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This is a World War
By A Rational Advocate
Many pundits, politicians, members of the press, and others in our society, maintain the view that the armed conflicts existing around the globe are not necessarily connected. However, this view does not hold up when the obvious facts emerge to show that there is a common thread that exists to tie them together. This thread is terrorism.
Terrorism is defined as a system of intense fear caused by the systematic use of violent means to obtain and/or maintain power. That this does not exist in conflicts presently going on in the world is to deny the honest truth. Whether it be the terror conducted in Colombia by the FARC drug lords, in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Africa and other areas of the world, by the Islamic fundamentalists, or by Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Hezbollah in the middle east, it is undeniably a world wide condition.
Despite the fact that there are some that may differentiate the terror conducted by the drug cartels with that of the Islamic fundamentalists the connection is obvious in that terror is terror to the victim regardless of the reason for it. It should also be recognized that the much of the financing of terrorism is derived from the sale of Opium from the poppy fields in Afghanistan, as well as that, from the sale of Cocaine from the coca fields in South America. There may be a difference in the methods used to eradicate the cause creating the respective terrorists but it is clear that the victims of terror suffer their fates regardless of the cause.
Although World Wars I and II contained elements of terror, the causes for them related more to territorial conquest and quest for power and wealth. The battle over ideologies entered the arena as the important causal element in the Korean and Vietnam wars. Losing our freedoms to the infiltration of the Marxist ideology drove us to defend it on other shores. This included the cold war with Russia that fortunately did not develop into a full-fledged conflict before the internal demise of the dictatorial regime ended it. Now we find a more than a millennium old religious ideology that has blossomed into one that appears to be far more dangerous to our way of life than Marxism.
In the past wars have been against specific countries. Today our society must acknowledge that the wars we wage transcend the boundaries of countries because they involve ideals and principles our people find dear to them. There should be no doubt that these ideals and principles on which our society is based are in direct conflict to those followed by the Islamic fundamentalists. The terrorism they practice and the ideology they follow threatens our way of life. This fact must be addressed in order to find a way to win the minds and souls of people over to the benefits of democracy and the attendant freedoms it provides.
This latest war against fundamental Islamism is particularly difficult to fight because of its ideological nature. There are governments that support the ideology either outrightly or surreptitiously by allowing schools to indoctrinate its evolving population and its citizens to finance terrorist activity. This has been the case in most mid-east countries. It should be obvious that the battles of this war must be fought in a manner that fits the situation and wherever they may be required. Furthermore, that it involves forcing mid-east governments to cease the religious brain washing of their children that paints non-believers as infidels that must be converted or eliminated.
A first step has been taken in Iraq to develop a democratic form of government from which the people can derive a way of life offering life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness such as we Americans enjoy. This can provide an example to the people living in other countries in the region and would be an important element in the educational process. Since the terrorism that brought on the tragedies of September 11th, 2001 was derived from Islamic fundamentalism, its eradication depends on following the path which the Bush Administration has wisely undertaken starting with Iraq. It will be a long arduous task but well worth while for the generations that follow us in the future.
The eradication of the terrorism created by the drug lords also involves winning over the minds of people but in a different way. It is possibly more complex because people use legally approved prescribed mind-altering drugs every day to alleviate health-impairing conditions. In fact, some of these are improperly used by those seeking illicit pleasures, over and above those that could be derived legally from alcoholic beverages. It is difficult for many to rationally differentiate between legal and illegal drugs when the end result may be the same. Although it may be necessary to pursue the destruction of the drug cartels, sooner or later, the question of overall drug use, legal and illegal, must be addressed. It must be recognized that a reduction in the demand for illegal drugs must occur to minimize the profit incentive driving the market for them.
This involves the acknowledgement by those forming public policy, both in and out of government, which politically inspired government programs frequently fail. Better to provide the private sector the opportunity to address the internal factors that contribute to the continuing abusive use of drugs by the public. Perhaps a program to legalize and control the distribution of these presently illicit drugs might be in order. Nobel laureate Milton Friedman and noted columnist William F. Buckley have advocated something of this nature in the past. In any event it seems obvious that it will take more than attempting to eliminate the drug cartels.
If we are in fact in a World War against foes that transcends boundaries then it must be recognized for what it is. The armed conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq in which our troop are actively involved, and those in other parts of the world such as in Colombia and the Philippines in which our military act as advisors, are just military battles in such a war.