Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Could I Agree with Newt??!!

I never in my life dreamed the day would come when I’d say that I agree with Newt Gingrich on anything more complex than, “We should not eat our children”, but that day is here. I still suspect that Newt would eat his children if he thought it would advance him two steps toward high political office, but yesterday he actually spoke the truth when he said, “The war on terror is phony.”

Those of us who spotted that phoniness before BushCo led the rest of the lemmings off that particular cliff have always known it to be a phony war, and it is no real consolation beyond relief to learn that some powerful Republicans like Newt are finally ready to denounce BushCo’s efforts. One of the deeply troubling aspects of all the wrangling over this war has been the insistence of politicians on maintaining opposite sides of the argument based solely on party affiliations. Of course, the only reason some Repulsicans are beginning to sing another tune may be that they see political opportunism swinging that way, but at least if they take a position in opposition to the war that position will align them with the lily-livered Demorats who still haven’t shown the guts needed to clearly and decisively oppose the national propensity toward violence as a method of managing our international interests.

Newt says he will flesh out his opinion on how to conduct the war on terror over the next couple of weeks – meaning, of course, that he will need to analyze the polls after each position statement before he can frame the next one – and further meaning, naturally, that he is testing the waters to see if he can ride the tide of anti-Bushism among the Repulsicans to a nomination for ’08. Your skin, like mine, may crawl at the mention of his name, but there’s no denying that Newt is such a polished politician (a polishtician?) that he could make Machiavelli blush.

There are several options Newt or anyone with a grain of sense could put forward as more powerful methods of fighting terrorism than fighting a losing war in Iraq. Even BushCo ought to be ready to pull out of that one about now. After all, dick Cheney and his buddies have extracted about as much profit out of it as they can grab unless the Iraqi parliament actually knuckles under and signs away their oil futures in exchange for the modicum of security our troop presence offers.

I risk upsetting some of my peace network friends with a few of the following statements, but I also think that the U.S. could implement a few different strategies including some military options that would increase our national safety a hell of a lot more than BushCo’s war has done. I don’t know what Newt will propose, but just for the heck of it, here are my ideas on what we ought to do.

First, stop our greedy international economic policies. I guarantee you that Newt won’t start there, but I deeply believe that the notion of continuous expansion is a dead end for economic well-being. Constant growth should give way to sustainability. That attitude change alone would show us ways to quit putting the pressure on less developed countries so we can control their resources. It would go a long way toward alleviating the international pressure our greediness has generated.

Second, remove all religious “tags” from our discussions of terrorism.

Third, give up the idea that we can fight terroristic cells with B-52s and ICBMs. We have no enemies who come within 1/7 of our spending on “defense”. Ours is wasteful spending. Big high-tech weaponry is not only useless against small terrorist cells armed with light weapons and suicide bombs, it is counter-productive in the animosity it generates through “collateral damage” killings of innocent civilians wherever they are deployed.

Reduce big weapon military spending, thus also reducing the rest of the world’s fear of how we plan to use it, increase small arms, surveillance potentials (spies, infiltrators, etc.) and boots on the ground and use these things to ferret out those cells wherever they are. The British have done a much better job than we have of identifying and defusing domestic threats. Our “Homeland Security Department” has been a joke from day one - a paper tiger that costs an arm and a leg while providing only a false sense of security without seriously impinging on any real risks. We should follow the example of the Brits and the Israelis (I’m thinking Entebbe here.). Implement meaningful intelligence efforts to identify true risks and then launch countermeasures targeted to specific threats.

Finally, start spending saved military funds on projects to improve living conditions throughout the world – starting at home. It’s really pretty simple and comes back to the question I first raised before we went to war in Iraq. i.e. Who will be the next terrorist. The son whose father we kill, or the father whose son we feed?

In the meantime, let’s pay some attention to ol’ Newt. Who knows maybe this time his Machiavellian antics will result in an amalgamation of American opinion to the effect that the war in Iraq HAS been a complete and utter waste of lives and resources, and we can all take one giant step in unity toward a more peaceful future. At the very least, Newt has proven that if we just keep talking to one another we will eventually find something to agree upon. With that thought in mind,

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored.
But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

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