Osama baited and set the trap. His goal was to bankrupt America and he had a plan to carry it out. When he planned the despicable attack of 9/11 he wanted America to lash out in anger and revenge and have U.S. military forces bogged down in quagmires around the world. He believed that these massive military operations would drain the wealth of America and eventually lead to economic collapse. The Bush administration took the bait, fell into the trap, and America may never be the same.
We may not recall or fully understand that Bin Laden's plan was not just to crash planes into the World Trade Center. His plan was far more ambitious and extensive; his real intent was to completely destroy the financial foundation of America and, in doing so, he believed that the vast U.S. military empire that encompassed the world would also collapse.
While no plan by Bin Laden, in itself, could possibly have had the power to lead America into bankruptcy, the fact is that America, at the time of 9/11, already had a deteriorating economy as a result of several decades of misguided policies and strategies pursued by corporations and the financial sector. There was an economic time bomb ticking at the turn of the century and we had not the slightest idea that it would later explode into our current crisis.
At that time most nations, including America's allies and enemies, were watching as our nation was rapidly expanding its military presence in the world and were well aware of our massive, growing debt. Bin Laden, based on what we have learned since 9/11, was biding his time, waiting for the right moment to take revenge against America because of its military presence in the Middle East and, especially, in Saudi Arabia, his homeland. And when the right time presented itself he triggered the deadly attack.
After the attack, a common response by the media and the public was that, "America will never be the same." Look around; are we the same nation we once were? Certainly not, for we lost over 3000 innocent people who deserved a better fate. But as bad as that terrible event was for America, the reaction that followed the fear, anger and paranoia that enveloped America, fueled by the Bush administration, worsened the situation. The invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq were a grievous, costly miscalculation.
On Nov. 1, 2004, CNN reported that "the Arabic-language network Al-Jazeera released a full transcript of a videotape from Osama Bin Laden in which he said his group's goal was to force America into bankruptcy." Al-Jazeera aired portions of the videotape including these two noteworthy comments; "We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy." And the most telling statement by al Qaeda was that it has found it "easy for us to provoke and bait this administration."
In the videotape Osama also said, "The mujahedeen fighters bled the Soviet Union to the point of bankruptcy in the 1980's, until it was forced to leave in defeat, by using guerilla warfare and the war of attrition to fight the tyrannical superpowers." What that Afghan insurgency carried out against the Russians in the 1980's is the exact same thing that they are doing against the U.S. right now. The U.S. has fallen into the very same trap that snared the Russians.
Our government reacted exactly like this purveyor of evil intended. With George W. Bush and Dick Cheney in charge, there was not a doubt that they would fall into Osama's clever trap and react violently without thinking of the far-reaching consequences. That Bush and Cheney could have been so easily provoked and baited is not news; that's what you would expect from them. But what many millions of Americans did not expect, thereafter, was our new president, Barack Obama, to recklessly follow the Bush/Cheney strategies, and even escalate and widen the Afghan War thereby making Bin Laden's plan to bankrupt America even more achievable.
With President Obama continuing to stay the course and escalating the war, many more troops and Afghan civilians will die, we will spend untold billions more and the Taliban will recruit hundreds more new insurgents to fight those who occupy their country. Does this appear to be rational, in-depth thinking?
Here is what I think our president must do and do it very soon. He must free himself from the iron vice grip of the Pentagon and the military establishment and, at the risk of offending any element in America, take immediate steps to totally wind down our two wars and occupations; no delays, no vacillations, no thousands of troops left to maintain a permanent presence.
Defense Secretary Gates and General Patraeus must be given an ultimatum; either go along with a new plan to exit both those countries in an orderly set schedule or resign their posts. America can no longer be driven toward financial collapse because out military establishment is allowed to call the shots and do what they do best conduct costly wars. We can no longer allow the military to determine the destiny of America.
Many authors and observers of our current downward economic spiral have clearly shown how our emphasis on the military at the expense of our domestic needs is sucking the wealth out of America. Does Mr. Obama not see, does he not comprehend that these wars and this bloated military empire represent the major cause of our deteriorating economy and are directly inhibiting our ability to restore it?
President Obama came into office with monumental problems facing America and he had an unprecedented opportunity to achieve greatness by confronting and solving them through intelligent, rational logic and strategies. Forget about the Republican opposition and filibusters, I'm talking about the insanity of war. Anyone with a gigantic war machine can start a war but it takes courage and wisdom to know how to end one.
America has arrived at, unquestionably, the most critical time in its history. And the most critical issue that will determine the future fate of our nation can be found in just one word WAR. Here are the two choices we have: if our government continues to wage these senseless wars and the president and the Congress continue to allow the Pentagon to spend over $1 trillion annually for the so-called "defense of America", then there is no future for America. The current downward spiral will continue and escalate until the wealth of America is no more.