Thursday, June 16, 2005

Question Three: Are We Safer?

The next question in our debate series on the War on Terror and the war in Iraq is one in which there is no quantifiable data to use for an answer. Nevertheless, I think people’s opinions on this will be enlightening.

Are we any safer? What about Iraq and the greater War on Terror has and has not made us safer?



Question One: Why did we invade Iraq?

Question Two: Has the Iraq war set any precedents?

7 Comments:

At 6:11 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

Obviously we don't know for sure. We haven't been struck here at home since 9/11 but does that mean we are safer or are we merely back in a 9/10/01 state?

My feeling is that the war in Afghanistan has absolutely made us safer. The war in Iraq, if it does inspire a flourishing of democracy across the Mid East like it could, then we will be safer. I also think we shouldn't ignore the fact that many terrorists have headed to Iraw rather than come here. I'd much rather have them facing down our military than blowing up our citizens.

But I also worry that Iraq has spawned more terrorists. One of the "talking points" of terrorist is that America is imperialistic and seeks to be "crusaders" against Islam. The Iraqi war has played into that. I'm certainly not saying we should base policy off of what terrorists think, only that Iraq has almost surely helped them recruit.

All in all, it's too early to answer this question. We are not out of the woods by a longshot and how Iraq turns out will be vital to how safe we are.

 
At 6:34 PM, Blogger AubreyJ said...

Are we any safer because of the War?
My short answer was this: Doesn’t matter if you’re talking about the Afghanistan War, Iraq War or both… My answer would be yes, we are safer…

That was my short answer and now for my long...
Way to many people want to say that by us going to war in Iraq we inflamed the Middle East which in turn is breeding more and more terrorists than ever before. That more and more people in that part of the world hate the United States now more than ever before and this would not have been the case if we had not gone to war with Iraq...

Wait a minute!!! If I remember right… Wasn’t it just moments after 9-11 when 100,000’s of Middle Eastern people turned out in droves just a foot stomping, USA flag burnings and chanting those kind sympathetic words of death to all Americans. Wasn’t there much laughter coming from many of these people at this time in history? Wasn’t this going on way before the words of Iraq even/ever came up??? YES SIR… “How soon we forget.”

I ask you this question and I do so because no one else will. If we had not gone to war with Iraq, what would the war on terror look like now, at this moment on this day? I’ll give you a quick look at what I think. Everything would be the same except instead of all this hell going on in Iraq, it would all be back in Afghanistan and much, much worse. With or without Iraq in the mix these crazies were coming after us no matter where we fought this war.

So as many have said and it’s sad but so… Better over there than here. And that my friend is actually what is happening. Over there not here and that truly does make us safer here at home.

We can never beat the terrorist here at home. Never… Yet we can lose it here by not staying focused. Yes… It has to be done over there for that is where they live and breed this hatred. We must kill are prison (Guantanamo Bay style) the very worse of them and when the dust settles down the hearts and minds of the rest will have to be won. That day’s coming… It’s just going to take some time to do so...

Bottom line for me is-- Yes we are safer… Yet still not safe………

 
At 10:59 PM, Blogger EG said...

Assuming 'We' in the question is Americans, no, we're not safer. Rather than concentrating on the U.S. borders, approach the question by measuring the safety of Americans. Are Americans safer in Europe or in Africa or in the Middle East? No. We have not been attacked on American soil but Americans have more restricted travel outside the U.S. borders.

There are Americans all around the globe. Those Americans are not safer because of the Iraqi war.

audbreyj seems to recall many more people than I cheering for the American destruction, post 9/11. There were 1000s, not 100s of 1000s and many of these were fanatics, not representative of their country's population (as are the terrorists). I also recall this behavior in the PLO areas not everywhere in Muslim countries.

Did the war in Afghanistan create more terrorists? There is little evidence of that. Most Afghans are pleased with the removal of the Taliban and work with the coalition forces to route out the remaining fighters. These people now work to rebuild their country.

Did the war in Iraq create terrorists? Yes. The Shia consider parts of Iraq holy sites. Infidels (us) are now attacking some of these sites. This is why the Afghan war alone would not have caused many terrorists.

Have we weaken al Qaeda? Indications lead to yes. Did we create other terrorists, affliated with al Qaeda? That's where evidence points.

 
At 4:54 AM, Blogger Lokon said...

Hmmm,
I can see it going either way actually. I do not think that anyone will argue that the war in afghanistan was either wrong or ultimately detrimental to our security. What people do debate is Iraq. I would like to make a couple points.

1. Bush, and congress under him, got us in long protracted wars in exactly the same places where clinton cruised missiled. While I am ambiguous towards whether the war in Iraq is in the end 'good' or 'bad', I do think the precedent of actually making long commitments to where we intend to effect change is a good one. War is costly, messy and long. The use of single strike tactics like cruise missiles would try to deny this... and that is a dangerous precedence.

2. As was mentioned a large portion of the arab world seems to be inflamed concerning this. As was also mentioned a large portion of the Arab world has been inflamed. The question is then 'did the US, in invading Iraq, turn people who would cheer when US citezens die into people who would die to kill 'us'?. I think that in the short run we have, there are problably more people (mostly arabs... mostly -but not entirely- fundamentalist religious) running around right now willing to die to kill (thankfully though, we have damaged the infrastructure neccesary to export that dedication). However, in the long run, if Iraq becomes a stable democracy... we will have suceeded in placing pressure on the neighboring governments to preform better; and -hopefully- show to any capable of listening that while our actions may not always be benevolent 'we' can at least be benign. Again though, that's a big if. And as always, we can only try to persuade those who will listen.

3. In the end, I think this sets good precedents. Certainly ignoring the international community will have the US catching flak for quite a while. But the concept that, when it comes to our security we are full willing and able to act unilaterally (but I don't think this imperative could be applied to iraq initially). A bad precedent is that we have offered up even more evidence that the UN is toothless and powerless... though they have taken no action in recent times to prove anything to the contrary so that doesn't neccesarily hang solely over the doorstep of the US. Another bad precendent is further showing the incredible effectiveness of spin... how the primary justification of the war changed significantly. Also, the Bush administration did a very good job of not lying... and yet they did a spectacular job of decieving. This will be more and more the MO for every proceeding politician unless some radical change takes place (like I dunno, Voters deciding things on less superficial reasons though with steadily lowering voter turn out this may be feasible in the future.)

 
At 9:23 AM, Anonymous Corey said...

When we went into Afganistan, I did feel like it was a step towards making us safer. I don't get the same feeling however with the Iraq war. While there are definitely some areas where I feel like we have made progress, I also feel like there are some areas where we've taken a step backwards.

Had there been a stockpile of WMDs in Iraq, I think it would have been a huge advantage for us to have ousted Saddam and secured these, but we know now that this is not the case, so we didn't really gain any safety in that area.

In terms of our military, we are streatched pretty thin right now. Recruitment is way down, reserves and national guardsmen are making up an extremely high percentage of our force, and there is a backdoor draft keeping people in service longer than originally planned. I think these things leave us vulnerable should something else happen that would require us to use military force somewhere other than the middle east, so again, I feel like this is an area where we are less safe.

And one big argument against our increased safety is the fact that Bin Ladin is still alive and free, and most likely still plotting against us.

That being said, I also feel like we have made improvements in other areas. We have ousted a tyrant from a part of the world where we are not necassarily well thought of. If we can actually pull this off and establish a secure democracy in Iraq, I think it can only help us. I'm not saying we're there yet, but atleast the possibilty exists.

Also, with every Al Qaida member we capture, we are learning more about them. That has to give our intelligence a better understanding of what we're up against and make us better able to stop future attacks.

So, while I don't really feel like we are safer than we were before Iraq, I don't feel like we are in more danger. At this point, I think our level of safety has remained pretty much the same for the last couple of years.

 
At 12:53 PM, Blogger AubreyJ said...

From his very mouth today... I think we all need to stop and listen…… Part of President Bush’s Radio Address - - June 18, 2005
(First part he talks about our economy, Social Security, Oil and such… (Full transcript and Audio at: WhiteHouse.gov.) The following is what I wish he would hammer home to all Americans on a daily basis.......
As we work to deliver opportunity at home, we're also keeping you safe from threats from abroad. We went to war because we were attacked, and we are at war today because there are still people out there who want to harm our country and hurt our citizens. Some may disagree with my decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power, but all of us can agree that the world's terrorists have now made Iraq a central front in the war on terror. These foreign terrorists violently oppose the rise of a free and democratic Iraq, because they know that when we replace despair and hatred with liberty and hope, they lose their recruiting grounds for terror.
Our troops are fighting these terrorists in Iraq so you will not have to face them here at home. We mourn every one of these brave men and women who have given his or her life for our liberty. The terrorists know they cannot defeat our troops, so they seek to weaken our nation's resolve. They know there is no room for them in a free and democratic Middle East, so the terrorists and insurgents are trying to get us to retreat. Their goal is to get us to leave before Iraqis have had a chance to show the region what a government that is elected and truly accountable to its citizens can do for its people.
Time and again, the Iraqi people have defied the skeptics who claim they are not up to the job of building a free society. Nearly a year ago, Iraqis showed they were ready to resume sovereignty. A few months ago, Iraqis showed they could hold free elections. This week, Iraqis have worked on an agreement to expand their constitutional drafting committee to ensure that all communities are represented in the process. I am confident that Iraqis will continue to defy the skeptics as they build a new Iraq that represents the diversity of their nation and assumes greater responsibility for their own security. And when they do, our troops can come home with the honor they have earned.
This mission isn't easy, and it will not be accomplished overnight. We're fighting a ruthless enemy that relishes the killing of innocent men, women, and children. By making their stand in Iraq, the terrorists have made Iraq a vital test for the future security of our country and the free world. We will settle for nothing less than victory.
I'll continue to act to keep our people safe from harm and our future bright. Together we will do what Americans have always done: build a better and more peaceful world for our children and grandchildren.

 
At 10:03 PM, Anonymous Paul said...

I belive, as said before, this says to the Middle East... "Hey! We think you are too dumb to do it yourself, so we are gonna do it our way!" It just drives home the crusades mentality. And reading Georges last statement on his radio speach, it reminds me of 1984...War is Peace.

 

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