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Nation Topics - War on Terrorism

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Nation Topics - War on Terrorism

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This article is an expanded version of Stephen F. Cohen's commentary in the May 5 issue.

In the name of fighting terrorism, the Army has established a domestic command.

The Bush Administration and its cheerleaders in the media are claiming
that the "remarkable success" of the US war in Iraq proves its opponents
were "spectacularly wrong"--even, some charge, unpatriotic. Intimidated
by these allegations and the demonstration of overwhelming American
military power, many critics of the war are falling silent. Indeed, the
chairman of the Democratic National Committee, no doubt speaking for
several of the party's presidential candidates, has rushed to urge that
"the war...not be on the ballot in 2004."

But critics of the war have no reason to regret their views. No sensible
opponent doubted that the world's most powerful military could easily
crush such a lesser foe. The real issue was and remains very different:
Will the Iraq war increase America's national security, as the Bush
Administration has always promised and now insists is already the case,
or will it undermine and diminish our national security, as thoughtful
critics believed?

In the weeks, months and years ahead, we will learn the answer to that
fateful question by judging developments by seven essential criteria:

(1) Will the war discourage or encourage other regional "preemptive"
military strikes, particularly by nuclear-armed states such as, but not
only, Pakistan and India?

(2) Indeed, will the Iraq war stop the proliferation of states that
possess nuclear weapons or instead incite more governments to acquire
them as a deterrent against another US "regime change"?

(3) Will the war, and the long US occupation that seems likely to ensue,
reduce the recruitment of young Arabs by terrorist movements or will it
inspire many new recruits?

(4) With or without more recruits, will the war decrease or increase the
number of terrorist plots against the United States, whether at home or
abroad?

(5) Will the war help safeguard the vast quantities of nuclear and other
materials of mass destruction that exist in the world today, and the
expertise needed to operationalize them, or make them more accessible to
"evil-doers"?

(6) In that connection, will Russia--which has more ill-secured devices
of mass destruction than any other country and which strongly opposed
and still resents the US war--now be more, or less, inclined to
collaborate with Washington in safeguarding and reducing those weapons
and materials?

(7) Finally, considering the rampant anti-Americanism it has provoked,
will the war result in more or fewer governments willing to cooperate
with--individually or in multinational organizations like the United
Nations--George W. Bush's stated top priority, the war against global
terrorism?

It is by these crucial (and measurable) criteria that the American
people, and any politician who wants to lead them, must judge the
Administration's war in Iraq and President Bush's own leadership. Those
of us who were against the war and continue to oppose the assumptions on
which it was based fear that future events will answer these questions
to the grave detriment of American and international security. As
patriots, we can only hope we are wrong.

Consider this hypothetical situation.

Little "nation-building" is under way, and the country is on the edge of
civil war.

On October 4, 2001--less than a month after that horrific day--George W.
Bush and the members of his National Security Council were nailing down
the details of the coming war in Afghanistan.

The whole sad, messy world was on Code Orange alert on the day I left
for England.

A deeply disturbing development that has been buried under the debris of
war talk is the fact that since 1998, in a major historical reversal,
most of the deaths and injuries from terrorism hav

In the new film version of The Quiet American, a photographer
races into a plaza in downtown Saigon, rather puzzling jaded British
reporter Thomas Fowler (Michael Caine).

Blogs

Those who claim that this destructive cult’s ideology reflects some essential aspect of Islam are obscuring its origins—in George W. Bush’s illegal war that destroyed Iraq and fomented sectarian extremism.

February 24, 2015

How else can news professionals like him maintain the trust of their audiences?

February 17, 2015

A long-term alternative to war can only be built by popular movements in Iraq and Syria. These movements deserve our solidarity—not our bombs.

February 10, 2015

When the left abdicated its outreach to marginalized communities, the Islamists moved in.

February 6, 2015

There's no purely military solution to the insurgency raging across northeastern Nigeria.

February 3, 2015

The region’s transition out of dictatorship hinged on two words the United States would be wise to heed: “Never again.”

December 12, 2014

Virtually every Bush-era claim about torture doesn’t withstand scrutiny after the investigation.

December 9, 2014

More than two-dozen groups are calling on lawmakers to address serious gaps and inconsistencies in the president’s strategy.

September 16, 2014

The orthodox American policy is that if challenged, the US must go to war to prove itself, to show the world it is still Superman and willing to shed blood and treasure to defend that franchise.

September 4, 2014

And the only government official who went to jail for it was the whistleblower who exposed it.

August 12, 2014