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The Neo-Crusaders

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The Neo-Crusaders

By Neal AbuNab

President George Bush is delivering one speech after the other selling the so-called successes of his war on terror and re-defining what he viewed as "the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century". For the next month he will be talking terror 24/7 and unveiling new initiatives on surveillance, detention, interrogation, spying and trials. But most people are more interested in the state of the economy as this issue had climbed back up to become the number one priority of the American people.

This is good news for the Democrats as most polls show that Americans favor their party to run the economy. But Bush's economy is closely tied to his war on terror as he had transformed America's economy in the past five years turning factory workers into security guards, air marshals and soldiers. America's peace-time industries especially car manufacturing suffered the greatest damage. Bush was in Michigan this week but he refused to meet with auto makers or entertain their needs. Motown's big three are limping along as their sales slump in a shrinking market.

The big economic boom is taking place where oil and defense industries are based mostly in the southwest of this nation. Michigan has one of the hardest hit economies and its recession is entering the sixth year. In Detroit, which was declared the poorest city in America along with Cleveland, teachers are on strike and lawlessness is rampant. It looks more like a land out of Africa or the Middle East, and it is hard to believe that it is part of the America that most white people want to protect from the Mexican "invasion."

But Bush has little concern for the millions of Americans who live in dire conditions of poverty and despair. He is obsessed with his crusade on terror. In his speech on August 31st he said: "this is a pivotal moment for the Middle East." I think it is also a pivotal moment for the United States of America. Unfunded government commitments stand at 48 trillion dollars, according to the government's General Accounting Office. There will be yearly budget deficits for as far as the eye can see. Bush who just turned 60 represents the generation of baby boomers who will be retiring by the millions in the next 10 years.

The biggest business in America will be in retirement homes and caring for the elderly. This is the single biggest threat to the national security of America. It is called the broken social security and healthcare systems. Where will the money come from to support the tens of millions of retirees?

That is not the concern of our short-sighted President who urged that "we should all agree that the battle for Iraq is central to the war on terror." Polls already show that most Americans do not see the war in Iraq as part of the overall war on terrorism. The Democrats submitted a letter to the President this week outlining a new strategy in Iraq to refocus the military's efforts and re-direct it against the self-professed enemy of America; namely Al-Qaida and Bin Laden.

As long as he remains in the White House, Bush is determined to push forward in his crusade against the "totalitarian ideology." The neo-conservative movement witnessed a sudden eclipse of glory because of the failed Iraqi adventure, but a handful of diehards are hanging on very stubbornly. I call these individuals the "Neo-Crusaders" and Donald Rumsfeld has emerged as their chief theoretician and high priest. That's why the Democrats are championing a no-confidence measure in the Congress to force the secretary of defense to resign. He offended his critics when he called them "appeasers of fascism."

Terrorism is a law enforcement issue if America's overall policy seeks peace in this troubled world. The Democrats want to re-direct funds to strengthen homeland security, local law enforcement agencies, and plug all the vulnerabilities especially at seaports and borders. But Bush stated very clearly that "we have ended the days when we treat terror as a simple law enforcement matter." His overall policy is one of waging a continuous war and he admitted that "the calm in the Middle East was like a mirage...years of pursuing stability failed to produce peace."

But peace is the inevitable destiny of mankind. Just take a look at the graveyards and see how peaceful they are. Maybe this is the type of peace that Bush has in mind for all of humanity. He has not said a single word about the Palestinian issue, which is seen by the rest of the world as central to ending the legitimate Arab and Muslim grievances that fuel disdain and hatred for America. Baghdad has become the center of Bush's universe while the rest of the world sees Jerusalem holding the key to terrorism or peace.

How convenient was it for the Neo-Crusaders when last weekend Al-Qaida's number two, Aiman Al-Zawahiri, released a video tape kicking off the election season and providing Bush with all the talking points to define the enemy and its twisted ideology. An American convert by the name of Adam Ghadan was the star of the movie. He offered Americans to convert to Islam which will put an end to his group's Jihad. Comedian Bill Maher was the first one to heed the call and he testified that "there is no God but one God and that Muhammad is his messenger." By definition he's become a Muslim and so he is now exempt from the wrath of Al-Qaida.

Most Americans who paid attention to Adam Ghadan were insulted and if they took him seriously they would instantly convert and become believers of the Bush doctrine. How convenient was the timely release of that video. Just like the Bin Laden video that was released three days before the Presidential elections of 2004. It swayed just enough votes to give Bush a second term. Maybe the Democrats should seek such a mutually benefiting relationship with states like North Korea or Iran. It just might break the unholy alliance of Al-Qaida with the Neo-Crusaders, and let them win an election for a change.
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Neal AbuNab is a Michigan-based author of "The War on Terror and Democracy"- available on He is a commentator on Arab and Muslim affairs and he can be reached at:
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