Friday, October 07, 2005

Who Are Our Enemies?

As of today we are waist deep in the war on terror. We are witness to successes and hardships in this war on a daily basis. Whether is another round of successful elections in Afghanistan, a country that was not supposed to be capable of democracy, an offensive operation in western Iraq, an I.E.D. killing innocents in Baghdad or suicide bombers in Bali, it is obvious we are at war on many fronts. That war is not only a military war, but also a war of intelligence, law enforcement, diplomacy and aid/development. But who is our enemy?

To a lot of people, the enemy in the war on terror is Bin Laden and al-Qaida and only Bin Laden and al-Qaida. These are the same ones who scream about Saddam Hussein not being responsible for the attacks on the U.S. on September 11, 2001, therefore not a legitimate target in the war on terror. To these naive people getting Bin Laden means an end to the war and we will therefore live happily ever after. I would argue that getting Bin Laden now would ultimately hurt our efforts to defeat terrorism worldwide.

It is obvious that much of the American populace has little stomach for the sacrifices that war brings; after all many even expect wars to be virtually casualty free. These Americans would see the end of Bin Laden as an end of any reason to support ongoing operations against other terrorists organizations worldwide, since none of these groups attacked us on 9/11. In short, they view the war on terror as a reaction to the 9/11 attacks with the wiping out of the guilty party as its only mission. This, of course, is part of the mission. Al-Qaida is still a big threat to us but Bin Laden's role has been minimalized. I want to see Bin Laden brought to justice as much as anyone, but if it means having to give up the war on all the threats that face America, I say let him sweat a few more years. The war on terror is much bigger than him.

There is another group of Americans that understand the global, proactive doctrine that underlies the war on terror. They understand that this war is about eliminating threats BEFORE they attack us and it gows well beyond al-Qaida and even Iraq. During the 9/11 Commission hearings all I heard was the phrase about connecting the dots. Well, the dots were connected to some degree for years. We were all well aware of al-Qaida and the threat they posed prior to 9/11 since they had blown up two of our embassies, one Navy ship and attempted to blow up the World Trade Center almost a decade prior. We knew that they were being trained and were based in Afghanistan. So why didn't we do something BEFORE they attacked us on 9/11? Well, it is very simple. We lacked the leadership and fortitude needed to launch a proactive war to prevent the attacks. Now we have such a war and everybody is pitching a fit.

So who are the other threats in this war? Let's take a look first at South America. "What?" you say. Not all of our enemies are Middle-Eastern or even Muslim, though they may be working together. In Columbia we have the narco-terrorists called the F.A.R.C. (aka the Revolutionary Forces of Columbia). They are a communist guerilla group, 9,000-12,000 men strong, that is responsible for up to 70% of the cocaine that enters the U.S. They also have support in the communist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has recently supplied them with 100,000 AK-47s. The F.A.R.C. is notorious for the rampant kidnappings, assassinations and trafficking in drugs and arms in Columbia and other South American countries, these include the kidnappings and killings of Americans. There are more, many more terrorist threats.

Another is called Abu Sayyaf and operates in the Philippines. They are a small, but extremely radical, Muslim group that has already attracted the interest and action of the U.S. military. We have had special operations and support personnel in the Philippines working as advisors as part of the Joint Combined Exchange Training Program to help support the Army of the Philippines in combating this terrorist group. Ten U.S. servicemen died in a helicopter crash in this effort. This terrorist group has ties to and receives support from Middle-Eastern terrorist groups.

The list goes on. There is Palestinian group Hezbollah who usually receives regular press for it's suicide bombing attacks on Israel. Hezbollah bombed our Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983 killing more than 200 Marines, they also bombed our Embassy in Lebanon in 1984. They have established cells in North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and South America. They receive support from Syria and Iran. They, and the terrorist group Hamas, also openly received funding from Saddam Hussein. He paid the families of suicide bombers $10,000 each totaling 35 million dollars prior to his removal from power. So much for Hussein not supporting terrorists.

I think I have made my point, but if you would like to educate yourself further on who our enemies are then visit the links below. One will quickly realize the magnitude of the threat and that more, not less, needs to be done in the war on terror. One will also realize that what is needed now is more fortitude, more solidarity and more commitment on the part of American citizens. Our enemies are many and spread around the world. The war is much bigger than Iraq and Afghanistan, not smaller. It is about preventing attacks not waiting on them to happen.

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