Some say that US policy inspires terrorists around the world. I disagree. All people desire freedom, prosperity, and opportunity. What they don’t want is apparent western materialism, secularism, and immorality; especially as depicted by American media. American media gives dictators, tyrants, and terrorist ammunition. Their most powerful aurgument against democracy is “Do you want your daughters to become Brittany Spears?” This is the major reason the US is called "the Great Satan."
The majority of people in Iraq, Iran and North Korea are good and honorable people with a natural sense of nationalism and love for their family, friends and neighbors. Most people from Iran or Iraq condem the actions of terrorist groups but either feel powerless to do anything about it or may even feel that the US deserves it, not necessarily because of our policies, but because they feel its the judgements of God on a wicked nation. Self-interested US policy and divisive, inflammatory language do not help. However, saying it is the root cause of terrorism is near-sighted and playing party politics.
The secret to fighting the war on terrorism is to win the hearts of the people. We have to unify all good people against those who would practice terrorism. I agree our political leaders should avoid policies and language which is inflammatory and divisive. We also must understand the nature of the conflict. This war is not a conflict of civilizations, it is a battle against civilization. Therefore we must be an example of a more civilized people.With the good people of the earth unified on the side of civilization, when terrorist plots are formulated, people will choose to warn the innocent victims instead of standing idlely by; feeling that justice is being served. There is no better motivation than appealing to a persons sense of rightness verses injustice.
The Bible teaches that we must first "remove the beam in our own eye." However, while actively participating in the political process; we should also be careful to "not speak evil of the ruler(s) of thy people" (Acts 23:3) and to not "steady the ark" (2 Sam. 6:6) (1Chr 13:9-10) (D&C 85:8). I find it troubling that many are so quick to call our elected leaders liars, cheats, robbers, and murderers while defending the actions of proven tyrants. Some of Bush's critics are guity of making similar remarks to those of Hugo Chavez. The Bible gives rules about proper speech despite our countries reverence towards freedom of speech
I feel the media has misinformed us as to why we are involved in this conflict in Iraq. The story starts with the cold war and our decision to "trust" in a military buildup against the former Soviet Union and to support pro-western 3rd-world governments (read Pres. Kimball’s, “The False Gods We Worship”). Iran was always pro-Soviet while Saddam Hussein rose to power with a pretend pro-western ideology.
Through our military buildup, the west successfully decapitated the dragon. But as John foretells in Revelations, the wounded Hydra heals itself and spons new heads. Many conflicts, which were temporarily stabilized during the cold war, destabilized again after. Ancient conflicts in the Balkans, Iraq, Somalia, and Sudan re-erupted dashing any hopes of the expected post-cold war peace dividend.
During Gulf War I, Colin Powell called off the "March to Baghdad" because Saddam was a necessary evil to maintain stability in the Middle East. Although, a cease-fire was declared in Iraq, there was no official end to Gulf War I. After the cease-fire, Saddam attacked the Kurds and Shiites, which necessitated the formation of the Northern and Southern no-fly zones and continued US military presence in Iraq. Many Iraqi’s came to the US with stories of Saddam’s plans to obtain nuclear weapons to add to his existing arsenal of biological and chemical weapons. The UN sent inspectors to account for fermentors, centrifuges and other specialized equipment sold to Iraq by the US and Europe used in WMD production. The UN inspectors’ efforts were frustrated at every turn.
The UN threatened Iraq to cooperate with UNSCOM and disclose all WMD activity or face military action and regime change. A large majority of both Reps. and Dems. were convinced Iraq was a threat to world security. Since then, the war has been been politicized and there have been several misrepresentations propagated by the media.
1. The war was pre-emptive. The US was enforcing international law and the consequences set forth by UN Resolution 1441.
2. Pres. Bush declared war without legislative approval. Pres. Bush didn’t need another declaration of war because there had never been a truce signed after Gulf War I. Bush could act against Iraq under authority of the original declaration of war.
3. The US acted without worldwide support. It has recently been discovered that France, Germany, and Russia, the very countries who undermined the US’s attempts to gain UN approval to enforce UN resolution 1441, had been violating the “Oil for Food Program.” These countries were not only violating UN sanctions but also were constructing underground labs and headquarters in Iraq to evade US surveillance abilities. So, it turns out France, Germany, and Russia were the ones after Iraqi oil and not Bush.
4. The US thought Saddam was connected to 911. The Bush administration has never made this claim. What they said was that in a post-911 world, we cannot allow brutal regimes, like Iraq, to maintain power while threatening the West with WMD’s. The fact that no significant WMD’s have been found is inconsequential. Iraq was a brutal, corrupt regime, they threatened the West with WMD’s, they violated international law, and the US enforced international law. Bush was criticized for not pre-emptively dealing with Bin Ladin, he would have been even more criticized for not dealing with Iraq had they made good on their threats. This is what Bush means when he says we live in a “post-911 world.” He is not saying Saddam had anything to do with 911.
5. The US is responsible for the civil war in Iraq. The Kurds, Suni’s and Shiites have been at war for hundreds of years magnified by the fact that many middle-east countries are emptying their prisons by giving inmates one-way tickets to Iraq to fight the Americans (According to my Egyptian neighbor). The Book of Mormon warns nations who allow secret combinations to overrun their country. I hope the violence ends soon.
6. The US should have addressed Iran and North Korea before Iraq. The US addressed Iraq first because we already had a declaration of war, military on the ground, UN resolutions, and failed diplomacy. Also, a free Iraq would be strategically important in dealing with Iran. The US has not exhausted all diplomatic avenues with North Korea. The US still hopes pressure from China and UN sanctions will work with North Korea.
7. There has been no progress in Iraq. All my military friends I talk to tell me that there is a lot of progress going on in Iraq. Not to mention the successful elections of a Prime Minister, Parliament, and ratification of the Iraqi Constitution.
8. The US is a more dangerous place since the Iraq war. There hasn’t been an attack on American soil since the re-start of the war. The frontline of the war on terror is currently in Iraq. Terrorists are organizing themselves and fighting us in Iraq. I would rather the frontline be on neutral ground than fighting the insurgents in the US on on their turf.
9. The terrorists would leave us alone if we leave Iraq. The terrorists have declared war on us. They will be anywhere we are. If we are in the Balkans, they will fight us in the Balkans. If we are in Somalia, they will fight us in Somalia. We happen to be in Iraq trying to establish a representative democracy in the heart of the Middle East and so that is where the terrorist are.