by Yvonne R. Davis
Exclusive for Al Waref
"The 'war on terror' has had a pernicious impact on American democracy, on America's psyche and on U.S. standing in the world." --Zbigniew Brzezinski
Republican Clerics are at it again. This time they are really mad about the Obama Administration ditching the oxy moronic "War on Terror, Global War on Terrorism" terminology to describe the United States' efforts to protect the "Homeland" to fight terrorism around the world.
How can the United States have a war on tactics used in warfare? There are over 100 definitions for the word "Terrorism." The multiplicity of the definitions indicates there is a problem with properly defining what terrorism actually is; thus to have a war on it is problematic.
United States International law defines Terrorism as, "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents." A possible reason why the Obama Administration stopped using the "War on Terror" or "Global War on Terrorism" is the complexity and difficulty to realize the efforts to stop terrorism by way of a war. Additionally, the terminology is just extremely alienating in nature connoting "us against them," which is a notion terrorists embrace by the way. This term frankly is the code for Arabs and Muslims and if you are the average and even not so average American in the United States this is what you think, perceive and for many believe.
In 2005, then Joints Chief of Staff Chairman Richard Meyers, announced that there was not actually any "War on Terror:" ' He told a National Press Club audience that he had "objected to the use of the term 'war on terrorism' before, because if you call it a war, then you think of people in uniform as being the solution." Additionally, if it is a war in the traditional sense there is supposed to be an end in site. For a "War on Terror," there is no end, there are no land masses or boundaries, the enemies are many and can be anyone that fits the U.S. definition at any time.
The problem with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano referring to the "War on Terrorism" as now "Man Caused Disasters" (MCDs) is because her term is also quite vague and without form, substance and not macho enough. For Americans to not use the "War on Terror,"does not sound hard-core. MCDs do not contain Testosterone. It does not carry the "Don't' Mess with the U.S." cache that Americans like to feel when their Patriotic ire is up. The term "War on Terror," that became a part of Bush 43's mantra actually helped most Americans from a psychological perspective not feel so fearful, because our military was now going kick Terrorism in the a_ _, kill it and end it once and for all. But the problem is, we didn't. We beat it back, killed a number of persons involved in terrorist acts, but former "Muhuji Freedom Fighter" turned Public Enemy numero uno Terrorist enemy Osama Bin Laden has not been killed yet. Also, he is not the only one out there. President Obama knows for sure this can't be done alone and the continued efforts to fight it into eternity can't be done by the United States lone star style.
When U.S. Presidents declare wars on things such as poverty by Lyndon B. Johnson and drugs by Ronald Reagan, it serves more as a giant social marketing campaign tool to get people to believe something is being done about a problem that has spun way out of control. From that standpoint it works. U.S. leadership is proving to its people there are plans being implemented to annihilate what and who is hurting our Nation.
However, these wars are invisible, and also served to cement terrible stereotypical perceptions about who the enemies are. In the 1960s, Johnson's 'War on Poverty' was declared at the same time as Civil Right Legislation was passed. The biggest beneficiaries of the legislation were African Americans, but an out growth of this war was labeling poor black folks from the Ghetto as pitiful, lazy and needing handouts. A number of people from the majority viewed them as the enemies to economic progress.
The rise of racial profiling and Blacks being labeled as drug dealing thugs and criminals was another stereotypical outcome by Reagan's 80's 'War on Drugs.' Racial Profiling flourished. The enemy was a young black man walking alone or in small groups.
The sad thing about both domestic wars is to this day, the United States are losing both wars - poverty is up in nearly every demographic and South of the Border there is a country called Mexico where the drug Cartels's biggest client are U.S. Citizens from all races.
I strongly believe President Obama knows the United States has been losing these wars and also knows the terrible impact these wars have had on a group of people when they are labeled and targeted. He just does not want to continue down that road when it comes to terrorism. It is way too risky.
I give credit to Obama 44 and his very cerebral administration for having a holistic understanding that to end anything harmful to American citizens and the world such as terrorism, it is a "Contingency Operation," that is situational, strategically multifaceted and inclusive of other nations to achieve the objectives towards either ending terrorism or getting it under control.
So What If Obama Bowed? HALAS!
Okay so what if President Obama bowed to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah at the G-20 Summit? Showing respect for the Elder King's position does NOT in any way mean the apocalyptic messages Republican Clerics are screaming over the air waves -- the U.S. is going to turn Muslim and Christianity is going to get thrown out of an ancient Uzbek tower and smash on the ground because of the so-called Obama genuflect.
It is so wildly crazy to see all of this talky talk about President Obama on this silly issue. On Fox News you see the veins popping out of the foreheads and necks of their squawkers. On MSNBC, their conservative guests' faces turn real red (Not Pat Buchanan, he is always very cool and does not get caught up in the petty stuff), with their venomous punditry.
The Right's charge in the blogosphere that the President is a secret Muslim (since he also said his full name -- Barack Hussein Obama -- aloud twice overseas and also in the "Muslim" country of Turkey), is being sung like an Ozzy Osbourne record played backwards. They shriek we are "less safe" because he has opened the clinched fist the United States had to the Arab and Muslim world since 9/11, 2001.
Effective leadership is not driven by authority proving power, but in graciousness and humility allowing others to experience the true power of a leader. President Obama's recalibration of America's respect for our European Allies and their leadership with -- yes -- the leadership of King Abdullah shows a higher level gentleman style Diplomacy that has not been seen in this way by any President. You may argue that Presidents Clinton, Reagan and Kennedy showed style and grace and I will agree -- they looked the part, spoke eloquently and were well received by our allies -- but Obama's approach is completely different and out of the box, and again this type of change scares conservatives. Hegemony was the way Americans grew accustomed to. However, abuse of this Leviathan style domination hurt us on so many fronts that it must be deconstructed to meet a new form of influence and command that is mutually inclusive as we lead.
Do you remember when the U.S. was the Great Empire and President Bush went to the last G-20 Summit with our allies and how they dissed him by not even looking at him or shaking his hand? President Bush was also snubbed at the NATO Summit last April. It was embarrassing for President Bush and our Nation because we had made serious missteps towards being emotionally and culturally intelligent about our allies. Finally, to end 2008, a pair of shoes being chucked at our former President was equally disheartening. This is nothing even for the liberal left to laugh at (but they unfortunately did), and celebrate when a President of the United States is reduced to a kid playing dodge ball at recess.
The President is speaking a language of acceptance and outreach that is quite sincere. Of course President Obama has an agenda attached to his efforts, but there is more of a willingness to accept or consider what his agenda is for America and the rest of the world if he offers his right hand of fellowship first.
President Obama is walking down a very divided and rocky road to establish his legacy as the Balancer in Chief between nations and polities that are dangerous, unstable and at each other's throat.
Now because he hosted Passover Seder (which by the way he also hosted during the campaign last April), there will be some extremists again coming from the Right who will say he is a secret Jew or perhaps even a Secret Muslim Jew? Is that really possible? And of course after he and his family attend church on Easter Sunday, some from the Right again will analyze this and accuse him of going to church to worship himself because after all, he is -- as Glenn Beck all but indicates -- the Anti-Christ Benito Mussolini Fascist. He can't possibly have a spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ. He is Pro-choice and supports Gay Rights! Wow, this is so bizarre!
You know the truth is Republican Clerics who are borderline xenophobic are working very hard in front of and behind the scenes to paint President Obama as someone who is weak without grit and Un P (atriotic). Calling him a "Foreigner or AyyRab Lover," they are screeching out domino and post ad hoc conclusions hoping that he will put on a thobe, tagiyah, ghutra, and agal (Arab male garb) to prove their point. Their political rhetoric is psychotic. Americans must be awake and allow our President to focus on a higher path towards authentic and noble leadership in the free world without this shrill and stupid discourse.