There are things that we don’t understand about waging a war on terror. First, what is terror? Terror is, 1. An overwhelming feeling of fear and anxiety 2. A person who inspires fear or dread, 3. The use of extreme fear in order to coerce people (especially for political reasons). Understanding what terror is and what a terrorist does, still does not help us to identify what a terrorist looks like, what color uniform does a terrorist wear? Well, in this country some terrorists have worn white sheets. Others, called “Skin Heads”, have been bald. Some terrorist groups, such as the Arian Nation, don’t publicly sport a particular uniform or hairstyle; however, their terrorist cells are not particularly difficult to find. There are the other terrorists who terrorize entire neighborhoods in our own country, we often refer to them as gangs, but since 9/11 I think that we should call them what they are, they are terrorist cells. And they are recruiting our own young people on a daily basis. And lets call a spade a spade, isn’t a hate crime just another form of terrorism? By definition, and not by advertising slogan, many would say, and have said that our own government used terrorism to ensnare us in a war in on terror. Timothy McVee was a terrorist, have we captured and eliminated all of his known terrorist associates? Is there really a difference between an imported terrorist and the homegrown variety? Isn’t terrorized…terrorized regardless of the skin color, nationality or religious affiliation of the terrorist or the ones being terrorized?
The next problem that I see is this, terrorists, as I have just mentioned, come in all shapes and sizes, and live in every country. It is very easy for the Iraqi people to label us terrorists. After all, they did not do anything to us as a nation. Now, we do not consider ourselves terrorists because we were attacked…by someone…maybe not them…but someone who looked like them and happened to live nearby. So, obviously, when you kill someone’s family members, neighbors, friends, or countrymen, it just might make a person want to kill you. Since we are sending our troops over to Iraq and Afghanistan to kill terrorists, and since we have no idea what terrorists look like, what gender they are, or even how old they tend to be, it is safe to say that we just may be killing and terrorizing a few people who may not be terrorists. We are perfect examples of the idea that when innocent people are attacked, sometimes, they want to get revenge on their attacker, so, if you go into someone’s house, or country and kill people because they might have a gun or a bomb, but, it turns out that either they didn’t or they were actually themselves being held hostage by someone who did, anyone left alive, or related to those thoughtlessly killed, might just have been turned into someone who needs to get an eye for an eye, or get you before you kill anyone else, or a terrorist.
Now, in May of 2003, we won the war against the Iraqi government and its forces, just ask the President – we even had a victory party. So, for the past four years since the war ended we have just been sending over our troops to die and to kill civilians, no soldiers, no uniforms, just men, women and children who don’t really understand why, if we won the war, we are still killing them, and, I might add, might would really like us to stop.
We really don’t have any justification for the killing. Our troops are forced to kill innocent civilians because they don’t have any way to tell who is the enemy with a gun or a bomb or who isn’t, under those circumstances, the only safe thing for them to do is to kill everyone. The thing is, if we don’t want our troops attacked, and we don’t, we need to bring them home. If your children went down the block to a neighbor’s house, and the neighbors children kept beating them up, what advise would give them? Would you say, “Well if they are attacking you, kill them”, or, would you tell them to get the hell out of the neighbors yard? We’re in the neighbors yard. We’re on their property. Even if they hated us, this particular neighbor did not come into our yard and attack us. How can we say that we are defending ourselves when we are in their yard? Go home and defend yourself, at least it makes more sense.
If we had put as much money into the war on poverty, or the war on crime, or the war on drugs as we have into the war on terror, we might have been able to win one of them. We are waging a war, declared by people who believe in an “eye for an eye”, against people who believe in “an eye for an eye” and any dummy can tell you that the only way that war will be won is when there are no more eyes left to lose or take.
This war can be won. If we value the lives of the children, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers and fellow countrymen that we have sent and will send to be lost overseas, then bringing them home is a victory that is priceless. The truth is that a war on terror, is a war on fear. It is not a war against a human enemy. It is a war against someone, anyone who feels that they have a reason to hate. Hate has never been killed away. The truth is that every war being waged in this world today is founded in hatred, fear, and or prejudice. These are the enemies of the twenty-first century and killing fuels them, and suffering fuels them. They are impervious to guns and bombs. I believe that we can win the war on terror by fighting the war on ignorance, hatred, prejudice, and yes, by returning to the war on poverty. Our real enemies do not live within nations but within the living conditions of the people of all nations. The only weapon on earth that will guarantee peace for us and for all nations is the heart.
It was Gandhi’s heart that brought an end to British oppression. It was Nelson Mandela’s heart that brought an end to apartheid in South Africa. The truth about the war on terror is that we can end it, or it will end us.