Friday, October 3, 2014

Ron Paul’s Anti-Terror Strategy vs. Dick Cheney’s

By Michael S. Rozeff

Dick Cheney’s anti-terrorism strategy is very important to understand because that’s the strategy adopted by both the Bush and Obama administrations and being pursued to this day. It’s a strategy of
attacking terrorists in foreign countries, with or without the cooperation of the governments of those countries. In the cases of Iraq and Afghanistan, it meant attacking the entire country, outright aggression.
Cheney’s response to terrorism is simple and simple-minded: WAR. Although it seems very logical and natural to wipe out terrorists and to wipe them out where they live, we know that this warring strategy has completely failed. The existence of the Islamic State forces and the ability of ISIS or ISIL to recruit more and more adherents from across the world, including inside western countries, is but one piece of evidence that the Cheney strategy has failed.
And where do terrorists live? In one city like Berlin or Tokyo? No, they live almost anywhere and so do potential recruits. They live in an idea, a motive, not collected in a place where they can be easily destroyed and then not without killing many civilians and providing new terrorist recruiting posters.
Cheney’s strategy failed and is still failing because it doesn’t account for the motives of terrorists. Cheney and Obama see the violence of terrorists but ignore why they act violently. They see them as initiating violence for no good reason (such as hatred of us and our freedoms). They do not see that they have bones to pick with us and other western nations. The terrorists have reasons for what they do. Right or wrong reasons, but they have reasons. The violent interventions of the U.S. prior to 2001 in the politics of Islamic nations, reaching back for decades, are seedbeds for violent responses of Islamic terrorists today. Further violent interventions of the U.S. do not address these divisive political issues and the blowback they cause. They only cause more blowback. They only cause more recruits to organizations like the Islamic State.
Cheney-esque wars that attempt to wipe out terrorists in foreign lands not only fail to address the reasons for the terrorists, but they do not succeed in eliminating them. These two failures are related. It’s because the killing of people doesn’t deal with the basic issues and itself becomes a further bone of contention and symbol of injustice perpetrated by Americans that more recruits to the ranks of terrorism are generated.
What kind of issues am I talking about? Israel is a very important bone of contention. The U.S. support of Israel motivated Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who financed the first Trade Towers bombing in 1993. Ramzi Yousef, who participated in that bombing, later said ” “Yes, I am a terrorist, and proud of it as long as it is against the U.S. government and against Israel, because you are more than terrorists; you are the one who invented terrorism and using it every day. You are butchers, liars and hypocrites.”
Osama bin Laden expressed himself as follows concerning America’s intervention in Lebanon and its ties with Israel:
“God knows it did not cross our minds to attack the towers. But after the situation became unbearable and we witnessed the injustice and tyranny of the American-Israeli alliance against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, I thought about it. And the events that affected me directly were that of 1982 and the events that followed — when America allowed the Israelis to invade Lebanon, helped by the U.S. 6th Fleet.
“In those difficult moments, many emotions came over me that are hard to describe, but that produced an overwhelming feeling to reject injustice and a strong determination to punish the unjust.
“As I watched the destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me to punish the unjust the same way [and] to destroy towers in America so it could taste some of what we are tasting and stop killing our children and women.”
The American people dutifully follow their leaders. They’ve followed them into Cheney’s war against terror, still being executed and expanded by Obama. He has dropped the name “war on terror” and adopted all manner of other lawyerly euphemisms, but he’s still using the same so-called “forward” or offensive strategy: wipe out the terrorists in foreign lands. Ron Paul offered an alternative to Cheney’s strategy, but it’s been a tough sell. The warmongers dominate the mainstream media and the government. They continually issue calls to arms. They continually appeal to strength and invoke irrelevant historical episodes or make charges of appeasement.
Ron Paul’s anti-terror strategy may be found in many of his speeches. In 2007, this interchange occurred:
“Q: What’s your strategy to protect our American way of life from the designs of radical Islam?
A: We indeed do have a problem, but if we go at this incorrectly, we are going to do more damage to ourselves than we are to our enemies. We have to understand the motives of those who come here & kill us. If we don’t understand that, we are not going to win this fight. They come here & kill us because we occupy their lands, and they rationally reason [that] we have to do something about it.”
“We believe bin Laden when he takes credit for an attack on the West, & we believe him when he warns us of an impending attack. But we refuse to listen to his explanations of why he & his allies are at war with us.
“Bin Laden’s claims are straightforward The US defiles Islam with military bases on holy land in Saudi Arabia, its initiation of war against Iraq, and its dollars and weapons being used against the Palestinians as the Palestinian territory shrinks and Israel’s occupation expands. There will be no peace for the next 50 years or longer if we refuse to believe why those who are attacking are doing it.
“To dismiss terrorism as the result of Muslims hating us because we’re free is one of the greatest foreign-policy frauds ever perpetuated. Because the media and government have restated it so many times, the majority now accept it at face value. And the administration gets the political cover it needs to pursue a holy war for democracy against the infidels who hate us for our goodness.”
“We should be friends with Israel, and I don’t think we do a very good job at it. But I don’t think giving money to our friends is the right thing to do. I’m against all foreign aid, and if we cut out all the foreign aid today we would cut out 7 times more foreign aid from the enemies of Israel. But I wouldn’t give foreign aid to Israel. I want Israel to have their own national sovereignty. I don’t want them to depend on us either for the money which socializes their economy and they’re in financial trouble as well, and I don’t want them to depend on us to tell them how to draw up their peace treaties or what to do with their borders. So yes, we should have friendship with them, we should trade with them,…”
The Ron Paul strategy is a no-war strategy. It is a non-intervention strategy, the goal being to defuse the political and injustice reasons for people to take up arms in violent groups:
“I believe in a non-interventionist foreign policy. I don’t think we should get in the middle of these squabbles. Technically and historically, yes, under the Ottoman Empire, the Palestinians didn’t have a state, but neither did Israel have a state then too. But the people in those regions should be dealing with these problems; we shouldn’t be dealing with these things. This idea that we can be the policemen of the world and settle all these disputes, I mean, soon we’ll have to quit because we’re flat out broke. We cannot continue to get into these issues like this and get ourselves into more trouble.”
Cheney’s strategy is violence, further violence and yet more violence. He believes that this sends “messages” to the would-be violent men and women that discourages them. Actually, it encourages them. Ron Paul’s strategy is to reduce the violence and defuse its motivations.
The key to the gulf separating these two strategies goes back to Murray Rothbard’s distinction between violent aggressive interventions (or actions) and non-violent actions. The former invades rights and creates injustices, the latter respects rights and friendly interactions. Peaceful or voluntary trade is friendly by definition. U.S. government interventions into the politics and governments of other nations are violent. The U.S. cannot aid Israel without becoming responsible and blamed for Israel’s injustices. The U.S. cannot aid the Arab governments that it does without becoming associated with the policies of the ruling governments.
Understanding the motives of terrorists is not to excuse them, as Ron Paul has said. Adjusting American policies to reduce injustices also is not to excuse the injustices inflicted by terrorists. But such changes and reductions are still the right thing to do and a better strategy than the failed Cheney-Obama strategy.
The above originally appeared at

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