A Setback In The War On Terror: The Situation
I'm concerned about a broader message this issue could send to our friends and allies around the world, particularly in the Middle East.
In order to win the war on terror we have got to strengthen our friendships and relationships with moderate Arab countries in the Middle East.
President George W. Bush
In lieu of actually declaring war against Islam and launching a new Christo-fascist Crusade in the form of preemptive nuclear missiles flying towards Jihadist, Middle-Eastern strongholds and just being done with it (which is what we'd be inclined to do if the absurdly over-the-top accusations that we are mass-murdering war-mongers waging war against Islam and fighting a new Crusade were even half-true), the humanitarian and somewhat idealistic strategy to win the War on Terror consists of systemic restructuring and the sponsoring and support of customized constitutional governments to replace the removal of restrictive theocracies and constrictive despots (both of which, it is theorized, contribute to the social conditions that produce globally-destabilizing Jihadism).
After that Intervensionist policy was rubber-stamped "APPROVED" on the heels of 9/11, the U.S. military was post-haste sent overseas to remove the most entrenched and immediately-problematic regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq based on their pariah-status and our post-9/11 security concerns and interests .
The U.S. military is now used to aid in rebuilding the infrastructure, restructuring the government, and protecting the fledgling republics which have been seeded and are now sprouted and still growing.
Meanwhile, tightening diplomatic pressure is applied to the other states that have similar, pre-emption-inviting characteristics that Taliban Afghanistan and Baathist Iraq had but with less threatening postures (despite their posturings) and rewards have already been reaped, some incrementally, others more substantially (e.g. Egypt, Libya, Syria, etc.).
The endeavor, though difficult and complex (e.g. enemy "Jihadists" as a group are not necessarily birds of a feather, and are just as likely to kill each other if in the same room long enough over such issues as bloodlines to Muhammad), is striving to encourage, enable, and empower reasonable pro-democracy, and indigenous Islamic moderates (i.e. modern-minded Muslims) to run things in a fashion compatible--or at least not inimical-- with Western liberalism and interests.
For the more entrenched systems that haven't recklessly charged into the crosshairs with their actions or rhetoric, they are strongly recommended (in the kind of uncertain terms that keeps one guessing) that they start reforming on their own.
The Bush-hating "antiwar" movement has been vehemently against that transformational strategy from the get-go as it is traced back to the Neoconservative think tank's pre-9/11 "Project For A New American Century" (PNAC), which promotes the use of American diplomatic (i.e. financial and military) muscle to expedite needed change in the world's most turbulent and murderous hotspots (e.g. the "May-Your-Mother-Eat-Scorpions" Jihadist Middle East, which is intent on the destruction of, for starters, a key U.S. ally, engages in global pandemonium in the meantime, and just so happens to sit atop the largest known reserve of the civilized world's Number One energy resource: oil).
The post-9/11 promotion of such a strategy is railed against by the Leftist intellectuals in the "antiwar" movement as nothing but a call for Imperialism, and the Bush Era promotion of prominent minds from that think tank up to the Foreign Policy-making level within the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government (e.g. Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, to name two of the Most Wanted from there among the antiwar crowd) is Evidence A that Operation Iraqi Freedom is a fastball--if not a "curveball" (pun-intended)-- pitched for the purpose of Iraqi colonization for the sakes of American "corporatism," "militarism," and "Zionism."
That vociferous--and very annoying-- mindset is a Pandora's Box of calumnies and invectives from whence flew out such erratically flapping and now tiresome bats as "Misleader!" and "Liar-in-Chief!" and "War-Monger!" and "Blood-for-Oil!" and "Hail, Caesar!"
As that propaganda travels down the food-chain and infects the more unhinged and less sophisticated minds among the liberals at the blogging, grass-roots level of the Left, that already deranged dissent has devolved into intellectual depravities like: "Heil Hitler!" and "Crusader!" and "Christo-fascist!" and "Mass Murderer!" and "Prick!" and "Fucking asshole!" and "Anti-Arab/Brown-Skin Racist!" and so on.
Of course, as in the myth, just before Hope can fly out, the lid of Pandora's box is slammed shut (and hence the hopeless pessimism from that awful crowd).
Anyway, Republicus agrees with the administration's strategy that the best--and most humane--way to "win" the War on Terror (ultimately) is to work with and Westernize militantly Islamic cultures (to the extent possible) and have them become responsible members in good standing in the international community and honest brokers and players in the free market, and thus compelling them to marginalize--if not criminalize--the extremists who sabotage the progressive modernism and international intermingling.
Along the way, the United States will quite generously help them to adjust.
Towards that end, it is wagered that the mass of people in the Muslim world--given a real unfettered choice-- would vote for leadership that would work towards those goals (as translated down to the Arab Street as goals towards peace, civil rights, and a higher standard of living for all, as would emanate--and be enacted-- out of a reformed, constitutionally-underwritten political macrostructure driven by competitive, democratic politics).
However, given the crestfalling results of the recent democratic elections there, that could be a losing bet, and will ultimately determine the success or failure of Western intervention, and of the War on Terror itself.
Is the "Enemy" not, after all, radical extremist movements within otherwise civilized cultures, but a culturally endemic morbidity that psychologically enthralls the majorities of the civilian populations of the most troublesome nations and is extremely resistant to reformation?
If that's the case, democratization can offer no speedy remedy...
...although it does provide for more structural flexibility within an elastic Constitutional framework and a far greater opportunity for peaceful--albeit characteristically noisy-- popular change, however gradual.
Nevertheless, although it appears that there are many millions of Muslims around the world who subscribe to anything an Imam tells them, and many Imams who fervently promote Jihad, there already are plenty of other Muslim clerics and scholars who have denounced terrorism, and more seem to be stepping forward and slowly getting the coverage they deserve.
And the results of the democratic elections which had a backfiring effect were certainly not unanimous.
Thanks to the re-structuring which now prevents the underground imprisonment, torture, and execution of political opponents (though that form of politics is still evidently pursued by the Iraqi "Insurgents"), the losing parties of reform--both in the so-called Palestinian territory (come on; they're supposed to be Jordanians) and Iraq-- lived to politically fight another day and are still active in their respective nations and have indigenous bases of support to work with (as well as support from the West).
Also, there are several Muslim states that should serve as encouraging models by the virtues of their official denouncing of terrorism and demonstrable cooperation with the West in the War on Terror, their desire to live at peace with their neighbors, their cultural promotion of extra-Quranic education, and their ambition to participate in global free trade in an honorable pursuit of profit to feed their families and people and enrich--and modernize--their nation.
When the problem nations in the Middle East one day resemble such models in national character, the war is essentially won.
One such Islamic nation that has emerged into the modern world is the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
When President Bush made his "You're either with us, or you're with the terrorists" statement right after 9/11, the UAE stepped right up and said "We're with you!" and have since allowed our military ships and aircraft to be stationed there.
UAE is a committed ally in the war on terror. They are a key partner for our military in a critical region, and outside of our own country, Dubai services more of our military ships, than any country in the world.
President George W. Bush
That fact alone surely riles Jihadists mentalities--within as well as without the country-- and you can be sure that they're eager to disrupt the American-friendly government there via rabble-rousing, bombings, assassinations, and other obligatory forms of mayhem, but they haven't been able to, which says a lot for the effectiveness of the UAE's own anti-terrorist measures, the character of their culture, and their credibility as partners.
Recently, a UAE company, Dubai Ports World (DPW), had bought the rights to manage some terminal operations at six U.S. ports (after buying out the previous manager, the British Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Companyt, or P&O).
Contrary to any impression formed by the peddling of propaganda designed to tease out xenophobic, wartime paranoia (and not by the Bush Administration), DPW did not--and could not-- sinisterly "buy" its way into controlling ports of entry into the U.S. at such key locations as Philadelphia, Norfolk, Miami, New Orleans, Houston, Newark, and Baltimore.
The deal involved the management of some of the terminals in each of the ports.
Terminal operators are responsible for operating their particular terminal within the port. The terminal operator minds the area within the port that serves as a loading, unloading, or transfer point for the cargo. This includes storage and repair facilities and management offices. They can use their own cranes if they don't want to lease them from the port authority.
They're run by experienced professionals.
Well, you may be thinking, the Jihadist mind is not necessarily confined to the stereotypically-recognizable Medieaval-minded Ninja-like Jihadist, but can reside within the most aristocratic and educated professionals who know how to mingle in the commercial world and get their services hired in sensitive areas while patiently nursing a primary devotion to Jihad and ready to seize the opportunity to enable maximum carnage as their positioning allows, no?
Sure. And every once in a while ONE U.S. postal worker decides to go postal one fine day.
Or a U.S. marine decides to frag his Commander-in-Chief (i.e. Lee Harvey Oswald).
Those are anomalies.
Well, aren't many of the shadowy, Ninja-like groups financed by "petro-dollars?"
Apparently, but what does that mean? It doesn't mean that they are directly paid by educated, oil industry executives but simply refers to their financing from somewhere within a country that has the oil industry as the main source of wealth (it certainly ain't tourism).
And such webbed connections are not ubiquitous and are usually spun by hostile regimes with unaccountability (not unlike oil tycoon Saddam's financial rewarding of Palestinian terrorists and his sponsoring of in-country terrorist training camps and very much like the oil-rich Iranians funding of the uber-terrorist group Hezbollah and their supplying of both terrorist manpower and equipment to Iraqi "insurgents").
To automatically assume that the UAE is--by default-- one of "them" is the result of the peddling of propaganda designed to exploit ignorance, tease out and flare xenophobic, wartime paranoia, and precisely those very misgivings.
Again, the strategy to win the War on Terror relies on established or cultivated trust in Arab partners--like those in the UAE (as well as in Iraq).
Well, still, one can ponder, it just takes one insider to allow, say, the import of a nuclear device, piece by piece...
Well here are some facts to consider before judging on the prudence-- or lack thereof--of allowing DPW to conduct business in American ports:
The Customs Border Protection (CBP) screens 100% of all cargo before it arrives in the U.S.-- using intelligence and cutting edge technologies.
CBP inspects all high-risk cargo.
The deal would not have changed the running operations of port security-- which itself had been criticized for inadequately searching through all the cargo coming in, but that has been addressed with the March 2005 Container Security Initiative (CSI).
DPW--like P&O --was already in compliance with current security programs, regulations and partnerships, including CBP, The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, The Business Alliance on Smuggling and Counterfeiting, The Megaports Initiative with the Department of Energy, and the CSI.
All P&O security arrangements would have remained intact, including cargo security cooperation, compliance with regulations regarding port facilities/terminals, foreign terminal operations within ports, and even the faces of the dockworkers would have remained familiar (Union rules and what have you--which, incidentally, and quite ironically, have raised the spectre of American mob involvement in both port operations and the recent political activity regarding them, putting the fear of the mob in the hearts of our brave congressman who think nothing of raising the righteous ire of the UAE and their supposed terrorist potentialities).
Dubai was the first Middle Eastern business entity to join the CSI.
As a result, CBP officers are working closely with Dubai Customs to screen containers destined for the U.S.
Cooperation with Dubai officials has been outstanding and a model for other operations within CSI ports.
Also, considering the size of our trade deficit, it doesn't hurt to get a sizable influx of foreign dough (they signed on to pay $6.8 billion) once in a while (especially from the Middle East which has recieved countless billions in aid and oil purchases).
And, once again, considering the strategy of winning the War on Terror, it doesn't hurt at all to nurture relations with Arab countries that want to do honest business with us.
But "Ah," it is suspected by 70% of Americans (according to a CBS news poll), "how 'honest' are they?"
The ruling emirs recognized the Taliban government, didn't they?
They blocked former-President Clinton's cruise missile hit on Bin Laden because he was in some hunting party with UAE royalty, didn't they?
Two of the 9/11 hijackers came from there, didn't they?
And they're not a democracy, but the very sort of unpopular regimes that are blamed--like Saddam's Baathist regime was-- for exacerbating the Islamist masses beneath their sway and inspiring Jihadism, are they not?
Yes to all of the above.
But they are not on the list of Terrorist Nations. How they feel they need to behave in their own neighborhood to maintain stable relations with their Muslim brethren-- and for their own security-- is their business.
What religion they choose to follow is their Right (as far as Americans should be concerned).
We are not waging war against Islam, as President Bush has repeatedly insisted.
We are waging war on Islamic terrorism.
The Anglican English were not fighting against Irish Catholicism, but the terrorism of the IRA.
The UAE have not been implicated in the sponsoring--or sanctioning, for that matter--of terrorist activity.
Furthermore, regarding the last question, there is very little to compare between the UAE regime and Saddam's brutal Baathist one.
They do qualify as one of those Muslim states that should serve as models by the virtues of their official denouncing of terrorism and demonstrable cooperation with the West in the War on Terror, their desire to live at peace with their neighbors, their cultural promotion of extra-Quranic education, and their ambition to participate in global free trade in an honorable pursuit of profit to feed their families and people and enrich--and modernize--their nation.
We need allies like them, and the greater share of interest they have in America's own interests, the better.
But there's that matter of the 70% of Americans who had strong misgivings...