Charles Rehn - Democrat for President 2004

A Conversation With America
Questions That Must Be Answered
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Homeland Security & the War on Terror


I think my basic thoughts on this issue will be quite simple and definitive, but I will provide some discussion.

On Homeland Security:

In my view, when the nation is under attack, there is no greater priority than doing everything humanly possible to be sure that our homeland is protected, that security and police and first responders have what they need, that borders are secure and that visitors in this country were accounted for.

If there is any rule of conflict, it is to be sure you find and maintain defensible ground. And then you defend it.

I would give this top priority and would be willing to create  a deficit toward accomplishing this task as a national effort, instead of leaving the states to deal with the often extreme economic burdens created and budgets that become deficits, causing a disruption or reduction in services and benefits at the state levels. It only makes sense to prevent harm to the functioning economy,  which can repay the deficit if it is healthy.

However, such is not the case.

Finally, I would inform the American people of the real dangers and the steps they can take to protect themselves, as well as their communities, and have a candid discussion about how terrorism is most certainly possible, but not as widespread or imminent as the constant announcements may make it seem, that keep you nervous about it.

Notice I did not say there is no threat, because there is. It's real, it needs to be respected and dealt with. But not politicized.

However, the small amount of progress that has been accomplished by the Bush Administration toward Homeland Security can only make you wonder if the threat is as big as they suggest, otherwise, one would think that our protection would have been a greater priority.

The War on Terror

I absolutely agree that we need to aggressively pursue those who are planning attacks against our homeland and our interests. Regardless of their motivations and justifications, such attacks can not be tolerated.

However, we must also be honest about the repercussions of a preventitive strike strategy. This, particularly because of our invasion in Iraq.

If you read the newspapers in South East Asia or Malaysia or in the Middle East, you'd find that the people there, the Muslims, are very afraid of the United States and what appears to them as a possible holy war against all Islamists.

You may think that is irrational, nonetheless, that is the general impression they have.

In South East Asia, people there who are Muslim and, up until now pro-American, are beginning to show signs of siding with radical Islamists instead. Because they feel threatened.

Now, you may say it's good that they feel threatened, that it will prevent further attacks on us. But, remember, the second part of that is that it is causing people to side with our enemies.

If I was a Muslim in South East Asia, I would be looking at world events and the rhetoric of the Bush Administration, and I would be seeking ways to defend myself. One would only have to assume that the Bush Administration position is as simple as being willing to go to war against any group that will not lay down its arms.

You may believe that this is a good thing too, but consider this.

The way that the United States, the Bush Adminsitration, is repositioning troops, building new bases and asserting its dominance, if I was a foreign leader of any experience, I would have to assume that the United States is positioning itself for global domination under threat of military force.

You really should take a look at what's occurring. At this moment, we have troops operating in more than 130 countries. The strategy is actually quite brilliant. And, I suppose that if we're going to be waging war for the next 20 years, as has been suggested by a variety of Republican and Military spokespeople, then I suppose it would be useful to configure the military this way.

However, I would think that it deserves an open discussion. And that discussion would be about the direction of this nation, and what we the people desire, and the other elected officials think, and not left up to a few partisans who did not have the courage to disclose their military agenda - George Bush even stated that he did not believe in nation building - despite having adopted the military plan prior to the 2000 Presidential election.

Interestingly enough, under the heading "History Repeats Itself", what's occurring is very similar to the strategies and story lines of the empires of Alexander the Great.  There are some truly interesting parallels. And I won't even go into the Biblical implications at this juncture. And, no, that's not just my opinion.

To further complicate things, imagine the fears of the Arab nations regarding what they would typically call a "Zionist plot" as Pat Robertson and 21 other Fundamentalist Christian Organizations petitioned President Bush to restore Israel's geographical boundaries to those defined in the Davidic Covenant described in the Old Testament 4000 years ago. Not to mention Franklin Graham and his group rushing into Iraq to convert them to Christianity. But, that's another chapter.

Meanwhile, some of the same people met with South Korean colleagues to urge a peaceful resolution with North Korea in order to maintain peace, as well as open up ties with North Korea in order to convert the people to Christianity.

There seems to be a recurring theme to these things. But, like I said, that's another chapter.

I agree with the war on terror. However, I believe that our current policies are provocative, and they make the world, and many U.S. citizens,  wary of us. Potentially hostile. The world is not a safer place.

If George Bush says that the only thing to do with a radical Islamist is kill them - and then you take actions that provoke them and cause other people to join the radicals out of a fear of the need to defend themselves - and if you were a Muslim watching the chain reaction of events as more people were drawn into the conflict and killed - well, you just might see a pattern of provocation with a deadly intent under ambiguous circumstances that provide plausible justifiability.

I think it's time for a more transparent, bi-partisan process to provide a new look and overview of the strategies and resources being implemented, as well as assessing the negative impacts of our actions in provoking previously neutral parties to organize against us and our interests.


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