On 20 January 2004, George Bush Jr. the President of the United States gave his last (?) State of the Union Address. In this article, I will point out 25 fallacies of the speech on the war on terror.
Fallacy 1. "By bringing hope to the oppressed and delivering justice to the violent, [the American servicemen and women] are making America more secure." Apologists of the war on terror are quick to point out that there have not been any major attacks on the U.S. since September 11, 2001. But what of the numerous terror alerts? And how did the deadly toxin ricin recently find its way into the US Senate for the second time! Or did Senator' Ricin, the terrorist,' win a re-election into the upper house? Does that not show that the terrorists still present a clear and present danger? Clearly an early warning signal!
Fallacy 2. "Each day, law enforcement personnel and intelligence officers are tracking terrorist threats; analysts are examining airline passenger lists; the men and women of our new Homeland Security Department are patrolling our coasts and borders. And their vigilance is protecting America."
Americans and indeed the world should not live under the false hope of being protected by the intelligence officers. Because the terrorists themselves are becoming more creative. Who has ever heard of shoe bombers before?
The U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi exposed this illusion in her speech: "One hundred percent of containers coming into our ports or airports must be inspected. Today, only 3 percent are inspected. One hundred percent of chemical and nuclear plants in the United States must have high levels of security. Today, the Bush Administration has tolerated a much lower standard. One hundred percent of the enriched uranium and other material for weapons of mass destruction must be secured. Today, the Administration has refused to commit the resources necessary to prevent it from falling into the hands of terrorists." In this case, is America protected? If the answer is no, what about other countries with less security measures and porous borders?
Fallacy 3. "We have not come all this way, through tragedy, and trials, and war, only to falter and leave our work unfinished." The war on terror is an unfinished business.
In fact, the battle has only begun. Commenting on this, the New York Times Magazine said that the war on terror "is the beginning of an epic battle." And to support this, La Repubblica newspaper said: "Today we get the feeling that we are living in the middle of a tornado, an unparalleled catastrophe." Those are not the right words to describe the end of a story.
Fallacy 4. "And by our will and courage, this danger must be defeated." That is a very upbeat statement. On 24 July 2003, US Vice-President Dick Cheney also sounded oracular when he said: "One by one, in every corner of the world, we will hunt the terrorists down and destroy them."
Al-Qaeda has now mutated into multifaceted anonymous groups. And this new phase is more dangerous than the former centralized visible organization. Take a warning: Do not go to some radical Muslim country to search for terrorists. Because that your prodigal son, or your estranged husband, or in fact, that distant relative of yours may be a terrorist. A roll call in the prison at Guantanamo Bay reveals that even some Americans and Britonscitizens of two nations in the forefront of the war on terrorhave been "Talibanized."
Besides, these groups are becoming more desperate. They have succeeded in their use of surface-to-air missiles (SAMS)tumbling down military aircrafts at will in Iraq. And make no mistake about it: these cave dwellers may crack a dirty nuke somewhere someday, or unleash a deadly plague. In that case, how would the world respond? Detonate a nuclear bomb? So you can see that "we are perilously near a new international anarchy" according to the Washington Post. The war on terror, therefore, is not winnable.
Fallacy 5. "And one of these essential tools is the Patriot Act, which allows Federal law enforcement to better share information, to track terrorists, to disrupt their cells, and to seize their assets." Terrorism can not be wiped out by legislation. After all, these are man-made laws and man himself is imperfect. There must be loopholes, and the terrorists exploit the weakness of the system. Now, what if they stop living in cells? Or what if they stop keeping their money in banks? Then they would be as elusive as the shadows.
Fallacy 6. "We are tracking al-Qaida around the world and nearly two-thirds of their known leaders have now been captured or killed. Thousands of very skilled and determined military personnel are on the manhunt, going after the remaining killers who hide in cities and cavesand, one by one, we will bring the terrorists to justice." It is true that most of the key terrorist suspectsincluding Saddam Husseinhave either been arrested or eliminated. But according to Time Magazine, "Lopping off the beast's head may not kill the body." If Saddam or Osama bin laden are hanged today, more Saddams and Osamas will rise tomorrow. Terrorists want attention. And that is why various groups are eager to claim credit for any attackeven though they are not responsible. In like manner there may be a lord of the flies waiting for Saddam and Osama to pass on before taking center stage and bringing his pursuers to justice.'
Fallacy 7. "The United States and our allies are determined. We refuse to live in the shadows of this ultimate danger." Right? Wrong! We must continue to live in the shadows of the terrorists. This is because terrorism is as old as the history of man on this planet6,000 years. We have never left its shadows. Rather, terrorism continues to increase with the passing of the day. It is no wonder that Time Magazine remarks: "Determining whether the West is gaining in the fight against terrorism requires interpreting shadowy, shapeless data. Yet this much can be safely said: international terrorism existed long before 9/11 and will continue long after that."
This is the message of my published book, CHASING SHADOWS!: A Dream. (A book that reveals the terrorists' master plan to finally set the world on fire! ) Terrorism starts from the heart and mind, and this is fueled by the hypocrisy and double standard in this worldtwo things that are not in a hurry to go away. In this regard, killings and destruction will exacerbate, rather than stop terrorism. When will the world address the issues that cause this evil, instead of chasing shadows?
Fallacy 8. "The first to see our determination were the Taliban, who made Afganistan the primary training base of al-Qaida killers. As of this month, that free country has a new constitution, guaranteeing free election and full participation by women." Afganistan is not a free nation. Terrorist attacks and bombings are the order of the daysignifying that the Taliban and al-Qaeda are back. Warlords are also doing their thing. The only free' place in Afganistan is the capital Kabul. Some Afgans even long for the return of the Taliban because of security concerns. Democracy itself is not an insurance against terrorismsome democrats' are known to terrorize their subjects. Ask Zimbabweans.
Fallacy 9. "Since we last met in this chamber, combat forces of the United States, Great Britain, Austrialia, Poland and other countries enforced the demands of the United Nations, ended the rule of Saddam Husseinand the people of Iraq are free." The U.N. did not send any country to invade Iraq and change its regime. It was a unilateral action, a pre-emptive war, which itself is a weapon of mass destruction. Says Nancy Pelosi: "But even the most powerful nation in history must bring other nations to our side to meet common dangers. The President's policies do not reflect that. He has pursued a go-it-alone foreign policy that leaves us isolated abroad and that steals the resources we need for education and health care here at home."
The Iraqi government was toppled on the excuse that it possessed dangerous weapons that could sink the world in 45 minutes. (Sorry, Lord Hutton has cleared British Prime Minister Tony Blair, for sexing up the report on Iraq. Let's blame the BBC.) But about a year after the invasion and the collateral damage of Iraqand after a thorough search of the deserts and tunnels in that country, no such weapons have been found! Again in the words of Nancy Pelosi: "The President led us into the Iraqi war on the basis of unproven assertions without evidence; he embraced a radical doctrine of pre-emptive war unprecedented in our history; and he failed to build a true international coalition."
Fallacy 10. "These killers, joined by foreign terrorists, are a serious, continuing danger. Yet we are making progress against them." This was in reference to the American war in Iraq. The President did not mention the over 500 American troops that have been killed and the thousands that are wounded. Nor did he mention the scores of daily attacks against American soldiers, or the crashing planes. Is it progress when servicemen and women are killed or maimed? This reminds me of the saying: winning the war is not winning the peace.
(To be concluded)
ARTHUR ZULU, an editor and book reviewer, is the controversial author of the best-selling book, CHASING SHADOWS!: A Dream. (A book that reveals the terrorists' master plan to finally set the world on fire!)
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