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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

Let's keep Washington Bullets in mind thinking about Egypt.

February 12, 2011

The War in Afghanistan is the longest in US history and the most expensive. What are we doing there?

February 9, 2011

General Petraeus speaks on sinking his teeth into Afghanistan.

January 26, 2011

The former British Prime Minister appeared again before the Chilcot Inquiry; this time, he seemed determined to make amends.

January 21, 2011

There may yet be justice for the victims of the post-9/11 United States torture program. Just not in the US.

January 12, 2011

What we see when we see the photos of the first twenty detainees the Bush administration transferred to Camp X-Ray.

January 11, 2011

The military has floated plans to send Special Forces across the Afghan border into Pakistan's tribal areas. Not gonna happen.

January 8, 2011

Jeremy Scahill on The Rachel Maddow Show following peace talk fraud revelation: "If they can't even figure out who is a real Taliban leader to meet with, what does that say about the people who are being killed on a regular basis by special operation forces?"

November 24, 2010

A Congressional proposal to establish a Veterans Trust Fund is driving home the message that the war in Afghanistan is not worth the havoc it has wreaked on thousands of troops.

November 22, 2010

Another four years of war in Afghanistan is far too long, but at least the administration is talking about an end point.

November 15, 2010