Anti War and Peace Activists Making America and the World Secure
Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2003
by Ben Roberts *
We have been led mistakenly to believe in America that our army and weapons of war will protect us from danger beyond our shores and borders, and that antiwar and peace activists are somehow ungrateful, unpatriotic, and divisive. George Bush definitely wants us to believe this. However, nothing can be further from the truth. The anti-war demonstrations in Washington DC, and across this nation shows a tidal wave of war opposition that is bound to break the dangerous oligarchic iron grip that Bush, his Administration, and his family has on this beacon of democracy we call America, and wash them away with the outgoing tide. When Bush and his cohorts look at, and hear the anti-war noises they must be befuddled and, to use one of Democratic strategist George Carville funny quotes, 'be unsure of whether to wind their behinds or scratch their watches.'
Truth be told, the anti-war activism is ensuring the safety of Americans better than anything to date that has occurred since September 11. How can this be you say? We have unleashed our military on Afghanistan and thoroughly disrupted Al Qaida operatives with bad intent. We are torturing information out of uncooperative Taliban foot soldiers in Afghanistan and turning them over to other intelligence agencies who perennially lead the pack of Amnesty International top ten human rights violators. We are putting the finishing touches on a Homeland Security Department that will make us immune to any outside threat. We now have Air Marshals that will make air travel safe and ensure against another disastrous mortal blow to our nation like September 11. We are about to attack and disarm Iraq so that they pose no threat to us. Surely these measures are making us extremely safe from danger? Think so? Think again.
All of these things are next to useless in making America safe from attack beyond these shores. In many instances these measures make America even more prone to attacks. And George Bush knows this. That is why he said not very long ago that Americans need to be vigilant because they were in more danger than before as he embarks on an attack on Iraq. This is odd from a man who every chance he gets claims to be winning the war on terror and making Americans safe. You ask him about the environment or welfare reform and he parrots something about his war on terror making Americans safe. So you see Bush actually knows what the truth is. Even though he fights tooth and nail to keep it from us, it slips out from time to time. That is the funny thing about truth.
Let us take a closer look at why the things done to date does little to make us safe from terrorism, and in fact actually endanger us even more.
America is an open society, with democratic freedoms and liberties that few nations even come close to. Establishing a Department of Homeland Security simply puts another bureaucracy in place that will generate more confusion than before, despite claims of streamlining information. It will turn out to be nothing more than a political cash cow and works program for the sitting administration, as it places its party regulars in plum jobs. Why else do you think Bush desires free rein to fire and hire in this Department. At best, Homeland Security will be able to furnish citizens with such things as color coded threat levels, and ask for their help in apprehending malcontents, real or imagined. It is next to impossible to protect an open multiethnic society from such attacks without turning it into a garrison state, with heavily curtailed freedoms, prevalent fear of when the next shoe will drop, and riddled with suspicion and animosity of citizen against citizen.
The war in Afghanistan has done little to make Americans safe from the threat of terrorism. No doubt it disrupted the activity of its proponents, but the end result was that it sent them to ground, making them more elusive, creative, and radicalized in their commitment to the demise of America. One cannot connect the dots as to how the American dropping of a bomb on prisoners incarcerated at a fort in Mazar I Sharif in Afghanistan, killing up to a thousand men, can make Americans in the streets of their country safer. If anything it makes them more susceptible to being targets. The war on Iraq will only magnify this state of affairs. Imagine how terrorist organizations are just licking their chops, waiting for America to attack Iraq, so they can go to work creating mayhem and destruction.
The Washington Post ran an article in its Thursday, December 26 issue detailing a US intelligence facility attached to its Bagram airbase in Afghanistan. This facility is, in essence, a torture chamber where Taliban and Al Qaida fighters are incarcerated and undergo intense interrogation. It is off limits to prying eyes and the media. When the interrogators run into difficulty extracting information from the victims they hand them over to the intelligence agencies of other nations, which top Amnesty International's list for being in the forefront of human rights violations. Imagine that! America is torturing Afghanis in their own country, and when they dislike what they get, feel that they are violating the laws, wishes, and moral values of Americans, they hand them over to other countries. Talk about sleeping with the devil. Is this making Americans safe? Not a chance. It is bound to come back like a boomerang, endanger Americans, and damage America.
This next issue affects our daily lives because it has to do with American air travel, which most of us use frequently. Now we hear little of it, but right after September 11 the Air Marshals program was all the buzz. This system, along with vigorous airport searches, would help enhance air safety. Sometime late last year USA Today did a report on the Air Marshal program. The level of disarray and unpreparedness was shocking. If things have not changed since that time then we had better think again, if we entertain the notion that this system is making American air travel safe. Regarding the matter of vigorous searches by airport security. Someone needs to explain how an airport security employee in Miami is making America safe by relieving me of my shoes, and having me remove my belt, with my pants almost falling to the floor. Especially in light of the fact that not very long ago 60 Minutes ran a story of a female Turkish interpreter hired by the FBI to decipher important Arab documents and communication intercepts related to terrorist groups. The woman, highly capable in this job as an interpreter, was told by her FBI boss that she was being too efficient with her work, and was ahead of schedule. He told her to go slower and take longer lunches, because in this way his agency would get more Federal money.
Disgusted, the lady left the Bureau. Can you imagine that? Especially after the criticism of the FBI by an irate American public after September 11. How is airport security making me safer with their inane comical actions, when the premier domestic agency responsible for security seems more interested in turf battles, and less about our safety? Reminds me of one of those comical 'Airport' movies with Leslie Nielsen, where airport security throws an old lady against the wall in a weapons shakedown, while a bearded terrorist type saunters by unchecked, with bandoliers bristling with bullets crisscrossing his chest.
The truth of the matter is Americans are deluding themselves if they think their government is making them safe from terrorist attacks. The leaders ensure their own safety in the case of danger, but the honest truth is that Americans are on their own in the face of this danger. After all, George Bush can flit about from an airbase in Indiana to one in the foothills of Colorado wearing a flak jacket as if he is under attack, like he did on September 11. He is immune from danger. Not so for average Americans. Vice President Dick Cheney is safe because he can be spirited away to safety by a White House Secret Service detail, as was the case on September 11. Our lawmakers in Congress and the Senate are safe because they are immediately taken to safety, as was the case on September 11. Is it not strange that those afforded the most safety in America are the ones touting war?
It is inconceivable to believe that the vilest of terrorist, with designs on attacking Americans, would do so on seeing citizens marching across this country against war, braving bitter cold in Washington DC opposing war, senior citizens scaling the fence at Lafayette Park outside the White House in opposition to war and being arrested, mothers bringing their children from as far away as Minnesota to demonstrate against war, twenty two buses filled with citizens from Vermont descending on Washington DC opposing war, a marine marching in Washington in opposition to war, and an old 76 year old man with a placard marching in California in opposition to war. So Bush, when you see all this and patronizingly remark, as you did this week, that the anti-war march is 'a favored and expected American pastime,' I have to say that you are absolutely wrong. These people are less afraid of terrorists, and more afraid of you and your Administration. As Americans they should feel proud and patriotic in that they are making their country safe, free, and respected by their fellow citizens of the world.
Ben Roberts is a newsletter editor, freelance writer and published author. His book, Jackals of Samarra, was published in January 2001. Ben can be contacted by email at: email@example.com
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