United States Energized

Not less than six months ago, Osama bin Laden was the “World’s Most Wanted.” Despite the billions that have been spent on the search for the illusive bin Laden, so far, the only person capable of finding him was a “confused,” 21-year-old, American Taliban member from California awaiting trial in Virginia for treason. Strange, that bin Laden is now no longer “relevant,” according to the President, and Saddam Hussein is our biggest threat and number one priority in an expanded war on terrorism. Perhaps, with the 2002 elections coming up, some political operatives felt that it might be wise to switch the focus?

On talk shows and in major newspapers, pundits for a war against Iraq are busy selling the notion of an invasion to the American people. President Bush remains committed to ousting Saddam Hussein, despite the unwillingness of the Middle East to co-operate, the overwhelming distraction of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the fact that when the idea was first presented to the American people, it was given a cold reception.

The Bush mantra for ousting Hussein is, however, picking up momentum. The President reminds us time and again, “here’s a man that gassed his own people.” And now, according to a Wall Street Journal Poll, more than half of all American’s support invading Iraq. Of course, the President has not mentioned these gassings took place around 1988.

So, the question is, why is Bush just now pointing this out? In the early 1990s, the argument for fighting was Iraq’s invasion of oil-rich Kuwait, not the plight of the people Hussein gassed on the opposite border. Apparently, at that time, they did not own or produce anything the US wanted, or we would not have waited until the early 90s to retaliate.

Before we send Americans to die and create trillions of dollars in new debts we really need to look at the consequences. In another war with Iraq we should consider what it will really cost taxpayers and what it could mean for those eligible for the draft and those that will be required to signup for the Selective Service within the next few years. Last month in a press conference, the President assured the American people that “right now our volunteer army is in good shape. [If things change,] I will go to the American people.” September 11, 2001, proved that things can change in a matter of seconds.

Conservative findings indicate that a campaign against Iraq would require more than 200,000 troops. We already have approximately 40,000 troops throughout Asia. More troops are likely to be deployed to Afghanistan due to the assassination attempts on US friendly government officials in the area and the latest news that Al Queda troops are regrouping there. Also, more reserve troops have been called into service and are being deployed oversees because of the stresses our volunteer forces are beginning to experience.

In defining the “axis of evil,” Bush threatened not just Iraq but North Korea, China and four other nations with the possibility of a first strike nuclear war. The North Korean Prime Minister responded to Bush’s threats by saying that the leader of America was inciting a global arms race and that North Korea would begin developing weapons to defend itself against the US. He also urged those other nations included in Bush’s threats to do the same. Just before President Clinton left office, North Korea was ready to suspend the manufacturing of “weapons of mass destruction” and sign onto an anti-ballistic-missile treaty.

If every country on the Bush “hit-list” decided to retaliate, the volunteer forces of the US would be in dire straits, and in no time, as the President puts it, he would have to “go to the American people” and the draft would be reinstated. Fighting for freedom is one thing, but fighting because of a dependence on foreign oil, is it really worth it?

What happened to American dreams and ingenuity? What happened to our ability to adapt to an ever-changing world through capitalism? In the past, when presented with challenges, we have risen to meet them head on and gained new technologies in the process. Becoming “the greatest nation in the world” did not happen because we depended on another nation, but because of our fierce independence and spirit of entrepreneurship.

The energy problem America faces should be approached with newer solutions and not the same old war mentality that failed to get Hussein the first time in the Gulf War. What happened to things like the hydrogen fuel cell and other alternative energy research projects Americans paid for during the last administration? Why does it seem that we have given up on finding an energy replacement for a more secure future? If we do not start developing successful alternatives now what will happen to the future security of our children and grandchildren.

Before we go traipsing off into the dessert to shed blood for Middle-Eastern oil again, we should exhaust our resources here at home. If there is a call for National Service of any kind, let it be for research to free us of this lethal foreign dependence. With American ingenuity, certainly, we can develop new energy alternatives and keep our great big SUVs as well.

If the Middle East does not want us in their land, then we should cut off the billions of dollars in aid we provide for them each year, go home and give taxpayers back their hard earned money they so desperately need to clothe, feed and educate their own children right here at home. Why give tax breaks to millionaires who already profit from these foreign subsidies? Would not the billions we send to countries in the Middle East be better spent right here at home giving tax breaks and credits to the true backbone of our economy, the poor and middle-class.

We also need to stop spending billions buying their oil. Why should we purchase oil from them when they use the money to finance terrorist acts against us? If America is to remain the greatest nation on earth, we must focus on our vast homeland and turn our attention inward and away from foreign dependence for anything.

In addition, weakening our forces here at home by becoming the world’s police does not seem to be the most constitutional role for our volunteer army, especially when it means that homeland reservists must be sent abroad to cover deficiencies. Who defends America’s borders if the military is off being “Johnny Law” for the rest of the world?

Do we want to be entangled in a war for the rest of our lives? The concept of an infinite war should scare the entire world. After all, it was that kind of ideology that bankrupted the great USSR, thought to be invincible, and saw to the destruction of a once invincible German Empire. Developing new and better, fuels and energy for the future is not just great economic sense; it is the only American thing to do.