Preferred Future Vision: We Can End the War with Terrorism
By Glen Hiemstra, 2004
Suppose you wanted to successfully end the war on terrorism, in a way that was just and secured freedom to the maximum extent. If that is what you wanted, achieving that end would actually be simple. Not easy, but simple. Here is how you would do it.
Impose a two-state solution on the Israel-Palestine conflict, to be implemented within twelve to twenty-four months. Declare an end to all aid, financial, military and otherwise, including possibly a freezing of assets unless the two-state solution is implemented within the time frame. The two states would be composed of Israel in close to its 1967 borders, and Palestine within most of the currently occupied territories. It would include no automatic “right of return,” but a fair financial compensation strategy to be implemented over a five year period, along with a negotiated and limited right to apply for immigration. Once the two states are established within their respective new borders, each has the right to self defense against terrorist activity, aided by a United Nations peace keeping force. (I am not talking about the proposed Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, which in many ways just creates a disguised prison, as all border crossings, airspace, and sea ports are to remain in Israeli control, as are also the delivery of food and electricity.)
Declare that the U.S. will end any dependence on (meaning zero imports of) Middle East oil, within ten years. Institute a new “Manhattan Project” research and development program to shift to a hydrogen energy economy. Begin by shifting transportation (cars and trucks) away from gasoline, and toward an alternative. Choose an alternative. For the first 10 years, make that alternative gasoline-electric hybrids (bio-fuel may be substituted for gasoline). End all tax breaks for internal combustion autos, two years from now. This would include tax rebates for purchase, and also depreciation and expensing of such vehicles. For the extreme gas guzzling cars and trucks, say which get less than 15 miles per gallon, impose a surcharge on their purchase to aid in the R&D project, starting now. Provide a generous tax break on all hybrid vehicles, including a cash award to dealers for each one they sell. Impose a new tax on gasoline to help pay for the R&D effort. At a date ten years from now or before, begin the shift to a new transportation energy infrastructure, most probably based on hydrogen, fuel cells, and advanced battery technology. Outlaw any vehicle that runs only on internal combustion gasoline by the year 2020.
Set a date to withdraw all U.S. troops from all middle-Eastern and Muslim nations, by ten years from now. Begin withdrawals now. This is the most difficult for some people to swallow, as it is seen as “giving in” to terrorists. But there is little reason to maintain military presence in these countries, except to protect access to oil. Step 2 takes care of that. And taking those who demand a U.S. withdrawal at their word would then expose the lie, should hostilities continue. The major downside to this withdrawal is a certain level of abandonment of women in these regions, who are so oppressed. But U.S. military presence is not doing them much good, and later steps in this proposal address the issue.
Declare that any terrorist attack any where in the world is an attack on civilization and on the U.S., and that U.S. military and law enforcement will join with the victim and the United Nations in responding to such attacks with targeted and intense force aimed at the perpetrators. At the same time, drop all the rhetoric about a “war between civilizations”.
Increase and sustain resources to national and international intelligence agencies so that remaining terrorist activities are more likely to be penetrated and attacks prevented before they happen.
Declare that any nation determined to provide deliberate haven to or support for terror will be cut off from the International community, via information and physical blockade. Engage in severe netwar against any such nation. (No access to Internet, telephone, travel, etc.)
In concert with the global community, attack the regions of the world that are the primary breeding grounds of terrorism, not with weapons but with massive education and economic development assistance. Live up to our promises to rebuild Afghanistan, as a start.
Push the Re-start button for the 21st Century, as it ought to be.
Is there any chance such a simple but not easy solution would be implemented? Not really. The primary reason, I believe, is that chaos always benefits certain players, and those players do not, really, want to end the chaos.* Radical, Islamist totalitarians obviously benefit from the chaos, but while it is admittedly harsh to apply such a judgment upon ourselves, consider the following.
I will never forget a class I took in 1981, while a graduate student at the University of Washington. The professor was Dr. Ed Wenk, first science advisor to Congress, author of the legislation that created NOAH, and a leading thinker on society and technology. In the class he was discussing the power of the military-industrial complex in determining U.S. policy. And he said, “If the Soviet Union ceased to exist tomorrow, we will have to invent a new one,” in order to keep the current system running, in power, and making money. For a short while after 1990 it seemed that China would be a good substitute, but then “terrorism” appeared and was selected, because, as we are told over and over, it is a threat “everywhere, in every nation,” and because it is a “war that will last for generations.” Perfect. Situation normal.
But not preferred.
* Note: Others who benefit from this “war” may include:
- Defense companies posting record profits after years in the doldrums.
- Big media, especially 24-hour news, which thrives on war but withers on mere police investigation of terrorist events
- Current administration, which can enfold all issues within the cloak of “war on terrorism”
- Religious extremists of all stripes, who can use fear to drive their market share recruitment
Glen Hiemstra is a futurist speaker, author, consultant, blogger, internet video host and Founder of Futurist.com. To arrange for a speech contact Futurist.com.
On April 27, 2004 Congressman Jim Turner, ranking Democrat on the House Select Committee on Homeland Security, coincidently released a plan for eliminating the threat of terrorism, that tracks closely with this article, but goes much further with specifics.
Turner Announces Plan to Win War on Terror, the Full Report.