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Journal of America Team:

 Editor in chief: 
Abdus Sattar Ghazali

 Managing Editor:
Mertze Dahlin   

Senior Editor:
Arthur Scott

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War is easy to start

We thought the achievement of war was good for the economy,
we didn’t realize how good it was for population control

by Mertze Dahlin

A successful President is a War-Time President. A recent self-proclamation

President Bush took great pride in being a “War-Time” President. In case people didn’t realize it, he reminded us from time-to-time that he indeed was. He knew that war stimulates the economy as well as providing a nice nest-egg for his family and close friends in the war material manufacturing business. He thought that the key ingredient to becoming a President up to this time was to have some military experience in your background. Perhaps this lent credence to his war-making decisions.  Bush surmised that the short while of sporadic attendance in an Air Force Reserve unit a few years back was good enough for him. War was part of our livelihood and we took it for granted that that was the way life goes on. It was almost unpatriotic to talk about making peace during the war, or to say that war is bad. On the other side of the coin, we faced the loss of our soldiers and sailors lives while serving in the military. The surviving family members especially felt this loss. Those who did not lose a family member were only happy that they had a good job. They didn’t think that having this job was due to promoting the war effort.

We gained respect and influenced the World with our Power

We took great comfort in knowing that no country can defeat us. Some countries respected our wishes and strongly influenced our parliament members. We only needed to give these countries regular financial aid and cause them to be in political agreement with us. Just sitting in our comfortable chair at home while daydreaming about how we want the world to respond to our wishes only works if the world does indeed want to do what we wish. By our existing Foreign Policy, we always felt secure in our dominance of the world as being the number one superpower. This gave us a very healthy economy because all of our factories were producing everything required for maintaining our self-defense. However, usually we produced weapons of aggression. Since after Pearl Harbor, we never again allowed ourselves to wait until we thought we were being attacked.

Making War material is profitable

 We retained this dominance by being always fearful of attack by some foreign power. This necessitated our remaining on the “cutting edge” of the latest technology of the warfare business. Whatever could be developed, we developed it and added it to our weapons arsenal. Of course a stockpile of weapons can grow too huge unless it becomes sold, or “used up”, and therefore needs to be replaced. We preferred for ourselves to be the ones to use it up. It didn’t make sense to provide another country with our weapons because of the possible chance it could be used differently than we wish. If we used it, it also ensured that we could continue to profitably produce more war materials. On the other hand, some new weapons and war techniques needed to be tested and since we do have control of the state of Israel, apparently we have decided that they are quite capable of putting our weapons to the test, which was recently accomplished.

War promotes a healthy economy, but only for us

History tells us that we did indeed provide and use that stockpile and found it to be the key to our stable economy. Being the superpower that we were, we had no qualms about facing any potential enemy. We could fight any “just” war to protect our sovereignty or the threat of such an act in other parts of the world.

WW II solved the Depression Problem. Defense Jobs became available

The reflection of World War II, although we lost somebody from nearly every family in America as a casualty (our casualties were over four hundred and eighteen thousand while the world lost over seventy two million in this war), was what finally completed the job of getting us out of the Depression that began in 1929 and continued while we struggled with it throughout the 1930s. We were able to survive due to our government’s help using the New Deal in the form of “Works Progress Administration” (WPA) in 1935. This gave some form of employment to most workers in America until after the Second World War was underway in 1943. This was our economic boon, which has continued to these days by our exploiting the benefits and threats of war until lately when we overstepped the benefits and borrowed ourselves nearly into poverty and we are looking into the face of another Depression.

The Korean War kept us employed at more “Defense” jobs

Almost a continuation of WWII was the war in Korea. North Korea had been taken over by communism and the takeover was spreading below the thirty- eighth parallel into South Korea. We decided to prevent that spread. It was at first considered to be a patriotic war since the threat of communism was reaching everywhere.  We foolishly thought that we were concerned only with defeating North Korea. China added their troops from the North. As the endless waves of Chinese soldiers kept coming into North Korea and surging over the hillsides they were faced with sure death by our machine gun fire, our guns became too hot to fire any more bullets, we had to retreat while the Chinese surge continued.  Many attempts to gain ground were becoming futile and finally a truce using the 38th parallel to divide Korea once again into North and South was agreed upon.   

Although the war area was comparatively small, limited to one small country, our U.S. casualties were over one hundred and sixty nine thousand compared to the Korean loses of over five hundred and twenty thousand. Since China helped Korea, it had cost them over nine hundred thousand lives. Totaling it for all the countries involved, this war decreased their population by almost four million people. Nobody won the war but it kept our factories producing military supplies and everybody was employed.

The American War in Vietnam was too much for us

The following war was also against communism. We chose only Vietnam for us to engage the communists even knowing that communism continues to exist in several of the bordering countries. Our forethought perhaps gave us reason to believe that this country was of a size we could handle militarily. However, it was too hard to determine who is the enemy. The people of the North looked just like the people of the South and everybody could easily hide in the numerous thick forests covering the land. We had to deploy very unusual war tactics, which involved trying to defoliate the forests in hopes of revealing the people so they could be killed. This at least opened a new source of profit for the chemical industry. Not everyone could realize the profit being derived from this war so therefore negative public opinion took the lead and our only choice was to abandon this war. We still had to pay the price of over fifty eight thousand casualties that included over one hundred fifty three thousand wounded. The cost was also great for Vietnam as they lost nearly four million souls. It was a good decision to quit for other reasons too; the war was un-winnable since there was an endless supply line coming from China. This was a factor we should have known due to our experience in Korea. Although jobs were plentiful and everyone was working in America, it was hard to reflect how this war was affecting our economy since we were so pre-occupied with our casualties.

The War in Iraq is not profitable

Our present war is against Terrorism – an ideological expression such as we used with the word Communism. We likely selected that name because it was too hard to identify the leaders of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York on 9/11 or what country, if any, sponsored it. If known, it may have then reluctantly involved us in a war against a country that supplies our oil. We apparently selected countries for reprisal that have no perceptible military strength but could display our military superiority, and we didn’t see troops lined up in battle formation ready to attack us, but yet we found them to be a formidable foe. It is unsure what the total casualties are but it is well over four thousand, and ten times that amount of wounded. We can only have an educated guess that the number of Iraqi casualties is in the hundreds of thousands. We don’t know who the leaders are despite our opinionated guessing, so that, hopefully, when we think we have won the war, we can get his signature on the surrender papers. We are already realizing that “terrorism” is not confined to one country. There are no borders for the terrorists and they exist only because of our definition of the word. Although this continues to cost the lives of our servicemen we must continue until public opinion becomes too negative. As it is now, our war costs are higher than our factory production profits and there is no easy way to reverse this trend. We are likely to concede that this war was a mistake since the country harbored no “weapons of mass destruction” and gave no evidence of being a threat to us.

Will another war restore our credibility?

Our existing foreign policy seems to demand that we continue to seek another war, but it needs to be provoked in order to make it plausible. America, as a debtor nation, should not be annoying Saudi Arabia, China, Russia and Japan. We are trying our best to implement this, first of all, by naming the nations we want to annoy by calling them the “Axis of Evil” and hoping in some way they will provoke us. Of noteworthy attention is the point that we did not call Israel as one of the axis of evil. No need to, we already have her in our control. Following in that attempt, we have labeled Iran as one of the “Axis of Evil” in order to set a new stage for our planned attack. This term is perhaps good for American Domestic politics, but surely not for international politics.  Condoleeza Rice has followed it up by urging and humiliating the Islamic Republic to “behave”.  Hans Blix, U.N. weapons inspector from Sweden, reports that humiliation is always bad. In the event that America would negotiate, the threats of regime changes and threats of military action on Iran only complicates negotiations. Iran has never been a threat to us and is actually a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT). They have never sought a nuclear weapon. If we are looking for important international things to discuss, Global Warming is more important than to be considering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

How much planning have we done for the next war?

Consciously or unconsciously, we have been putting roadblocks in most courses we wish to travel. Our warships in the Persian Gulf are likely forcing Iran to prepare for a possible attack by America. The consequences can be more than we expect. It will greatly limit the possibility of conducting negotiations and our ships will be prime targets. The Strait of Hormoz could easily be blocked and our ships would not be able to get out. Assuming everything finally goes as we plan, there can then be no oil shipments out of the Persian Gulf.

Monday Morning Quarterback analysis

Americans have been told earlier that the main object of going to war in Afghanistan and Iraq was to conquer Osama bin-Laden and the al-Qaida command. The risk of actually accomplishing that task was a threat to our intention of entering Iraq, so it was proclaimed that he is well hidden in the hills of Afghanistan or Pakistan. That task was then put on the ‘back burner’ until we had our excursion in Iraq. We are now considering putting Iraq on the ‘back burner’ because Afghanistan is more of a problem than we anticipated. A complication is developing in that the al-Qaida group is apparently fearful of our new President Barack Obama. And in desperation, they are calling him names such as “house slave” so that the Muslim world will consider that he feels he is one of the elite black people and of no consequence. In the likely expectation that the Afghani people will see through the al-Qaida’s fears, it would be time to address the Afghan people directly.

Who is the Taliban?

The Taliban was originated and supplied by America during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and they still exist. The members come from many of the tribes living throughout the nation and they are not our primary enemy. Since we seem to think it is time to flush Osama bin-Laden out of hiding, we should realize that there is no Military Solution. We should use the Tribal Honor system of Afghanistan to stop protecting Bin Laden since al-Qaida used that protection to murder innocent people and was against Islamic law. Osama bin-Laden and al-Qaida would then be on their own. They could even be ignored. This message needs to be conveyed by known religious scholars in order to be accepted by the Tribal Leaders. Lacking that, our Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should then talk with neighboring Muslim countries to continue their effort of convincing the Taliban leadership elements of their un-Islamic behavior in protecting the al-Qaida group and their antics of killing innocents. There should be no attempt at negotiating with the Taliban at this stage because of the credibility factor of taking advise from a non-Muslim. There can be no Military solution.

Who wins the war?   

During this past one hundred years, if we look carefully at our history, we should learn that there are no winners in a war. All have lost, some greater, some less. If we listen to what Peyton Conway – U.S. Army General, U.S. Army Chief of Staff during the final year of ‘World War I’ said: “There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave in life – happiness, freedom and peace of mind are always attained by giving them to someone else”. We can also consider the benefits of a cosmopolitan, mixed way of life by considering India. Although it is 80% Hindu, India has elected a Sikh Prime Minister, a Muslim President, and the governing party is led by a Roman Catholic woman. This is the modern accomplishment of a Democratic Government that works, not just a democracy by name only. Since it is a Democracy, its affairs will always be controlled by itself, not by an outside country. It could not be classed as one of the axis of evil because we recognize it to be an autonomous state, not subject to control.

Now what to do?

This leaves but few modest choices in how to develop that workable Foreign Policy. We need to start at home by developing our economy based upon a peace- time standard. We have little to pattern that task from since we haven’t experienced it during our lifetime. The Foreign aspect of policy needs to be recognized that much suffering is going on now due to our avarice, desire for power, religious zeal, prejudice, injustice, discrimination and many criminal acts upon fellow human beings and does not develop respect. We need to recognize that our own country has been guilty of this and must promote it no longer and further that we have the power to enact a change anywhere in the world, in particular, those countries that are presently dependent upon us to subsidize their living expenditures. A change anywhere begins the course of being held in higher esteem. When we learn that the People in our World needs to get along with each other, and we find that it can be done, this is a condition that we and each other can capitalize on.

Mertze Dahlin is a Member of the Board of Directors of the American Institute of International Studies.