The Lopez 12-Step Program for Winning the War on Terror, 2006
Guest Perspective/Ralph Lopez
1. Realize Al Qaeda turns von Clausewitz on his head.
There are no standing armies to attack, no tank formations, no air bases. Al Qaeda's source of strength is popular support, which increases or decreases as a direct result of US foreign policy actions. Rather than a traditional military hierarchy, Al Qaeda is a "network." Al Qaeda 2.0. There is no head to cut off. It can only be starved from the bottom, politically.
2. Isolate Al Qaeda in the Arab world by announcing a shift in US policy which redresses grievances held since our 1953 overthrow of democratically-elected Iranian president Mohammed Mossadeq. Apologize for it. Don't worry, even if you don't understand, the Middle East will, and it will make a difference.
3. Get off the oil junk. The former head of the CIA's bin Laden unit, Michael Scheuer, identifies our addiction to oil as the root cause of Middle Eastern terrorism. Slap a windfall profits tax on oil companies, and use the proceeds to finance a Marshall Plan for U.S. Energy Independence. Attack any resistance from the oil companies as unpatriotic and heedless of the national security. Play hardball with these bastards. We need to cut back consumption by, say, 75 percent. Sure, we need oil for some things, but non-energy efficient light bulbs isn't one of them. 4. Follow up with a concerted push against our corrupt allies in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, and the rest, to allow their people political rights. Don't argue with them. Just tell them, if you guys keep beating heads at peaceful democratic protests, there go your spare F-15 parts. Do it again, there goes $10 million of your military aid. How do you like me now?
5. Announce our timetable to leave Iraq.
6. With the political initiative firmly underway, go on the military offensive. Take 50,000 troops, seasoned with experience in Iraq, and position them at strategic passes in the Pakistani mountains and tribal areas. Make a giant noose. Take no bullshit from the Pakistani government. You are either with us or against us. Make them see the light. See what happened to that government in Afghanistan? That can happen to you.
7. Drop the cream of Special Operations Forces inside the noose and let them do their thing. Believe me, if the damned politicians would let them, they'd find the terrorists.
8. Prepare the world for the imminent capture of Bin Laden. Tell them look, we're giving you downtrodden people a chance, now let's start fresh. You know this guy attacked us and in your religion, we are entitled to justice. THIS WAR IS OVER. We can all be friends.
Now lets go solve the problem that's going to kick ALL our asses: global warming.
9. No more blank check for the Israeli government to crush Palestinian civilians. They may be our friends, but when your friend is wrong, you tell him. Even if he is your friend.
10. Institute a universal draft, Israeli-style, that gets us old guys (up to 52, I say) into combat gear, since we may need long-term peacekeeping in Afghanistan. Which should be made into a shining model of democracy, even if it takes until our grandchildren's time to do it. It's not fair that the young guys do all the fighting while our fat asses stay safe. This should also go a long way toward making future wars obsolete, when congressmen have to hump a pack and drop and do twenty. Wouldn't that be beautiful?
11. Check the last chapter of my book American Dream for my idea on how to rebuild the World Trade Center.
The symbolism is important, it takes too long to describe here.
12. Now we're hunting terror cells around the world, mopping up with the cooperation of governments and people who know where they are, who have the inside scoop. We'll still have battles with the hard-cores, but their recruitment will dry up. AMERICANS ARE THE GOOD GUYS AGAIN! Eventually the violence will fade, and we can pre-occupy ourselves with the task of building a sustainable human society, based on a stable Earth population. The Constitution will have survived, and we can get back to drinking, making babies, eating carousing and just living our lives.
Heck, life is supposed to be FUN and we shouldn't be worrying about this shit. But for awhile we have to, because the road we're on now leads to NOWHERE.
Ralph Lopez is a former state Senate candidate in Cambridge, Mass. His recent books include "The Elephant in the Room" and "American Dream."