Saturday, December 17


In the few unfocused moments I've had over the past week while sitting in a dark room editing video, I've been thinking about the GWOT (Bush's raison d'etre, the Global War On Terror). In this "greatest nation on God's green earth" (Michael Medved's closing tag to his radio show), we've been in a battle between preserving our civil liberties and the necessity of preventing another attack of the 9/11 sort. But the other day I had a random thought -- just how great is the terrorist threat, anyway? Yes, we lost several thousand innocent American lives on 9/11, and that was a tragedy and the cause of a national trauma. But WHY was it a national trauma, since we lose 17,000 every year to drunk driving?

Why didn't we hear about the NSA tapping into white-supremacy groups' telephone calls after the Oklahoma City bombing? Why isn't domestic terrorism considered on a par with foreign terrorist threats? Why aren't the perils of drunk driving a high priority of this administration, why are we considering writing off one of our signature cities, New Orleans, as a casualty of nature because it would cost too much to reconstruct but are intent on reconstructing a foreign country, Iraq?

I'm old enough to have lived through the antics of the Weather Underground, the Baider-Meinhof group, the PLO and other threats to civilians here and abroad. And I just can't take seriously this whole GWOT thing. There are always going to be bad people, or bad causes, that we have to deal with. But to subvert our laws, or to alter our national character and values, to thwart them is to give them a victory I'm not willing to concede. More people in our country die of lack of healthcare than will ever die in a foreign terrorist attack. And it's time for the Democratic Party to acknowledge, and speak up about, that fact.

George Bush found a simplistic PR message in 9/11. He didn't exert leadership, as is so often agreed upon by both conservatives and liberals alike, on that mound at Ground Zero. He's led us into nothing but another Vietnam, a costly foreign military adventure that profited us nothing and secured no national security. He can daydream about glory, but true leadership would have meant assuring the nation that while tragic, the events of 9/11 were an anomaly, and would not change us in any significant way. We would still remain a nation of law, dedicated to the pursuit of the actual perpetrators, and not advancing any utopian dreams of remaking the world while neglecting the actual needs of our own people.

It was somewhat understandable during the Cold War that we, as a nation, would feel threatened by a foreign superpower such as the USSR (which no longer exists) or China, that might actually have the means and motives to invade and control the United States. It is not believable that a terrorist group, even one so pervasive as Al Qaeda, unaffiliated with a powerful nation, can afflict such damage upon us. Condi Rice, an academic "expert" on the USSR, is a fitting SecOState for Dubya -- this administration is still mired in the thinking of a pre-nineties globe, in which the U.S. is facing national powers desiring, and perhaps able, to bring down the U.S.A.

But today's realities are quite different. The greatest threats posed by the USSR and China are economic, not military. And the nation's, and the world's, most pressing problems include subjects like global warming, which the Bush administration refuses to address.

In short, terrorism, while a problem this country has experienced on more occasions but with less tragedy than 9/11, is admittedly an issue we must deal with. But it has far less impact on the ordinary American than our own domestic issues such as healthcare, jobs, the trade imbalance, wage growth -- you name it. And why we should be expending the lifesblood of our military, squandering hundreds of billions that could be better used in reconstucting one of our great cities, shoring up Social Security and our education system, establishing a national healthcare plan, and making our borders and transit systems safer, is a mystery to me.


Blogger Kathy said...

You stated: And why we should be expending the lifesblood of our military, squandering hundreds of billions that could be better used in reconstucting one of our great cities, etc., is a mystery to me.

I agree with you 100%, but the problem is "we the people" don't matter to them. The GWOT opened a door for the carbetbaggers to make lots of money and and they ran with it.

1:43 PM  
Blogger mikevotes said...


2:58 PM  

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