A World at War

Do any of you remember that series? In BC it was largely shown on the public “Knowledge Network”. I always found it really fascinating to see the original footage. You can actually Buy it on DVD now.

I bring it up because the name reflects what I believe is our current situation. After the end of WWII we could say that there were wars going on in the world, even the Cold War, but it didn’t really affect us personally. This is because we were always seperated either politically, geographically, socially, or mentally from the strife going on. Very rarely did it affect the day-to-day lives of ordinary citizens in North America, Europe and other affluent nations.

Do any of you remember that series? In BC it was largely shown on the public “Knowledge Network”. I always found it really fascinating to see the original footage. You can actually Buy it on DVD now.

I bring it up because the name reflects what I believe is our current situation. After the end of WWII we could say that there were wars going on in the world, even the Cold War, but it didn’t really affect us personally. This is because we were always seperated either politically, geographically, socially, or mentally from the strife going on. Very rarely did it affect the day-to-day lives of ordinary citizens in North America, Europe and other affluent nations.

As a new threat to the affluent, western world emerged in the form of Islamic extremism our reality of perpetual ignorance slowly changed. The first bombing of the World Trade center was a signal that no longer was simple tyranny and power a motivation to kill and strike terror, but rather, a deep jealousy perhaps, or disgust, or insecurity about the indominable position of power that the Western developed world has over the rest. No longer were thoughts of dominating people the motivating force behind an enemy. Instead it was our own affluence, and success, and excess as a society that was under attack.

The US was the brunt of the first wave of these attacks… first on the WTC, then on the Kobar towers and USS Cole. All were motivated for the same reason, perpetrated by the same people.

On 9/11 the war entered a new phase. No longer was simply the US, as the leader and role model of modern affluence, the target. Yes they again faced the brunt, but the attack was truly international in cause and effect. The modern world was suddenly jolted into the realization that *they* were the targets of these Islamic extremists as well. It was their lifestyle that was under attack. Thus when the US declared it would retaliate against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan the world united and supported that action to this day.

I bring all of this up because I was confronted today on my position on the war in Iraq. I was told “I can’t complain” because my country “didn’t participate” in the war in Iraq.

I believe this person to be taking this view because he is still accustomed to the past where wars were fought in other lands, across the sea, and only affected those directly involved. That is no longer the case. We now see that every action we take has a reaction. After 9.11 we had the bombings in Indonesia which killed 100s of Australians. Why? Because they were young, affluent, and each one symbols of the success of the western world.

The case was made for the Iraq war on the basis of an imminent military threat and a possible threat of our new enemies aquiring weapons from Saddams regime. Whether those assertions were true are now a moot point… what matters was that this was not the proper reaction to our new enemy. This was an old response to a very new, very different problem.

Again, this new World War is not based on power, or a desire to conquer others. Rather, it is based on ideologies and emotion. We have seen that pan out as attacks in Madrid before their election, continued attacks against western governments in SE Asia and Indonesia, continued kidnappings of westerners in Iraq, and most recently, uprising in Thailand.

These are all part of the same war and as such affect us all no matter what our position on a single issue.

The Awakening of the world public to the realities of this war after 9/11 meant they understood what needed to be done in order to rectify it. It was accepted that the gap between the have and have nots in the world must be narrowed. That nagging issues like the Palestinian conflict must be solved and that human rights and freedoms *must* be fought for and enforced equally, rather than simply based on political convenience and opportunity.

While there is a military component to this war that must be fought (ie. the capture of AQ leaders and destruction of other Islamic extremist infrastructure) the meat of the battle must be an emotional and ideological one. That is why the Iraq war in its’ current form, is actually having the opposite effect. It is strengthening our enemy not only because we are providing them, literally, with ammunition but also because emotionally we are turning people against us and dividing our own ranks. We are giving reason, motivation to our enemies and we are dividing ourselves into very distinct, very hostil camps.

As in the first two World Wars, the only way to win this war is to show a united front. But the mechanism is very different. We cannot win it militarily. We must win it emotionally. We must create an environment that will not alienate groups. We must prevent jealousy, distrust and anger.

That is why I feel I can complain about the situation in Iraq. Because it is part of this new war, a war that I must deal with and that we all must find a way to bring to a good conclusion.

As with any war, there is an ebb and flow. We’ve recently had set backs, but I believe there is an opportunity now to change the course.

More on that in another article.

Chris

2 thoughts on “A World at War”

  1. I see your link to MSNBC has changed stories again. It would appear that they’ve caught up to the destruction of the explosives that the IAEA, the NYTimes and CBS are trying to use to promote the Kerry campaign or in the case of the IAEA to harm Bush.

    What you seem not to realize is that many of these “news sources” are incredibly biased, as demonstrated by Dan Rather’s promotion of false documents as truth. I make it a habit to get multiple sources and make sure they’re not just repeating the same story. I also ask “why are they telling me this?”

    I also worry about your news sources. Al Jazeera is now available in Canada and Fox News Channel is still banned. Indeed it is illegal to try to get Fox, as I understand it. There is something wrong with that.

    You seem to have omitted a few terrorist actions. I’d include the Beirut barracks bombings (French and U.S.) and the embassy bombings there too. I would include the Munich Olympics and all the aircraft hijackings that took place in that era, the machine gunning of people in the airport terminal in Athens also counts as well as the embassy bombings in Africa.

    Here’s a comprehensive, but hardly complete, list of terrorist incidents. It goes back to the “Gunpowder Plot” in 1605. Some items on the list are not commonly considered terrorism, like the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, but it’s better than my memory for listing terrorist incidents.

    I am the person that Chris is discussing in this post. I say that because I want to correct a bad guess on where my attitude comes from. I am not one of those who are accustomed to wars being fought elsewhere. I was brought up in Scotland in the aftermath of WW2, where my parents and grandparents told stories about being bombed and there were still refugees living among us. I remember milk being delivered to our street on a horse and cart (the horse’s name was Bob) as fuel and motorized transport was just too expensive or unavailable. I also remember one of the neighbors, who had a garden, following that horse up and down the street to collect what his garden needed.

    I also remember the ration books and some of the other aftermath of war. The bombed out buildings were pretty much razed or repaired by then, but the men who lost legs, arms and eyes were still evident. So while I haven’t actually been engaged in war, I have some small idea of its meaning on a human level. I also know enough to realize that it is better if it’s an ‘away game’ rather than a ‘home game’.

    You are correct about dividing ourselves into hostile camps. There are those who feel that a kinder gentler approach and the narrowing of the gap between the haves and the have nots is the solution to the problem facing us.

    Then there is the camp that realizes that these people want to kill us all or convert us to their way of thinking/worship and it makes no difference to them which it is. They are not the poor of the world, they are what we would call middle to upper income people. Some, like bin Laden, are quite wealthy.

    The Palestinian conflict must be solved, as you say. It will go a long way to being solved when the Arabs calling themselves ‘Palestinians’ give up their ideal of pushing Israel and the Jews into the sea. It is their ultimate goal and there will be no peace till they give it up or succeed. They have been offered everything they ever asked for and have refused to make any lasting peace.

    The U.S. has given them billions of dollars to make life better for their people and it has never been used to build a road or even put one brick on top of another in an effort to build anything. Instead it gets diverted to personal accounts of the corrupt leadership or finances more arms and ammunition to continue their terrorism. They do this because their “Arab Brothers” in the rest of the ME won’t have them or allow them to live in their countries. They are, of course, tools of the other Muslim countries that have failed repeatedly to destroy Israel with their armies.

    War is one soldier shooting at another soldier. Terrorism is an armed man shooting an unarmed pregnant woman, her unborn baby and her three little girls.

    I can accept that the gap between the haves and have nots in the world should be narrowed. You say that the gap should be narrowed, but you don’t say how it should be done. I have the feeling that we would fall into different camps on this too.

    I would support private NGO’s providing the ‘have nots’ with the tools that they can use to narrow the gap themselves and build on that by spreading these tools around to other ‘have nots’. The basic tools being education and knowledge. I can also see providing equipment to them to improve their situation. Clean water, good shelter and what they need to provide food to themselves and their families. “give a man a fish…teach a man to fish…” The difficult part will be doing this for wealthy nations that have a significant part of their populace in enforced poverty. Saudi Arabia comes immediately to mind. Iraq was another, but that is going to change.

    I’ll take a wild guess that your solution would be the government creating an agency to support the ‘have nots’ with regular subsidies (which they will get addicted to and never learn to fend for themselves). I hope I’m wrong.

    Even as we wrangle over how to go about this the U.S. is bombing Darfur…..with food supplies. While the usual suspects in the U.N. (France and China) are trying to keep anyone from helping out the refugees there, the U.S. is again “going it alone” to feed these people. Well, it’s not exactly going it alone, but the U.S. is providing more than twice as much relief as the rest of the world combined.

    There will come a day though when the food drops will stop. There will have to be people on the ground to help these refugees from Sudanese Islamic government terrorism to resettle themselves, rebuild and set about making their own way in the world again. I hope that the roadblocks in the U.N. will have been removed by then.

    You say that we must present a united front, yet you yourself seem to find something wrong with every move made. You leap almost gleefully on any story that puts the U.S. into a bad light and never, ever mention anything good that has happened.

    If something like a good news story is posted, you make it your business to find some negative aspect of it. When the “U.S. in a bad light” story is debunked, you ignore it and move on to something else, much as Senator Kerry is doing now that the ‘missing explosives’ story is coming apart on him.

    It’s dishonest, Chris, whether it’s you or one of our politicians doing it to win office. Kerry’s motivation is obvious, yours is not. I will do you the courtesy of not guessing what your motivation might be. Whatever it is, it’s seen by some as foreign interference in our election and it is not appreciated any more than the Grauniad email campaign to Clark County, Ohio.

    I disagree about not being able to win militarily. Indeed I find your defeatist attitude to be somewhat alarming. It only encourages the enemy to see that there are those who don’t believe we can save our civilization from them. It is certainly not part of a united front. Instead it gives them hope and encouragement. Why do you think they keep kidnapping and murdering people? Check with Gloria Arroyo. She gave them a reason to continue doing it. Check with the Turks too, I think they knuckled under as well.

    You say we must win it ’emotionally’. I’d like to know what that means and how you would propose to do this.

    You say “We must create an environment that will not alienate groups.” Please tell me how this can be accomplished, what groups, what environment and why won’t they learn to fit in and live with the rest of us? Lots of Muslims have done it in the U.S. for many generations and are contributing members of the community. Some have become quite prominent in their fields of endeavour. What makes these Wahabbi nutcases special? Why do we have to accommodate them?

    You say “We must prevent jealousy, distrust and anger”. Again, there are no details on how this can be done.

    Jealousy is quite prevalent in the human psyche, indeed it has been mentioned in the 10 commandments under “covet”. You know, one of the thou shalt not verses.

    Distrust is an acquired attitude. If enough people lie to you, you will become distrustful. Small children are naturally trusting it is only as they grow that they develop distrust. Indeed, we have to teach them distrust: “don’t talk to strangers”.

    Anger: another human frailty. Whether it’s the jammed drawer or catching the love of your life with another, it’s a natural thing. Please detail how anger can be overcome. I can use the help myself.

    After reading your post several times, I really don’t understand why you seem to continually grab negative stories and stick them under our noses at The Indepundit. If the post was meant to clarify that to me, I’m afraid it has failed.

    I do want to point out that I showed appreciation to Canada for the help they have so far provided in Afghanistan and elsewhere. I’m sorely tempted to point out that a sixteen ship, four submarine Navy is not sufficient to a world power, but I won’t. Oops, I guess I did.

    They also served valiantly in the Gulf and the Red Sea, making something like 50% of the stop and search missions, but they now have exhausted their capabilities and must rest their crews and maintain their equipment and cannot provide ships to their usual commitments like STANAVFORLANT, the standing NATO force in the North Atlantic.

    Four destroyers only stretch so far. It takes at least three ships to put one ship on a continual mission: One on station, one in transit and one in preparation. I know that there are twelve frigates too, but I understand that one has been deactivated because they don’t have the personnel to put a crew on it and some of them don’t run reliably. This according to a Canadian poster on another site. Altogether I’d say they’re doing a herculean task considering what they have to work with.

    Anyway, using the 3:1 rule that gives you five ships available for deployment at any time. I’ll leave the submarines alone. Yours have their own problems. (I always wanted to be a submariner but couldn’t make it past the physical exam, bad eyes, so they put me on a destroyer and made me a lookout some of the time. Government in action.)

    Be proud of your social programs, Chris. They were purchased at the expense of your military preparedness and defense capability. It would be nice to live in a world where the military was not needed, but that’s not the world we inhabit. There is always someone who will want what you or I have. Whether it’s land, water or poutine. Somebody will come and take it if they think nobody will stop them. You won’t have to worry though, as the neighbors will stop them and you can continue to be superior and critical.

    The Europeans are getting nervous though with the drawdown of U.S. troops in Germany. They want to know where the money is going to come from to build up their defense. They are very committed to social(ist) programs though. South Koreans have been demonstrating against the presence of U.S. troops but are changing their minds now that they too are seeing a reduction in U.S. forces there. Ya just can’t please everybody. Sometime ya just can’t please anybody.

    Anyway, Now that I’ve wandered away from the original purpose of this post and it’s too late to cut it short, I’ll just cut it here.

  2. Wow.

    First. Thank you for taking the time to respond… At Length!

    I’ll try to respond while my daughter is still sleeping 😉

    I could respond to many parts of your with an article on the blog for each… you bring up very good points that are worth expanding on, but right now I just want to address your main points.

    “What you seem not to realize is that many of these news sources are incredibly biased, as demonstrated by Dan Rathers promotion of false documents as truth. I make it a habit to get multiple sources and make sure theyre not just repeating the same story. I also ask why are they telling me this?”

    I am well aware of this bias and do make an effort to get as many sources as I can.

    Ironically, many sources that you consider too “lefty” like the main US media sources, CNN, ABC, NBC etc… I consider totally rightwing. CNN, BBCWorld, CBC, AlJazeera, the CSMonitor, NYT, Yahoo (usually a direct AP feed) and Reuters … they all have their different spin. I try to check them all out and “average out” the information to form my opinion on the subject.

    More importantly though, when I quote things I like the quote the actual *source*, not the news service. That is why I always try to point out, or provide if I can, the source documents like surveys, reports, whatever. That way I am doing the editorialising.

    On AlJazeera and Fox News in Canada.

    Your interpretation of the facts is a little off I think.

    It is not that one is “illegal” and one is not. Rather, the CRTC does not approve the distribution of new channels without first:

    #1 Being asked to by one of the Canadian distributors… or the Canadian Cable TV Association (association of cable tv providers)

    #2 Going through a public consultation

    #3 Approving the channel

    In short.. if no one asks for the channels, then they won’t come to Canada!

    The request to bring in AlJazeera
    was approved on July 9

    It looks like Fox News is well on it’s way to approval… along with the NFL Network.. Woohoo!

    What you may be hearing when you refer to current broadcast of Fox News being “illegal” is the grey-market satellite business in Canada where people pirate US Satellite signals.

    ——–

    Thank you for the Wikipedia Link! That is an awesome link… I’m going to put it on the site.

    Did you go through the list… this is what I noticed:

    #1 In the Post WWII World, terrorism has always been with us… anyone with an axe to grind has resorted to it. The IRA and Ulster Unionists, the ETA, Puerto Ricans, Quebec Seperatists, the KKK, Timohty McVeigh, Jews, Palestinians and Islamic groups.

    #2 The vast majority of those groups have quieted considerably in the past decade. Northern Ireland is largely peaceful. Puerto Rico and Quebec while still having seperatist movements are peaceful. Domestic Terrorism in the US seems non-existant.

    Only the ETA and the Islamic/Palestinian/Jewish conflict remain. And even the ETA seems to be sinking into the background.

    What I see of the conflicts that seem resolved is that they were all done so after confrontation failed to produce a result. Did anyone “win” in Northern Ireland? No… except the average citizen that just wanted peace.

    And that.. is what I mean by winning the war of the minds, emotionally, and psychologically. THis can’t be done by military force alone.

    Perhaps Sharons’ plan to pullout from Gaza is a first step… and Arafats imminent death may be a second. I can not say what “I would do” except encourage negotiation rather than retaliation.

    War begets war. Only negotiation can bring peace, and peace brings reconciliation, and reconciliation brings respect.

    That brings me to Iraq.

    The point is that Iraq was a military reaction to an emotional, psychological and societal problem. The two don’t mix and will not solve the underlying problem. (As OBL has, rather surprisingly I might add, said today)

    Once the Iraqis elect their own government they may, hopefully, have a choice to go their own way, or continue being driven by foreign governments on their soil.

    I hope they chose a government who listened to their will, and implements it with their own, Iraqi vision. It should not be the US determining how the new Iraqi government runs its’ economy or business or services. It should be up to Iraqis and Iraqis only.

    You will say that this possibility was given to them by George W. Bush. I say it was always there, they should have been given the chance to make it happen themselves… indeed, they had that opportunity in 91. The UN and George Bush Sr. chose not to support the rebellion against Saddam. I believe that was a huge mistake.

    I have to go to bed… but I’ll try to answer more tomorrow.. or I’ll post an article relating to it.

    until next time…

    Chris

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