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Nation Topics - War on Terrorism | The Nation

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Nation Topics - War on Terrorism

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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.

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).

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

They say history repeats itself. But usually not quite so quickly.

The same week that New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg announced his
plans to close eight city firehouses, Mike Wallace, John Jay College
professor and bard of New York, held a conference on "Ne

Blogs

Liveblogging the House's day of votes on bipartisan measures that could stop or slow US military involvement in Afghanistan.

May 26, 2011

On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters that the Obama administration has no evidence that the Pakistani government knew Osama bin Laden was living within its borders.

May 19, 2011

National Security Adviser Tom Donilon cracks a joke at Obama’s Middle East adviser on the staff of the National Security Council, relatively hawkish, pro-Israel Dennis Ross.

May 13, 2011

If select politicians are going to see the bin Laden death photos, shouldn't others be able to see them too?

May 11, 2011

Arab youth activists respond to the death of Osama bin Laden, addressing how he impacted their lives over the years and what sort of questions his death raises for the region.

May 11, 2011

Because we have not held Dick Cheney and the other war criminals accountable for their crude distortion of international law, torture continues to sneak into our national diaogue as a viable option for intelligence gathering.

May 10, 2011

With Osama gone, chairs Congressional Progressive Caucus join chairs emeritus of the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus say bring the troops and the tax dollars home.

May 5, 2011

Our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have not helped our national security, Jeremy Scahill says, and the US is actually giving people in Afghanistan a reason to want to fight America.

May 4, 2011

Pakistan's lobbyists in Washington will have a tough time answering questions about the country's possible role in sheltering Osama bin Laden.

May 4, 2011

For Jeremy Scahill, the killing of Osama bin Laden is an occasion not for celebration but rather for reflection on the hundreds of thousands of people who have died in the past ten years.

May 4, 2011