• Guest, The rules for the P & N subforum have been updated to prohibit "ad hominem" or personal attacks against other posters. See the full details in the post "Politics and News Rules & Guidelines."

WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT TERRORISM? By Dr. Robert M. Bowman, Lt. Col., USAF, ret.*

bauerbrazil

Senior member
Mar 21, 2000
359
0
0
A letter for Bush sent by Robert Bowman...


A FEW YEARS AGO, terrorists destroyed two U.S. embassies. President Clinton retaliated against suspected facilities of Osama bin Laden. In his television address, the President told the American people that we were the targets of terrorism because we stood for democracy, freedom, and human rights in the world.

On that occasion, I wrote: "Tell people the truth, Mr. President ... about terrorism, not about poor Monica. If your lies about terrorism go unchallenged, then the terror war you have unleashed will likely continue until it destroys us.

"The threat of nuclear terrorism is closing in upon us. Chemical terrorism is at hand, and biological terrorism is a future danger. None of our thousands of nuclear weapons can protect us from these threats. These idols of plutonium, titanium, and steel are impotent. Our worship of them for over five decades has not brought us security, only greater danger. No 'Star Wars' system ... no matter how technically advanced, no matter how many trillions of dollars was poured into it ... can protect us from even a single terrorist bomb. Not one weapon in our vast arsenal can shield us from a nuclear weapon delivered in a sailboat or a Piper Cub or a suitcase or a Ryder rental truck. Not a penny of the 273 billion dollars a year we spend on so-called defense can actually defend us against a terrorist bomb. Nothing in our enormous military establishment can actually give us one whit of security. That is a military fact.

"Mr. President, you did not tell the American people the truth about why we are the targets of terrorism. You said that we are the target because we stand for democracy, freedom, and human rights in the world. Baloney! We are the target of terrorists because we stand for dictatorship, bondage, and human exploitation in the world. We are the target of terrorists because we are hated. And we are hated because our government has done hateful things.

"In how many countries have we deposed popularly elected leaders and replaced them with puppet military dictators who were willing to sell out their own people to American multinational corporations?

"We did it in Iran when we deposed Mossadegh because he wanted to nationalize the oil industry. We replaced him with the Shah, and trained, armed, and paid his hated Savak national guard, which enslaved and brutalized the people of Iran. All to protect the financial interests of our oil companies. Is it any wonder there are people in Iran who hate us?

"We did it in Chile when we deposed Allende, democratically elected by the people to introduce socialism. We replaced him with the brutal right-wing military dictator, General Pinochet. Chile has still not recovered.

"We did it in Vietnam when we thwarted democratic elections in the South which would have united the country under Ho Chi Minh. We replaced him with a series of ineffectual puppet crooks who invited us to come in and slaughter their people - and we did. (I flew 101 combat missions in that war which you properly opposed.)

"We did it in Iraq, where we killed a quarter of a million civilians in a failed attempt to topple Saddam Hussein, and where we have killed a million since then with our sanctions. About half of these innocent victims have been children under the age of five.

"And, of course, how many times have we done it in Nicaragua and all the other banana republics of Latin America? Time after time we have ousted popular leaders who wanted the riches of the land to be shared by the people who worked it. We replaced them with murderous tyrants who would sell out and control their own people so that the wealth of the land could be taken out by Domino Sugar, the United Fruit Company, Folgers, and Chiquita Banana.

"In country after country, our government has thwarted democracy, stifled freedom, and trampled human rights. That's why we are hated around the world. And that's why we are the target of terrorists.

"People in Canada enjoy better democracy, more freedom, and greater human rights than we do. So do the people of Norway and Sweden. Have you heard of Canadian embassies being bombed? Or Norwegian embassies? Or Swedish embassies. No.

"We are not hated because we practice democracy, freedom, and human rights. We are hated because our government denies these things to people in third world countries whose resources are coveted by our multinational corporations. And that hatred we have sown has come back to haunt us in the form of terrorism - and in the future, nuclear terrorism.

"Once the truth about why the threat exists is understood, the solution becomes obvious. We must change our government's ways.

"Instead of sending our sons and daughters around the world to kill Arabs so the oil companies can sell the oil under their sand, we must send them to rebuild their infrastructure, supply clean water, and feed starving children.

"Instead of continuing to kill thousands of Iraqi children every day with our sanctions, we must help them rebuild their electric powerplants, their water treatment facilities, their hospitals - all the things we destroyed in our war against them and prevented them from rebuilding with our sanctions.

"Instead of seeking to be king of the hill, we must become a responsible member of the family of nations. Instead of stationing hundreds of thousands of troops around the world to protect the financial interests of our multinational corporations, we must bring them home and expand the Peace Corps.

"Instead of training terrorists and death squads in the techniques of torture and assassination, we must close the School of the Americas (no matter what name they use). Instead of supporting military dictatorships, we must support true democracy - the right of the people to choose their own leaders. Instead of supporting insurrection, destabilization, assassination, and terror around the world, we must abolish the CIA and give the money to relief agencies.

"In short, we do good instead of evil. We become the good guys, once again. The threat of terrorism would vanish. That is the truth, Mr. President. That is what the American people need to hear. We are good people. We only need to be told the truth and given the vision. You can do it, Mr. President. Stop the killing. Stop the justifying. Stop the retaliating. Put people first. Tell them the truth."

Needless to say, he didn't ... and neither has George W. Bush. Well, the seeds our policies have planted have borne their bitter fruit. The World Trade Center is gone. The Pentagon is damaged. And thousands of Americans have died. Almost every TV pundit is crying for massive military retaliation against whoever might have done it (assumedly the same Osama bin Laden) and against whoever harbors or aids the terrorists (most notably the Taliban government of Afghanistan). Steve Dunleavy of the New York Post screams "Kill the bastards! Train assassins, hire mercenaries, put a couple of million bucks up for bounty hunters to get them dead or alive, preferably dead. As for cities or countries that host these worms, bomb them into basketball courts." It's tempting to agree. I have no sympathy for the psychopaths that killed thousands of our people. There is no excuse for such acts. If I was recalled to active duty, I would go in a heartbeat. At the same time, all my military experience and knowledge tells me that retaliation hasn't rid us of the problem in the past, and won't this time.

By far the world's best anti-terrorist apparatus is Israel's. Measured in military terms, it has been phenomenally successful. Yet Israel still suffers more attacks than all other nations combined. If retaliation worked, Israelis would be the world's most secure people.

Only one thing has ever ended a terrorist campaign -- denying the terrorist organization the support of the larger community it represents. And the only way to do that is to listen to and alleviate the legitimate grievances of the people. If indeed Osama bin Laden was behind the four hijackings and subsequent carnage, that means addressing the concerns of the Arabs and Muslims in general and of the Palestinians in particular. It does NOT mean abandoning Israel. But it may very well mean withdrawing financial and military support until they abandon the settlements in occupied territory and return to 1967 borders. It may also mean allowing Arab countries to have leaders of their own choosing, not hand-picked, CIA-installed dictators willing to cooperate with Western oil companies.

Chester Gillings has said it very well: "How do we fight back against bin Laden? The first thing we must ask ourselves is what is it we hope to achieve -- security or revenge? The two are mutually exclusive; seek revenge and we WILL reduce our security. If it is security we seek, then we must begin to answer the tough questions -- what are the grievances of the Palestinians and the Arab world against the United States, and what is our real culpability for those grievances? Where we find legitimate culpability, we must be prepared to cure the grievance wherever possible. Where we cannot find culpability or a cure, we must communicate honestly our positions directly to the Arab people. In short, our best course of action is to remove ourselves as a combatant in the disputes of the region."

To kill bin Laden now would be to make him an eternal martyr. Thousands would rise up to take his place. In another year, we would face another round of terrorism, probably much worse even than this one. Yet there is another way.

In the short term, we must protect ourselves from those who already hate us. This means increased security and better intelligence. I proposed to members of Congress in March that we should deny any funds for "Star Wars" until such time as the Executive Branch could show that they are doing all possible research on the detection and interception of weapons of mass destruction entering the country clandestinely (a far greater threat than ballistic missiles). There are lots of steps which can be taken to increase security without detracting from civil rights. But in the long term, we must change our policies to stop causing the fear and hatred which creates new terrorists. Becoming independent of foreign oil through conservation, energy efficiency, production of energy from renewable sources, and a transition to non-polluting transportation will allow us to adopt a more rational policy toward the Middle East.

The vast majority of Arabs and Muslims are good, peaceful people. But enough of them, in their desperation and anger and fear, have turned first to Arafat and now to bin Laden to relieve their misery. Remove the desperation, give them some hope, and support for terrorism will evaporate. At that point bin Laden will be forced to abandon terrorism (as has Arafat) or be treated like a common criminal. Either way, he and his money cease to be a threat. We CAN have security...or we can have revenge. We cannot have both.

============================

*Dr. Robert M. Bowman directed all the "Star Wars" programs under presidents Ford and Carter and flew 101 combat missions in Vietnam. His Ph.D. is in Aeronautics and Nuclear Engineering from Caltech. He is President of the Institute for Space and Security Studies and Presiding Archbishop of the United Catholic Church. Dr. Bowman can be reached at RobertBowman@MiddleEast.Org.

Link...
 

bizmark

Banned
Feb 4, 2002
2,311
0
0
well, it is pretty long. Most people here don't have that kind of patience. It was a good read though, I agree with most of what he writes.
 

CaptainGoodnight

Golden Member
Oct 13, 2000
1,408
15
81
So wait, these terrorists hate us because they claim we do the same things they do?

Edit: plus most of what he claims does not and did not effect the lives of the terrorists.
 

SgtBuddy

Senior member
Jun 2, 2001
597
0
0
I agree with some but, with most of these types of editorials, it seemed too one-sided. A couple lines hit too hard to make it a totally serious letter. You can't smack the Pres and expect him to take action on your side. You only send him in the opposing direction.

Bombing to oblivion? No thanks. I would rather see us go into Iraq peacefully and make sure it leadership knows that any types of invasion of its neighbors is a bad thing. Terrorism is a bad thing. See...if you don't do bad things, the USA gives you money and steps off your turf.

I look a Germany today. 70 years ago it was run by some pretty bad guys. They got their forehead kicked in and rebuilt to be a pretty decent world community. We just need to get these fanatics out. Bombing the USA will do nothing for your cause. It will only give us the strength to kick your forehead again...and again...and again...and you know what? I am getting tired of kicking.

Would Saddam agree (sic) to allowing the UN inspectors in to see he is not trying to [evil]take over the world[/evil]?


 

Mystified

Junior Member
Sep 11, 2002
6
0
0
There are a few things about that article that bother me im not going to go into it because i have better things to do then pick apart his editorial but bush had nothing to do with monica that makes me question anything he wrote and besides a lot of what he has written is EVERYTHING bad we've done through history im surprised he didn't add in the whole then you started a revolt in panama......
 

Czar

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
28,510
0
0
great read, curing the disease is the only way of removing the symptoms, scratching it only makes it worse
 

Tominator

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
9,559
1
0
What a loon! Little in the way of facts and proof that even in the military there are liberals who try and rewrite history to fit their beliefs and not the other way around.
 

da loser

Platinum Member
Oct 9, 1999
2,037
0
0
so what he's saying we should do what exactly? oust middle east leaders, hold free elections, and give unlimited economic aid so that these people, who are unwilling to oust their leaders that we imposed, can join in our success? hmmm....sounds suspiciously just like what we're doing in afghanistan. But oh wait, their local leaders don't want to give up their own power. I say give afghanistan a couple of more years, then get out and let them sort out their own. My bet: islamic fundamentalist come in again and terrorize the place. Why? because we left so the next in line with power is them. Who would you rather have in power us or them? How come you never hear of those people opposing the dictator's will, say an uprising or terrorist acts against the government? Plus other nations will swoop in to gain economic deals.

Now lets look what sweden and norway have done, uh not much comparatively. Where is shell oil located?

what does he want to do about iraq? go in there and build power plants, sure lets just walk in and supply it. if the sanctions do one thing, its make others decide whether we should give supplies with/out saddam in place. the us thinks without, while these others nations think with. when did we kill quarter of a million civilians in an effort to topple saddam, when have we, meaning our military, tried to topple saddam?

his idea is true, we screwed up trying to look for quick stability by just placing power at the top with dictatorships. That quick stability was for the Cold War, which must be viewed as such, something i think this article fails to take into account. Now, we must not seek stablity again, but somehow empowering these "poor" people to choose their own destiny. Seems like what we did in Japan and Germany worked, lets do the same. what allowed these countries to succeed while others have failed?

Why don't you guys write something about one of these past examples that has been so horrific, such as iran. Write how you would do differently, keeping in mind your are the US and then roleplay the USSR. see who wins that battle.
 

Czar

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
28,510
0
0
. Seems like what we did in Japan and Germany worked, lets do the same. what allowed these countries to succeed while others have failed?
The Marshall Plan
 

tcsenter

Lifer
Sep 7, 2001
17,845
20
81
where are all the RWPs*?
Ok, I'll take a whack...

Looks as though Lt. Col. Bowman is having trouble carrying the burdens of a soldier now that his age dictates that he muster an inventory of his life.

Its not uncommon. People join the military for all sorts of reason, many of them never think they will really go into combat or be called upon to do the terrible things that a soldier is asked to do. Still others think they're prepared for war, gung-ho to see some action, but they always get far more than they ever bargained for.

You grow older, and the demons of your past won't let you alone. If you've got a spine, you take it on the chin, but you stand tall and face it, because if you don't, it will tear you inside out. That is the soldier's burden. If you have no spine, you lash out at others, attempting to project blame onto them, in a futile attempt to regain your lost innocence.

So Lt. Col. Bowman has rationalized that his lost innocence is the fault of US policy makers, they sent him to those places and asked him to do those terrible things, and tries to place his burdens squarely on their shoulders instead of carrying them like every other soldier has to. Bahhh

What is so interesting is Bowman's highly selective concern for the people in those countries he accuses the US of brutalizing. For instance, he spares no concern at all for the thousands of South Vietnamese who most certainly would have been murdered, thousands more imprisoned, and millions ruled-over with an iron fist, by a notoriously brutal communist regime had we simply allowed corrupt and Communist controlled elections in South Vietnam 'unite the country under Ho Chi Minh'. He gives not an iota of recognition that the US cause in Vietnam may have been honorable and justified to prevent the murderous and disasterous scurge of Soviet collectivism.

IOW, Bowman thinks that thousands murdered and imprisoned in the name of communism would have been 'A-OK', but to kill fighting communism, well now that get his feathers in a bunch. It seems that Bowman isn't so opposed to murderous dictatorships as much as he has discovered that some murderous dictatorships are more suitable to him than others.

Apparently, Bowman spent far too long on liberal campuses in his post-Vietnam days, the deluded leftist fantasy that communism is a benevolent ideology, putting the likes of Stalin and Ho Chi Minh as mere misunderstood benevelont masters, seems to have seaped into his brain like raw sewage.

I've got to hand it to leftists, though. They have certainly had a fair amount of success in pulling the Big Lie over on the American public, we forget the brutality and oppression that was the hallmark of Soviet Collectivism.

Which is of course what we were trying to prevent as well in Latin America. Again, Bowman grants 'favored murderous dictatorship' status to communism over those he accuses the United States (often with the help of many allies) of inserting. Oh my.

Apparently, we were supposed to sit back and do nothing when Mossedegh threatened to "nationalize the oil industry", the vast majority of which was developed and paid for by Great Britain, and to a lesser extent, the United States. Yes, we helped depose Mossedegh, a masterful populist and fervent nationalist whose support was waining, at the pleading of Great Britain which was too chicken sh-t to do its own dirty work. Britain seems to always escape mention when fingers are pointed though it was primarily British interests at stake and British Intelligence was a major contributor to the CIA's coup.

And the French, those arrogant bastards who still don't know what soap is, they have a lot of f-cking nerve castigating the United States over its policies considering its own covert and manipulative efforts to influence the flow of oil in its favor. Those uppity f-ckers have as many skeletons in their closet as the next guy. I submit the French aren't as principled as they puport to be, they are simply bitter that we snubbed their efforts to gain influence in the region. But, I digress...

Yes we propped up the West-friendly Shah, because Iran's oil industry was not Mossedegh's to do with as he pleased. It would be like Mexico "nationalizing" its industries and taking full control of US companies who have invested billions there. We had a legitimate interest in preventing the Soviet Union, who was our sworn enemy, from gaining the upper hand in what was then the major oil producing country in the Middle East by wooing powder-keg nationalist or communist movements, whom we know the Russians were covertly supporting, and using this advantage to our detriment.

Either the Russians were going to prop up their government, murder and imprison anti-communist factions, and plot against the West, or the West was going to prop up its government, murder and imprison communist factions, and plot against Communism. Bowman, again, seems to have selectively chosen his 'favored murderous dicatorship'.

I owe you a debt of gratitude for your years of military service and sacrifice, Lt. Col. Bowman, but beyond that, piss off.
 

sandorski

No Lifer
Oct 10, 1999
66,617
2,278
126
Originally posted by: Mystified
There are a few things about that article that bother me im not going to go into it because i have better things to do then pick apart his editorial but bush had nothing to do with monica that makes me question anything he wrote and besides a lot of what he has written is EVERYTHING bad we've done through history im surprised he didn't add in the whole then you started a revolt in panama......
Those were comments made to Bill Clinton.
 

sandorski

No Lifer
Oct 10, 1999
66,617
2,278
126
Originally posted by: Tominator
What a loon! Little in the way of facts and proof that even in the military there are liberals who try and rewrite history to fit their beliefs and not the other way around.
I'm still waiting for your reply(remember you had no time then) where you accused me of the same things(the rewriting of history yadda yadda ya part). You don't just have that bound to Alt-H (HELP!!!!!) do you? ;)
 

sandorski

No Lifer
Oct 10, 1999
66,617
2,278
126
tscenter: I'll hand it to you, that's an excellently crafted attempt at diverting the arguement away from his thoughts/ideas/opinion. :)

You went from the Lt., to the French, to Communists awesome work! :D

You do have one point though, the British really started the ball rolling in the mid East and deserve much of the blame for todays problems there.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY