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The Truth About Terrorism

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 Since our invasion of Iraq, we have seen a steady rise in terrorist attacks around the world. The sad fact is that the so-called “war on terrorism” is failing and that terrorism is spreading around the world like a cancer and is posing more and more danger for us.

The truth is that none of our thousands of nuclear weapons can protect us

from these threats. No missile defense system, no matter how sophisticated, no matter how many trillions of dollars are poured into it, can protect us from a tube full of anthrax. On 9/11, not one weapon in our vast arsenal, not a penny of the $500 billion a year we spend on so-called defense could defend us against a terrorist on an airplane armed with nothing but a box cutter.

 If military force cannot defend us from terrorism, the obvious

 question is, "Then what can we do?" Is there nothing we can do to provide security for our people?"

There is. But to understand how requires that we know the truth about the threat. We are told that we are a target for terrorists because we stand for democracy and freedom in the world.  This is nonsense!

 We are the target of terrorists because, in much of the world, there is a deep resentment against us.  People see us as using our military power to extend our economic power. For many people around the world, our invasion of Iraq was more about liberating the Iraqi oil fields than it was about liberating the Iraqi people. The harsh reality is that the U.S. is often viewed as being more interested in building its empire than in building democracy. When people around the world compare our actions to our noble words about freedom and justice for all, they react with disappointment, disillusionment, and anger. And that's why we're the target of terrorists

 Once the truth about why the threat exists is understood, the solution

 becomes obvious. We must change our ways. The root of terrorism is despair and hopelessness. If the U.S. became the biggest supplier of hope in the world instead of the world's biggest arms supplier, the wellsprings of terrorism would soon dry up and disappear.  Terrorism will never be defeated by military force. Violence breeds more violence and more violence breeds more terrorists.

 Instead of sending our sons and daughters around the world to kill and be killed, we should be helping poorer nations to rebuild their infrastructures, supply clean water, feed starving people and provide medicine and health care. Just imagine what we could do for the world if we cut our huge military budget by just 10%  and used those billions of dollars for humanitarian work that would give people real hope for their future.

Right now, the U.S. is the stingiest nation among the 22 most developed nations in terms of how much humanitarian aid it provides. But our military budget is more than all the military budgets of the rest of the world combined! We spend more of each of our tax dollars on the military than any other nation in the world. For each tax dollar, 43 cents goes to the military while less than a penny goes to humanitarian aid.

 If we really want to stop terrorism, we need to start using our wealth and power in the service of life instead of death. If we replaced smart bombs with smart policies designed to help people, the terrorist recruiters would soon have difficulty finding people willing to die for them. The best antidote to a suicide bomber is hope for a better future. The truth is that if we want real security, we must work to stop our government from relying so heavily on military force that ends up creating even more terrorists.  In the interests of our national security, we must demand that the President and Congress reduce our huge military budget and increase our humanitarian aid to the places where poverty and despair serve as fertile ground for the next crop of terrorists.


Joe Parko is a retired college professor who taught for 28 years in the School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University. He is a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and serves on the steering committee of Cumberland (more...)

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The day will come when all Americans will know why... by Ruth on Tuesday, Mar 11, 2008 at 8:46:19 PM