When it comes to defeating Islamic extremists, maybe President Barack Obama should take lessons from Hollywood bad boy Charlie Sheen. That way Obama could reach his younger constituency through the magic of YouTube.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could throw the President a softball: “Barack, how are you doing against al-Qaida?”
The President could drag his long ebony fingers across his tanned face and then tug his graying hair. “Winning! Still winning!”
Sheen’s rants fueled by caffeine and coke — the beverage or the leaf — didn’t get him his job back on Two and a Half Men. Obama wants to keep his job. But most of us know that Obama is “losing” the War on Terror. I suspect he may be doing so on purpose.
In the 10 years since Islam murdered thousands of our women and children, we are still paying dearly for a war without borders against a ragtag enemy that hides in dark caverns.
Yes, Osama bin Laden was finally killed. And Saddam Hussein was hanged. But the United States is having one heck of a time extricating our military from Islamic lands; places such as Pakistan, where corrupt allies are most likely enemies. The lines between good and bad are so blurred these days that the War on Terror reads like a John le Carré spy novel, where evil always seems to find a fresh foothold.
Then there is the home front where a decade after 9/11 we must face the ugly truth that America continues to become a less free society.
A couple of weeks ago, as I caught a plane back to Calgary, I had the good fortune not to be submitted to a total body scan. I did get the pat-down, and then walked over and bought the August issue of Harper’s. The cover: “The American State of Terror.”
The feature article — To Catch A Terrorist: The FBI hunts for the enemy within — is the story about the vast powers given away by our government to law enforcement.
Harper’s points out liberties we have lost because of the Patriot Act, which has put unprecedented power in the hands of the FBI and even local law enforcement.
Ordinary cops are using Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs). And SARs goes far beyond investigating blatant acts you might expect from a terrorist.
Harper’s reports that suspicious activities listed on the Los Angeles Police Department’s website include: “joggers stretching for an inordinate amount of time and people carrying on long conversations on pay or cellular phones.”
That leaves us fighting a two-front war: one against the terrorists and one against our own government. Yet the Liberals don’t see it this way. They just think the government is doing its job in protecting us. What I want to know is, who is going to protect us from the government?
Victory Not In Sight
Our government cannot or will not provide an endgame to win the War on Terror. It is already the longest war in America’s history, and just how much longer it will last depends on who you ask. I tend to think it will last as long as Washington wants it to.
Yet more American blood is spilled every passing month and the nation’s once unquestioned superpower status slips a little further. It is a war that is bleeding away any chance at peace and prosperity.
It is, in the end, another Vietnam. As with that war, the U.S. forces have not been defeated on the battlefield. Back then we were an occupation force trying to inflict Western values on a people that were willing to defend their way of life to the last combatant, regardless of how long it took.
Just as were the North Vietnamese, the Taliban are very patient. In fact, the Taliban has an old saying: “You have all the watches. We have all the time.”
In his 2011 New York Times Bestseller, The Longest War, Peter L. Bergen writes that America can’t even shape events in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.
“Years after the fall of the Taliban, Kabul had a distinctly fin-de siècle air,” wrote Bergen. “An economy steeped in corruption and driven by the heroin/opium trade and foreign aid enriched an elite who partied into the night, taking advantage of new freedoms that under the Taliban might have earned them a reprimand from the religious police (listening to music); landed them in prison (drinking alcohol); or had them stoned to death (sex outside marriage)… But, as years went by, the establishments catering to foreigners and rich Afghans increasingly took on the look of fortresses. Hotels invested in bomb shelters and restaurants deployed armed guards. In May 2006, an angry anti-American mob shot out the ground-floor windows of Kabul’s five-star Serena hotel, and a year later Taliban fighters shot the guards outside the same hotel and went room to room hunting and shooting Westerners.”
You can order Bergen’s book at Amazon.com by clicking here.
The Escalating Economic Cost
On August 28 the Los Angeles Times reported:
“A decade after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, federal and state governments are spending about $75 billion a year on domestic security, setting up sophisticated radio networks, upgrading emergency medical response equipment, installing surveillance cameras and bombproof walls, and outfitting airport screeners to detect an ever-evolving list of mobile explosives.”
The Times doubts this money is being put to good use. The paper quoted al-Qaida expert and Ohio State University professor John Mueller: "The number of people worldwide who are killed by Muslim-type terrorists, al-Qaida wannabes, is maybe a few hundred outside of war zones. It’s basically the same number of people who die drowning in the bathtub each year.”
Mueller added, if your chance of being killed by a terrorist in the U.S. is 1 in 3.5 million, the question is, how much do you want to spend to get that down to 1 in 4.5 million?
The answer may depend on who is getting paid to improve those odds. Meanwhile, keeping the public perpetually afraid insures a tighter grip on power for the ruling elite.
So there you have it; Obama is losing the War on Terror. It is strange, but President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush didn’t fare all that well either. It seems that Washington just can’t stand the idea of seeing the War on Terror end.
Yours in good times and bad,
Editor, Myers Energy & Gold Report