“Bush’s Foreign Policy” 10-29-08) or global ignorance in concluding that Bush’s “essential legacy, was to keep the United States safe from any further terrorist attacks after September 11, despite the terrorists’ determined efforts.”
Osama Bin Ladin’s primary goal was not the mass murder of Americans. His primary goals were to break us economically and to divide us politically. In this sense, President Bush has done more to aid Al Qaeda’s mission than anything Bin Ladin and his murderous cronies have done before, during or after 9-11.
For the record, more Americans have been killed post 9-11 than on that day and the decades before it. If Bush’s approach to terrorism is continued by the next President even the Patriot Act on steroids won’t prevent far more American deaths from murderous extremists in the future. Osama Bin Ladin or his replacements will eventually get biological weapons, or they will find more US troops occupying their lands trying to preempt them, and thousands if not millions more Americans will die.
If Senator Obama or McCain is elected President and we suffer another mass murdering attack by Al Qaeda (or any other extremist group) it will not be their fault -- any more than 9-11 was Bush’s fault. Al Qaeda and other extremist groups attacked the US because in their eyes, we had to pay for the lethal consequences of our nation’s interventions in their lives and countries over the past 40 years.
US support of Saddam Hussein’s war against Iran and his use of WMD against Iranians and Saddam’s own people (the Kurds) along with earlier US support of the Shaw in Iran, and other US efforts to support Islamic radicals during Soviet Union’s occupation of Afghanistan were essentially, US foreign policy interventions destined to backfire. And, Bush’s invasion and failed occupation of Iraq will be no different. Further attacks against Americans here or abroad will be in response to the tens of thousands of deaths of innocent Muslims and the dislocation of millions more as a direct result of US military exploits since 9-11.
The recent US military attacks inside Syria (a potential enemy state) and Pakistan (a critical ally state), as justified as they may be to protect the lives of US troops in Iraq or Afghanistan, will likely be seen as more US hypocrisy by fundamentalists, extremists and Muslim moderates alike. With more innocent Muslims dying as a result of such rogue US military strikes, even if we do our best to prevent collateral damage, we only feed the ranks of those who want to murder us on our own soil.
War is not the answer to terrorism. Bush’s greatest foreign policy legacy will be his recognition that development and diplomacy are best tools for defeating Al Qaeda’s ideology. His support from African citizens is testament to that legacy.
There is little chance that the people or the governments of Iraq, Pakistan, Iran or Afghanistan will be friendly to the United States if our presence in their lands and in their faces is primarily military. When America puts as much resources into saving and protecting the lives of innocent Muslims as we put into killing suspected terrorists in their neighborhoods, we may have a chance of truly preventing the next mass casualty attack against us.
The best way for the next US President to ensure future US security is to act on the fact that we are far safer in the long run by having many, many close friends in far way places than by having the most powerful military force in history stationed here and throughout the world in thousands of well fortified camps.



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