by Charley Reese
by Charley Reese
George Soros, the billionaire currency speculator, has set aside $15 million just to help defeat George W. Bush's re-election efforts. Soros, originally from Hungary, believes the Bush administration is dangerous and is leading us into perpetual war.
He's spreading the money to various organizations committed to working against Bush's re-election. I don't know if he will get what he wants, but I tend to agree with him that the Bush administration seems committed to perpetual war.
Bush has so loosely defined both terrorism and his war on terrorism that there is absolutely no way anyone will be able to tell when or if it is won. He defines as terrorists anyone who attacks a government, no matter if the attacks are legitimate resistance against an illegitimate government. He has thus empowered dictators all over the world to crack down on all dissidents and get Brownie points for "fighting terrorism."
The proper definition of an act of terrorism is an attack aimed at civilians chosen at random. Attacks directed against soldiers are by definition not terrorism, but acts of resistance or of guerrilla warfare. The bombings of the Red Cross and the United Nations in Iraq were acts of terrorism. The bombings of American soldiers are just guerrilla warfare. Bus bombs in Israel are acts of terrorism; attacks against Israeli soldiers or armed settlers are acts of resistance.
Furthermore, he's added to the list of America's enemies organizations that might be terrorists but have strictly local beefs within their own countries. Believe it or not, there are conflicts that have nothing to do with us, and we should stay out of them.
The idea of a Pax Americana imposed on the world at the point of a gun is both dangerous and delusional. Ditto his proclaimed doctrine of pre-emptive war. Power is relative. We have the power to nuke North Korea, but do we have the power to send foot soldiers slogging up that steep terrain? No, sir, we do not. We have the power to defeat most, though not all, armies, but we do not have the power to defeat guerrillas. We are not, as you can see in Iraq, very good at that.
As we are learning in Iraq and Afghanistan, after the war comes the hard part — occupation that can drain blood and treasure like a never-healing open wound. Times are a-changing, and the world is not about to let America impose its will on everyone else without resistance.
America was most admired when it had no ambition for empire and no desire for colonies. We had better return to our republican ideals, or we will end up like the once-mighty British Empire — a bankrupt, third-rate country. The sun, which once never set on the British Empire, now never rises on it. The Brits bled themselves to death in two world wars and in trying to hold people who didn't want to be held under their control.
Unless we change our policy, we will end up the same way. How many wars, how many occupations do you think we can afford when we're already running a nearly half-trillion-dollar deficit? So far, the Iraq War has cost us more than $150 billion and nearly 400 lives. What, pray tell, benefits have we gotten from that? When will it end? And if — and it's a whopper of an "if" — we were to leave Iraq with a democratic government, what would prevent Iraqis from replacing it with another dictatorship? Most governments established by an occupying power have a short life span.
I think the Bush administration has shown itself to be incompetent in foreign affairs and negligent in domestic affairs. I hope Soros gets his money's worth. The president's narrow view of the world is too childish and simplistic for such dangerous times.
November 18, 2003
Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years, reporting on everything from sports to politics. From 1969—71, he worked as a campaign staffer for gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional races in several states. He was an editor, assistant to the publisher, and columnist for the Orlando Sentinel from 1971 to 2001. He now writes a syndicated column which is carried on LewRockwell.com. Reese served two years active duty in the U.S. Army as a tank gunner.
© 2003 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.