Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Words of Power #23: A Reality Check, What A Real World War on Terrorism Would Look Like, and a US Mid-Term Election Strategy

NOTE: Words of Power alternates with the GS(3) Intelligence Briefing. Both are posted on an alernating and, at a minimum, bi-weekly basis. "Words of Power" commentary explore a range of issues in the interdependent realms of security, sustainability and spirit. The GS(3) Intel Briefing is organized into five sections: Europe, Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific, Americas, Global and Cyberspace. Each issue will provide insight on terrorism, cyber crime, climate change, health emergencies, natural disasters, and other threats, as well as recommendations on what actions your organizations should take to mitigate risks. For more information, go to

I'm LIVING WITH WAR everyday
I'm LIVING WITH WAR in my heart everyday
I'm LIVING WITH WAR right now.....
And when the dawn breaks I see my fellow man ...
And on the flat-screen we kill and we're killed again...
and when the night falls, I pray for PEACE...
Try to remember PEACE (visualize)...
I join the multitudes...
I raise my hand in PEACE
I never bow to the laws of the thought police
I take a holy vow...
To never to kill again..
To never kill again...
I'm LIVING WITH WAR in my hear
I'm LIVING WITH WAR in my heart and my mind...
I'm LIVING WITH WAR right now...
Don't take no tidal wave...
Dont take no mass grave...
Don't take no smokin' gun....
To show how the west was won....
But when the curtain falls,
I pray for PEACE....
Try to remember PEACE (visualize)....

Neil Young, Living with War

Words of Power #23: A Reality Check, What A Real World War on Terrorism Would Look Like, and a US Mid-Term Election Strategy
By Richard Power


Agence France Press (AFP) reports that conditions in southern Afghanistan have deteriorated from “random insurgency” to a “state of war,” which threatens to engulf the whole country. In a new report, the Senlis Council cited poverty, which has actually deepened over the last four years, along with the harsh tactics of the US military, and bomb-making skills learned from the insurgency in Iraq, as contributing factors. AFP quotes Emmanuel Reinert , the security think-tank’s executive director of the Senlis Council as saying, “The Taliban -- seen as oppressors four years ago -- are now seen as protectors and sometimes freedom fighters, while the foreign troops, which were seen as liberators from those very oppressors four years ago, are more and more seen as invaders if not crusaders….Helmand is an early warning of what the whole of Afghanistan could become if a different approach is not taken in the next months." (AFP, 6-6-06)

Meanwhile, according to the BBC, “an Islamist militia says it has seized Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, after weeks of fighting against an alliance of warlords allegedly backed by the US.” (BBC, 6-5-06)

And, in Iraq, the slaughter is escalating: “Baghdad's mortuary received 6,000 bodies, mostly of people who died in violent circumstances, this year, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported late yesterday, citing the Iraqi Health Ministry. The number rose every month to 1,400 in May, the report said. The majority of killings were the result of sectarian violence between majority Shiites and minority Sunnis, the BBC report said. As many as 42,646 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the U.S. invasion in March 2003,, a research group based in the U.K., said on its Web site….U.S. military deaths, including Department of Defense civilian contractors, since the invasion in March 2003, amounted to 2,478 as of June 5, a Department of Defense tally shows. Of those, 1,956 were killed in action and the rest died in accidents or from medical reasons not related to fighting.” (Bloomberg, 6-7-06)

What Would a Real War on Global Terrorism Look Like?

A real "War on Global Terrorism" would be predicated on fierce historical honesty, including an unflinching look in the mirror. A real "War on Global Terrorism" would flow from an uncompromising analysis of contributing factors.

Leaders who sincerely wanted to wage a successful “War on Global Terrorism” would not hesitate to ask what role the struggle for energy security and geopolitical hegemony plays in the founding, financing, harboring, and tasking of terrorist organizations. They would not hesitate to inquire into the relationship between religious extremism and terrorism in the context of Middle East. They would not shrink away from asking what role the struggle for energy security and geopolitical hegemony plays in the founding, financing, and support of "Mardras" school systems that propagate hate.

The planners of a real "War on Global Terror” would identify economic opportunities as the number one priority, utilizing the Millennium Goals as an organizing principle. Their plan would be rooted in an uncompromising stand on Human Rights, e.g., the use of torture would be unthinkable, and the emancipation of women non-negotiable, in areas under our military occupation.

Leaders who had adopted a comprehensive and intellectually honest plan for winning a "War on Global Terror" would have turned achieving energy independence through reliance on renweable resources into a national security priority, one just as vital as maintaining the power to exercise military force in the Persion Gulf. In the aftermath of 9/11, they would have remained focused on Afghanistan and not have detoured into the folly of Iraq. In the aftermath of 9/11, they would have strengthened the US position as a fair broker in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and not have abandoned Arafat and the PLO. In the aftermath of 9/11, they would have reached out to Iran and engaged in active diplomacy with the Khatami regime, instead of thirsting to bomb his successors.

But it is clear now, certainly to most people, as it was to many of us before and immediately after 9/11, that this is not a "Global War on Terrorism," but, in a real way, a "Global War *of* Terrorism."

In Vanity Fair, Craig Unger, author of House of Bush/House of Saud, with the insights of patriots like US Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, US Air Force Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski, CIA veterans Ray McGovern and Larry Johnson, US Ambassador Joe Wilson and others, tells how they sold it to you in They War They Wanted, The Lies They Needed:

“The Bush administration invaded Iraq claiming Saddam Hussein had tried to buy yellowcake uranium in Niger. As much of Washington knew, and the world soon learned, the charge was false. Worse, it appears to have been the cornerstone of a highly successful ‘black propaganda’ campaign with links to the White House.”

They proved very efficient at carrying off that part, i.e. the “black propaganda” campaign aimed at the US electorate, with a lot of help from the complicity of the US mainstream news media, and the political cowardice of many in the US Senate.

A Mid-Term Election Strategy, Three Daming Facts, and a Plan

As the US hurtles toward the 2006 mid-term election (if there is one), the political strategy must be to turn the State of Emergency around on those that nurtured it.

There are three damning facts that need to be hammered at over and over again, simply, and consistently:

1. The US government (that's your government, if you're a US citizen) refuses to allow the International Red Cross to gain access to certain prisoners in its custody. (Torture is not only morally repugnant; it is stupid.)

2. The US government (the House and Senate are particularly at fault on this point) refuses to fully fund and implement the 9/11 Commission recommendations.

3. Bin Laden, Zawahiri, and Mullah Omar are still alive, free and engaged in armed struggle, and influence warfare against the Western powers and their allies.

These three damning facts are unacceptable to an overwhelming majority of US citizens, both in terms of conscience and common sense. They must be emphasized over and over again.

And what should be done? To start, the US must adopt the Murtha plan (or its equivalent) and re-deploy. (The Democratic Party's congressional leadership should have embraced Jack Murtha's plan months ago.)

And as it does so, the US should be making it clear that it is not the its military that has failed, but the civilian leadership that committed it to a war it should not have initiated, while ignoring another one it should not have turned its back on.

Will this happen? Not unless there is at least a change of power in both the House and Senate (if that is allowed, under the present circumstances). If power changes hands, serious investigations and public hearings can be undertaken (although Bush-Cheney will refuse to comply and we will be plunged into a constitutional crisis).

Nevertheless, this is the plan, and the rationale, that should be offered to the US electorate, and to the world. Both conscience and common sense demand it.

Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: For more information, go to

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