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The war on terrorism is a myth in America

After the senseless and cruel attack on 9/11 our nation went to war against those who perpetrated those acts.

They called themselves Al Qaeda, and they lived in Afghanistan under the protection of the Taliban government. We attacked that country, destroyed its government, and rooted out Al Qaeda, only for them to re-locate in Pakistan. Since then we have fought what has been named the War on Terror.

In the fight, we have found our nation tied down in a war in Iraq, a nation that did not practice terror and was not involved in 9/11.

We have secured our airline system, funded first responders, created Homeland Security Agency, and allocated billions of dollars to states to prepare for future attacks. We have worked to improve our ports and our borders, expanded our security, passed the Patriot Act, allowed NSA to expand its wiretaps, and the FBI to use Security Letters to investigate Americans.

We have spent billions on our military on new equipment, replacement equipment and new technologies like the Predator. Our national debt has soared.

But there is no war on terror. It is not real.

This is hard to say, hard to express, but it must be said. The war is a fiction.

First, even if we were at war, we cannot go to war against a tactic, and terror is a tactic, not a nation, not a group, not an enemy to fight.

Second, excluding the horrible events of 9/11 the total loss of life in North America from 1968 through today because of international terrorism is 180. That’s right, 180. We have spent over a trillion dollars, perhaps nearer to two trillion dollars and 180 have died since 1968 excluding the attacks of 9/11.

Terrorism, as a tactic, is real enough. In the Middle East there have been 22,548 deaths from terrorist acts during this same period. 7,073 deaths have been reported during the period in South Asia as a result of terrorism.

There is a regional conflict taking place in the Middle East and South Asia. It is a conflict within the Muslim faith, and it is destroying the fabric of the cultures within that particular geographic region. And there is spillage from that conflict in the rest of the planet. But it is not a war where we live, for us it was an event on a day we can never forget, but not a war.

Our president says that the terrorists want to destroy our way of life. Perhaps they do. But they have no armies, no weapons, no territories, no influence, and no ability to threaten our way of life. Nor have they launched a war against us that has any effect since 9/11.

The truth is, were we not in Iraq, terrorism would not be touching Americans in any way to damage our nation. If we leave Iraq, we leave the heart of the terrorist activities.

Our administration tells us though that we must stay and defeat terrorism. But we cannot defeat a tactic, nor can we eliminate the root causes of terrorism with our Army and Marines.

There are social and religious issues that are centered in the Middle East and Muslim in nature. What role should we play in resolving those differences? Certainly not a combat role, where the enemy hides in front of us as part of the population and seeks remedies that are not within our providence to provide.

The War on Terrorism is a war we should not fight. Bring our troops home now.

Jim Crawford is a contributing columnist to The Ironton Tribune.