Sunday, May 25, 2003

We are winning the war on terror just like we are winning the war on drugs. Ted Rall weighs in:

We've killed thousands of Muslims and taken over two of their countries. We're spending billions of dollars to make it easier for our government to spy on us. But we haven't caught Osama, Al Qaeda is doing better than ever and airport security is still a sick joke. So when are Americans going to demand a real war on terrorism?

Recent suicide bombings in Riyadh and Casablanca proved with bloody eloquence that Al Qaeda and similar extremist groups are anything but "on the run," as George W. Bush puts it. Bush's tactics are a 100 percent failure, yet his band of clueless Christian soldiers continues to go after mosquitoes with shotguns. "So far," Bush furiously spun after the latest round of attacks, "nearly one-half of Al Qaeda's senior operatives have been captured or killed," promising to "remain on the hunt until they are all brought to justice."


Rarely have incompetence and cheapness been wed with such impressively disastrous results. In Afghanistan, we paid off warlords whom we should have dropped bombs upon. Puppet president Hamid Karzai is threatening to abdicate his Kabul city-state because "there is no money in the government treasury." One of Karzai's ministers warns The New York Times: "Very soon we will see armed conflict."

"Governance is a long-term process," says Bush Administration reconstruction official Chris Milligan, but that's just another lame excuse. The truth is that we haven't even tried to restore law and order, much less govern. The Pentagon (news - web sites) plans to leave just two divisions--30,000 men--to patrol Iraq. That's significantly fewer than the 50,000 peacekeeping troops NATO (news - web sites) stationed in Kosovo--a nation less than one-fifth the size of Iraq. 95 percent of Afghanistan has no peacekeepers whatsoever, with fewer than 8,000 in Kabul.


It's still early in this game. Shut down the bloated and pointless Homeland Security bureaucracy--since it doesn't include the CIA and FBI, it didn't stop interagency squabbling--and apply the money we'll save into a fully-funded rebuilding of Iraq and Afghanistan. Stop squandering money and our civil rights on boneheaded data-mining schemes like Total Information Awareness (now renamed Terrorism Information Awareness), and recruit some old-fashioned spies to infiltrate extremist groups. Charge the Guantánamo detainees with a crime or send them home; their legal limbo is an international embarrassment. Stop fingerprinting Muslim tourists--it's insulting and does nothing to prevent terrorists from entering the country. Quit supporting brutal anti-American military dictators like Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf, whose oppressed subjects rightly blame us for their misery.