Sunday, April 11, 2010

War on Terror

The War on Terror is one of those topics that you don’t bring up at a dinner party unless you are either a) really hoping to leave with a potato shoved in your ear or b) absolutely sure that everyone present feels exactly the same way that you do regarding that conversation piece. To start with, what exactly does it mean to wage war on terror? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary “terror” is “a state of intense fear, one that inspires fear, or violent and destructive acts committed by groups in order to intimidate a population or a government”. Now how about we play a little game. Simply select the afore-stated definition for terror that sounds like it was added within the past ten years. Good pick. In case you were wondering, it was the last one.

When the Twin Towers were struck by commercial jets on September 11th 2001 the United States fell in to a state of panic. President George W. Bush rose to the occasion and greatly boosted the moral of Americans by declaring that the groups that dared to attack on American soil would soon be faced with American military force on middle- eastern turf. At first it sounded like a wonderful plan. How hard could it be to stomp out the pestilence of terrorist groups that did not have nearly the man power or the resources to equal those of the United States? Unfortunately that is the same thing that was thought when the United States became involved in Vietnam.

I do not want to be just another person who gets stuck on the similarities and differences between American involvement in Vietnam and American involvement in the middle-east. And there is certainly very little that I despise more than people who show disrespect to the soldiers who are serving our nation. There is more to this war than a few “I-told-you-so”s can fix. If we rapidly remove our troops from the middle-east then we risk loosing all of our influence there as well as creating the feeling that all of the men and women who died in the War on Terror have died in vain. If we allow the terrorist groups to have the taste of victory they are not likely to be content with just one glass. If the American super power gives in then a hole has been punched in the dam and the honor that the American name holds will begin to drain out.

But on the other hand is it worth countless more lives to protect the American name? Certainly not. In the end there would be no honor or glory for a country that sacrificed thousands of its sons and daughters in order to simply uphold an iron reputation. So there must be a better reason. Is an attempt to establish a democracy that the people may not ever be able to support on their own worth the blood of thousands of Americans? War is necessary and there is no safety for a nation that hides in a damaged fox hole but there is no sense in fighting a war that can not be won. The real question is whether or not there is even a solution to this problem. As far as I know, the best plan is to simply take that potato out of your ear and hand it back to your dinner friend along with the words “I am an American and you are an American and the best that we can do is pray and stand together”.

After all, a house that is divided against itself can not stand.


  1. Elizabeth,
    I agree ardently with your statement that the real problem is whether there is "even a solution to this problem." We were recently discussing whether or not people actually know what this war is because it seems like there isn't a real answer.
    Your response while handing back the potato to your dinner guest sounds like the best idea I've yet encountered while researching this topic and I think it describes accurately the stance that people should take during this time. Also I like your use of an allusion.

  2. Brittany Liebenow

    12 April 2010

    I completely agree with Elizabeth. Elizabeth does an excellent job of bringing an often neglected perspective on the war on terror to life. When the war on terror is usually discussed, it is discussed in terms of ending or continuing it. What Elizabeth does that is so unique, and effective, is approach the war on terror from a completely different angle. One of my favorite parts of her argument is when she lists the definition of terror and notes that the war on terror has influenced our country to the point of giving words new meaning. This is the base of a point that I wholeheartedly agree with: the war on terror has infiltrated not just our political but our social system.

    Keeping this fact in mind, Elizabeth then explains that we as a country are approaching the war from the wrong perspective. I have always agreed with the idea, although I fully support speaking out against the government, that to a certain extent Americans should support one another. This underlying support, in my opinion, helps further the advancement and prosperity of our country. Interestingly enough, that is exactly what Elizabeth explains we as a country should do about the war. Assuming there is not a solution to the war on terror right now, and at the moment Elizabeth and I do not see a very effective one, we should deal with the symptoms of the problem. We as a country should ban together and support each other until, as Elizabeth describes, we find a solution together. Those are the values that I live by and that Elizabeth has discussed in her entry. Essentially, I agree with her entire post.