Taking the fight to the terrorists

Letter to the editor

Posted: Wednesday, March 02, 2005

When Sen. Ted Stevens addressed the Alaska Legislature last Thursday, he stated the party line on Iraq: It is better to fight the terrorists where they are than to have to fight them here at home.

This artfully crafted statement compresses a number of questionable assumptions into a simple sentence. It assumes the people we are fighting in Iraq are "the terrorists." Unfortunately, a terrorist is anyone the United States labels a terrorist. By definition, anyone in Iraq who uses violence to get us to leave their country is a terrorist.

The party line assumes that if we pulled our troops out, these "terrorists" would follow us home and attack us here. It suggests that the reason we have not had another 9/11-type disaster in the U.S. is because we have the terrorists pinned down in Iraq (and elsewhere). It assumes that the "terrorists" are not already in the United States. It assumes that the next attack by terrorists in the U.S. will involve physical destruction and loss of lives, like 9/11 did, rather than an attack on our economy through, say, our computer networks.

The idea of taking the fight to the terrorists wherever they are is meaningless if we create new terrorists wherever we go. The idea that it is better to kill Iraqi women and children than to risk harming our own by fighting terrorists here is a morally bankrupt idea. The idea that if we were not in Iraq killing "terrorists" they would be attacking us at home is absurd. If terrorists are planning to invade the United States, one would think they would do it while half our troops are out of the country.

I don't see how having our military in Iraq is protecting our ports, airliners, ships, trains, electrical grids, pipelines, chemical and nuclear plants, water systems, food distribution system, banking system, computer networks, and myriad other parts of our infrastructure that are vital to keeping our society functioning. Unless our soldiers are in Iraq to keep the oil supplies secure. Now there's an idea that at least is rational. Let's have a public debate about that. Let's see if the public is really and willing to take over Iraq and other countries to secure our access to oil. Let's find out what our traditional American values really are.

Ed Hein

Juneau Chapter No. 100,

Veterans For Peace

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