Monday, September 11, 2006


War on terror not going well, either

When Israel invaded Lebanon, Hezbollah responded with a barrage of rockets fired into Israeli cities. Fortunately for Israel, the rockets did comparatively little damage (the missiles killed civilians and were unquestionably war crimes). Israel's precision guided missiles took a far greater toll on Lebanese civilians, bridges, hospitals and other infrastructure in what may well be recorded by history as one of the new century's greatest atrocities. The fact that both sides targeted civilians does not exonerate either side.

Pundits claimed that the civilian slaughter in Lebanon was justified because Hezbollah hid in populated areas. Never mind that killing civilians is still a war crime whether or not that was true.

Condoleezza Rice refused to call for a cease fire, holding that the violence represents "the birth pangs of a new Middle East." Indeed. But probably not the Middle East she had in mind.

Hezbollah is now leading in the restoration of Lebanon and is way ahead of FEMA. Go figure. Crews from Syria are restoring downed power lines. They are not acting as though they were defeated.

There's much discussion over who won that war. It doesn't seem that Israel won. One reason is that Rice's "new Middle East" will be a place where neither Israel nor the USA can be successful with conventional military assaults. In other words, the point has come where killing people will not win wars.

In fact, the success of the so-called "War on Terror" might be in doubt as insurgents, terrorists and others who don't happen to have tanks and helicopters perfect new ways to deal with raw military aggression. In today's Washington Post article Losing the War on Terror: Why Militants Are Beating Technology Five Years After Sept. 11 the author describes what's going on:
Israel's high-tech surveillance and weaponry were no match for Hezbollah's low-tech network of underground tunnels. Hezbollah's success in stealth and total battlefield secrecy is an example of what extremists are trying to do worldwide.

.  .  .

If this is indeed a long war, as the Bush administration says, then the United States has almost certainly lost the first phase. Guerrillas are learning faster than Western armies, and the West makes appalling strategic mistakes while the extremists make brilliant tactical moves.

As al-Qaeda and its allies prepare to spread their global jihad to Central Asia, the Caucasus and other parts of the Middle East, they will carry with them the accumulated experience and lessons of the past five years. The West and its regional allies are not prepared to match them.
Now, this article isn't from some extremist fundamentalist newspaper--it's from our own Washington Post. Our congresspeople and the White House staff have read it by now.

The massive outpouring of violence, death and destruction is no longer an assurance of victory. What does this leave?

As we remember the horrors of the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City and Washington, DC, we can also note that today is also the centenary of Mohandas Gandhi's first nonviolence campaign in South Africa. It is 100 years to the day that Gandhi launched the modern nonviolent resistance movement called Satyagraha.

Maybe it's Time to ask, 'What would Gandhi do?'


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