Out of the Woods / Stop foreign destruction, start rebuilding America
Published 9:12 am, Tuesday, June 28, 2011
"You'll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A."
This is the theme of a new song played over a video of U.S. war planes bombing countries in the Middle East that I received from a good friend last week in Great Britain.
It made the point that all we seem to be able to do in America when we see trouble abroad is to bomb and kill, bomb and kill, and bomb and kill some more.
I find it extremely ironic that as July Fourth approaches and we celebrate with our national anthem's reference to "bombs bursting in air" -- marking our defese against British invasion in the War of 1812 -- that we are now being criticized by citizens of the same country which we broke away from to create our own Republic.
The video depicts America's sleek, powerful fighting planes dropping bomb after bomb -- on innocent people as well as terrorists -- in Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, and God knows where else, to try and crush the Taliban, al-Qaeda and any other terrorist groups into submission -- all in the name of freedom and democracy.
My friend, Nigel Sitwell, did not send his message in anger. He simply wanted me to know how we are perceived by some of the British today.
In response, I sent him an e-mail, as follows:
"Nigel, I am not proud of all the bombs the U.S. of A is dropping all over the G-D place. We Americans know how to kill. But do we know how to live? We're a sorry bunch for a once-great country."
If, indeed, our heralded diplomatic strategy is to "win the hearts and minds" of the Arab countries, I would think dropping bombs is the last alternative, The so-called `collateral damage' -- a phrase that I hate because it clearly means civilians killed -- shows we are on the wrong track. Our bombs are self-defeating.
We are continuing to sow hatred and animosity toward America with every bomb that we drop. Destroying buildings, cities, and killing innocent people is no formula for success. Quite the contrary, it only continues to alienate those whom we are allegedly trying to save from oppression.
Quite frankly, I am sick and tired of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and all the other Arab countries where we have men on the ground or up in the air. It turns my stomach every night when I see those photos of the faces of young men and woman in uniform on the PBS News Hour who have been killed in combat at the ages of 19, 20, 21, and so on.
Why continue these wars? No matter how long we stay, it is highly unlikely that Afghanistan, for example, a nation that is weary and totally disorganized from decades of wars and occupation, will ever be able to stand on its own two feet.
I no longer buy the argument that if we left, it would create a vacuum for al-Qaeda to resume its evil plots against us. America should simply declare victory and leave. Should al-Qaeda resume planning attacks from any of these nations, we can always return with our trustworthy bombs to isolate and crush such operations.
Once can argue that George W. Bush, after cleaning out the Taliban from Afghanistan rather quickly, took his eye off the ball and illegally invaded Iraq when he should have built a strong Afghanistan Army in the first place. But the blame game does not help.
Instead, many of us in Westport believe that it's time to accelerate our withdrawal from Afghanistan, Iraq and any other Middle East military engagement in which we have become embroiled.
President Obama said it loudly and clearly last week in his announcement about our strategy in Iraq: "America, it is time to focus on nation building at home."
Indeed, it is. With the nation facing a lengthy Great Recession, unemployment stuck at 9 to 10 percent, the housing market dipping once again, banks refusing to lend money to new home buyers even though the banks were bailed out by the government, it is past time that the White House and the Congress concentrate on one thing: The economy.
There is little doubt that the state of the U.S. ecnomy will be the burning issue in the 2012 presidential election. Obama's tenure in office may well depend on how Americans feel about their country at home.
But, aside from the politics of the economy, everyone knows it's the right issue to run on. No matter who the Republican candidate turns out to be, the economy -- at this point -- will become Obama's Achilles heel. If he and the administration are not able to show clear signs of healthy recovery by November 2012, they will be voted out of office.
They know it. The American people know it. And our so-called "Coalition Allies" know it overseas.
It's time, as the president said, to focus on rebuilding America -- now. The so-called "American Century" (the 20th Century) may become a fond memory. We may very well slip into a retrogressive freefall that will make all of us feel that we are no longer the greatest nation in the world.
Many pundits are beginning to say this. I don't even know whether our best years are ahead of us anymore. They won't be unless we stop bombing the hell out of countries we do not like or who we consider a danger to us. Bombing is not the answer. Polls show that a majority of Americans want to get out of Afghanistan much more quickly than the president outlined last week. Now is the time for protests. Now is the time to speak up.