Terrorism and the Struggle for Democracy

Killing Osama bin Laden was the right thing to do. He was the self declared enemy of the United States and the leader of the organization that attacked us on September 11, 2001. It should have been the main mission all along, coupled perhaps with increased border protection, complete US control and management of port operations and increased funding for counterterrorism staffing and technology.

I have been an outspoken critic and opponent of the war in Iraq from the very beginning. While I originally supported the Afghanistan invasion as it was presumed Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda were there, once it became clear that our mission there was a long-term occupation and nation building effort, my support ended.

Osama bin Laden once stated his goal was to bleed America into bankruptcy. He’d send two men to far away lands to wave a white cloth with Al-Qaeda printed on it and watch us chase them with our armies. Had we remained focused from the beginning on intelligence gathering and actually removing him from power, as we were finally able to do, he would not have gone to his final rest with the satisfaction of knowing he was succeeding in his goal. Killing Osama bin Laden was the right thing to do. Talking it about it in the context of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is misguided. The wars were our choice. Neither nation had attacked us. We didn’t have to lose thousands of American soldiers, cripple tens of thousands more, and spend a ridiculous fortune to get bin Laden.

It’s time to bring these wars to a close and recommit to terrorism prevention. President Obama has shown us that he understood the primary objective of the CIA needed to be Osama bin Laden’s assassination. He now needs to show us that he does not believe in the foolish concept of spreading democracy by force. The world is witnessing first hand that people will only take oppression for so long. The uprising of citizenry from around the Middle East against tyrannical governments demonstrates that the real seeds of democracy are innate in human beings, not forced upon them by an overpowering invader. One needs look no further than our own shores and the brave men and women who fled tyranny and oppression to start a new country; one that would be for the people, of the people and by the people. No invading force brought democracy to the United States.

We must leave Iraq and allow them to support their fledging democracy themselves. We can trade with them, have diplomatic relationships with them and assist them where we can in sustaining that democracy, but a military presence there is unwanted and unwarranted. We may never achieve our true goals in Afghanistan, but we’ve set them on a path to elected representation and have trained their military and built an infrastructure that never existed there. It’s time to leave and let the Afghanis govern themselves. Might terror cells spring up there again? Certainly, as they may in any number of places around the planet we all share. If we maintain our focus as I’ve outlined, on intelligence, technology, border and port security, and ending our reign as occupiers, we can get on to the business of tending to our own democracy.

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