Another war-on-terrorism success story comes out of Afghanistan, where U.S. troops have been battling The Terrorists for some 7 years (and, if things go according to plan, will be battling Them for at least another 7 years). Heavily armed U.S. troops entered a village in Logar Province in the dead of night, raided a “compound,” and shot dead two men.
U.S. officials claim that the two men were Terrorists and, therefore, that they had the right to shoot them as part of the U.S. government’s Global War on Terror. Army Major Todd Polk, who took part in the raid, explained how one of the dead man’s actions during the raid confirmed that he was in fact a Terrorist: He “had an AK-47 in his hand and was trying to get away. If he were innocent, he would have sat there.”
The problem is that the Afghanis living in the area don’t quite see things the same way. According to the Washington Post,“By midmorning, hundreds of angry people were blocking the nearby highway, burning tires and shouting ‘Death to America!’ By mid-evening, millions of Afghan TV news viewers were convinced that foreign troops had killed an unarmed man trying to answer his door.”
Abdul Ghaffar, a truck driver who lives in the village, stated, “We are afraid of the Taliban, but we are more afraid of the Americans now. The foreign forces are killing innocent people. We don’t want them in Afghanistan. If they stay, one day we will stand against them, just like we stood against the Russians.”
U.S. officials say that the problem wasn’t with their military action but instead simply a public-relations problem. The Terrorists were able to get their version out to the public before the troops were able to. As Major Polk put it, “”I know we did the right thing, but the Taliban kicked our butts on the response. Next time, we just have to be faster putting out the truth.”
What will it take for the American people to finally demand an immediate exit from Afghanistan (and Iraq)? Every day that the U.S. occupations continue in those two countries is one more day in which U.S. troops are killing more people, which of course means the greater the likelihood of terrorist blowback here on American soil. While that will good for Big Government in America, how in the world can it be good for the American people, who will continue to see their freedoms infringed upon and their economy ravaged as a result of out-of-control federal spending?
Alas, my hunch is that the only thing that will motivate the American people to finally say “No more” to the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan will be a military disaster in which lots of U.S. troops are killed, which, in my opinion, is a rather pathetic way to “support the troops.” It seems to me that everyone would be better off if we “supported the troops” (and ourselves) by bringing them home immediately. After all, if they haven’t killed all The Terrorists after 7 years, what is the likelihood that they’re going to kill them during the next 7 years? (The 35-year-old drug war might come to mind.)
But let’s count our blessings here at home. The feds might now have the omnipotent power to seize and incarcerate American citizens as enemy combatants in the Global War on Terror. And, sure, the feds have been ignoring The Constitution as part of their GWAT, especially with respect to Fourth Amendment prohibitions against illegal wiretapping and other unreasonable searches. But at least they’re not yet busting down people’s doors and shooting Americans dead here at home. Well, except for those well-armed drug-war SWAT teams.
I highly recommend Bruce Fein’s op-ed “Criminals Not Warriors” in today’s Washington Times. Fein takes the same position that we here at The Future of Freedom Foundation have consistently taken ever since the 9/11 attacks: Terrorism is a crime, not an act of war. Permitting the feds the option of treating terrorism as either a criminal offense or an act of war has been a horrible and disastrous mistake.
If you haven’t seen the speech Bruce gave at our conference “Restoring the Republic 2008: Foreign Policy and Civil Liberties,” please take the time to do so; it is one of the best speeches you’ll ever see.
Finally, Bruce will be speaking at our Economic Liberty Lecture Series on April 6 at George Mason University. See the details in the FFF Email Update. If you’re in the D.C. area, I hope you’ll join us for what is certain to be another great speech.