Now we have yet another potential reason to oppose the Libya war. According to West African governments, Obama’s war is actually empowering al-Qaeda, as the terrorist group is reportedly looting weaponry from Libyan rebels. This is in addition to the fact that U.S.-supported rebels themsleves have admitted to having ties to al-Qaeda.
This would make the undeclared war in Libya only the latest to benefit America’s no. 1 terrorist enemy. The Iraq war, according to many experts, was a great boon for al-Qaeda, which used the massive U.S. military presence as a recruiting tool. There were practically none of these people in Iraq until after the U.S. invaded.
And although the Afghanistan war is widely seen as an anti-al-Qaeda war (it continues on with the rationale that the 100 or so members of the terror group who still reside in that country need to be wiped out, at a cost of about 1,000 U.S. troops and $300 million annually per al-Qaeda fighter) even in Afghanistan, the U.S. response to 9/11 has probably been in al-Qaeda’s interests. As Michael Scheuer, the former head of the CIA bin Laden Unit argues in his book Imperial Hubris, the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan was always a completely counterproductive strategy in stopping terrorism, since the major way bin Laden rallied material support and manpower for his crusade against America was by pointing out the U.S. occupations of Muslim countries, these occupations being the main impetus behind the terrorism in the first place.
So we see that the major foreign policy initiatives of the United States in the last decade have likely had at least some role in bolstering al-Qaeda’s cause. This puts aside the less widely confirmed, but still quite plausible, examples of U.S. pro-terrorist diplomacy, such as the reported U.S. support for Iranian terrorist group Jundallah, which also has reported ties to al-Qaeda. When a much, much more tenuous connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda was alleged by the Bush administration – based largely on faulty confessions tortured out of Ibn Shaikh al-Libi – it was used as a major pretext for the U.S. to launch a major war of aggression, its biggest military operation since Vietnam. Yet it seems Washington, DC, has more connections and shared interests with al-Qaeda than Saddam ever did.
Osama bin Laden is dead, but he is still winning his war. This was all part of his plan, after all. He wanted the U.S. out of the Muslim lands in the very long run. But to achieve this, he knew America would have to bleed itself dry, and that this could never happen at the hands of Muslim suicide killers alone. Instead, the U.S. would have to overstretch its military forces and pour trillions of dollars of resources into a completely futile attempt to “democratize” the Middle East and stamp out terrorists in the most ineffective and profligate manner imaginable. Getting the imperial forces bogged down in a sand trap in Afghanistan worked in defeating the Soviets. Maybe it could work against the Americans. This was the whole idea.
Either U.S. leaders are blind to the pro-terrorist effects of their foreign policy or they do know but don’t care to change their ways. Both possibilities are too uncomfortable for most Americans to contemplate for more than a few minutes, and so they don’t. What is clear, however, is that U.S. war policy has no positive relationship with protecting Americans from the supposed greatest foreign threat we face. Once this is admitted, everything else becomes logical: Why innocent people have been detained at Guantánamo, long after authorities knew they had posed to risk; why we are treated like criminals in the airports with so many obvious examples of outrages that have no connection at all to protecting passengers; why the Pentagon spends hundreds of billions on expenditures that anyone can tell you are useless in battling such a diffuse threat like terrorism; why the death of Osama bin Laden hasn’t changed a darn thing, except for a slight shift in the schedule to bring home enough troops from Afghanistan such that the presence there will only be twice what it was when Obama took office.
The illusion that government protects us, that it is designed and structured in a way to do so, is everywhere. Liberals believe that it shields us from economic inequality and dangerous consumer products, despite all evidence to the contrary. Conservatives believe it upholds moral virtue, the absurdity of politicians being moral role models notwithstanding. Everyone believes it protects us from violent crime, regardless of its horrific record in doing so, and the greats costs to our liberties inflicted by the criminal justice system. But probably no myth is more pervasive than the myth that U.S. national security policy keeps us safer than we otherwise would be, that even when it fails in particulars, its general composition is aimed toward achieving this goal effectively. It is a bunch of hogwash. The wars and homeland security state do nothing to diminish the terrorist threat and indeed in many ways enhance it, and the politicians in both parties are either to dense to notice or they do notice but are too wicked to change approaches.
About the author: Anthony Gregory
Anthony Gregory is a Research Editor at The Independent Institute. His articles have appeared in the San Diego Union-Tribune, East Valley Tribune (AZ), Contra Costa Times, The Star (Chicago, IL), Washington Times, Vacaville Reporter, Palo Verde Times, and other newspapers.