The War Against Strawmen a.k.a. "The War on Terrorism"

The Bush Administration continues to maintain that its war in Iraq, and its adventures anywhere else, are aimed at ending worldwide terrorism.

But such a feat is not only impossible, it is absurd.

Terrorism is a crime, not a war. Terrorism is committed by gangs of criminals—not soldiers representing a sovereign government. And no one in his right mind can believe that our government can eliminate every criminal gang in the world.

If our government could do that, why wouldn’t it start with the drug gangs that terrorize areas of Washington, D.C.? What a perfect opportunity for the politicians to demonstrate their crime-fighting abilities.

On October 4, 2001, I wrote:

Because the September attacks were a crime, the government’s job is to locate and bring to trial any perpetrators who didn’t die in the attacks. If some of them are located in foreign countries, our government should request extradition—not threaten to bomb the foreign country if we don’t get our way.

I was criticized by some people, who asked, “But what if all the ‘criminals’ aren’t caught?”

And yet, here we are four years later, tens of thousands of people have died, and still not all the criminals have been caught regardless. Osama Bin Laden not only hasn’t been apprehended, he isn’t even talked about anymore. As I said in 2001:

If not all the criminals are found and brought to trial, it doesn't mean that bombing innocent people would have brought the criminals to justice.

So why do the politicians talk about a War on Terrorism that makes no sense?

Because it opens the door to all sorts of aggressions against foreigners and Americans.

And it allows the politicians—most notably the leading members of the Bush administration—to pose as noble warriors against enemies that are really only Strawmen.

Charley Reese, in a recent article, quoted Dick Cheney as claiming a U.S. pullout from Iraq would leave it in the hands of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Osama Bin Laden, and/or Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Charley points out that “Zarqawi is a Jordanian, not an Iraqi; he has been denounced by his tribe and his family; and he has killed more Iraqis than Americans. It is just a matter of time before some Iraqi drops a dime on him and he’s packed off to Islamic hell.”

But he’s a worthy Strawman, a bogey man, whose name is worth a hundred million dollars or more in Congressional appropriations.

Charley goes on, “As for bin Laden and his Egyptian adviser, they are—assuming they’re still alive—hiding out in some cave or rat-infested village in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan. They could not control a small town, much less a country of 25 million people of which neither of them is a native.”

As we all know, the U.S. government has since World War II been financing and arming various foreign dictators—such as Saddam Hussein, Manuel Noriega, the Shah of Iran, and others—only to denounce and attack them once they become wealthy and aggressive enough to be worthy Strawmen.

It’s also true that the U.S. government has financed and armed various opposition groups that supposedly represent the opportunity to topple the mean old dictators. Often these groups oppose each other, and engage in violence against one another. But no matter, the object of our government is to be doing something to fight a Strawman.

Robert Dreyfuss, in another excellent article, catalogs a number of the groups that opposed Saddam Hussein and are now battling for control of Iraq. There is far more than the Iraqi National Congress. The strongest groups are SCIRI (the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution), Al Dawa (The Islamic Call), SCIRI’s paramilitary arm, the Badr Brigade, the Muslim Brotherhood , represented by IIP (the Iraqi Islamic Party)—not to mention Al-Qaeda. The first three originated and are based in—guess where—Iran. In fact, SCIRI was founded in 1982 by Ayatollah Khomeini.

Today these groups are fighting each other as much as they’re fighting Iraqi insurgents, Americans, or Iraqi civilians. They regularly practice torture, assassinations, and other dastardly deeds upon one another. They are fighting to become the rulers of the new Iraq—the “democracy” that George Bush claims to be creating.

Is this what 2,000 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis have died for? Is this what $200 billion dollars has financed? Is this why we have given up so much of our freedom?

And whoever wins the battle to rule Iraq will eventually become Strawmen against whom the Bush administration can get on its horses and ride off to protect us.

There is no War on Terrorism. There is only a War on Strawmen, a War on Shadows, a War on Fantasies—allowing George Bush to do whatever he, or his advisors, choose to do.

It is time to quit pretending that the War in Iraq serves any purpose relating to world peace, democracy in the Middle East, the first line against terrorism, or any other salutary goal.

It is simply part of the War on Strawmen.