THE DANGER OF BELLIGERENCE
By Jim R. Schwiesow
We’ve all seen the classic western movie in which a bully rides into town, and soon establishes his dominance over the community. He rules by fear, a fear wrought by his low-slung artillery, the six guns, which hang from his hips, six guns with which he is an expert, and which he will use at the drop of a hat to gun down, with little in the way of provocation, those unfortunates who cross his path. Soon the entire community has an all-consuming hatred and fear of this cruel and brutal fellow, who by his swaggering ways and his belligerence has established his pernicious presence.
Now, this fear manifests itself in an urge by the people to eliminate this source of danger from their midst. The tension increases day by day until one night one of the beleaguered townspeople decides upon a course of action. Knowing that he is no match for a face-on confrontation with this tyrant he secretes himself in a darkened doorway, and as the swaggering bully walks by he creeps from the dark recesses of his lair and swiftly, and without mercy, empties both barrels of a shotgun into the back of the terror of the town. It’s over in an instant the bully lies dead. He is history. The community believes in its heart of hearts that justice has been served, and all rejoice that the threat has been removed.
An old army buddy had this to say about bullies, “Throw your weight around long enough and terrorize enough people, and sooner or later a coward will kill you.”
We are witnessing today on the international scene the very same elements that came into play in the foregoing word drama. Most of the world hates us, and the pundits seem to be at a loss as to the reason why. Much electronic media airtime and a flood of printer’s ink have been expended in a quest for a rational explanation for the phenomena. All of which seems to eventually end in a consensus that the hatred is unfounded and without an identifiable cause, other than maybe jealousy. After all why else would anyone hate big old benevolent Uncle Sam, the protector of the nations of the world? It seems to escape the attention of these experts that much of the world neither desires nor craves that protection.
I submit that the single most identifiable cause of the world’s hate for the United States is fear, a lingering, and pervasive butt-puckering fear.
The United States has arrogated onto itself the authority to unilaterally insinuate itself into the internal affairs of foreign nations and to militarily institute regime changes when a foreign regime diverges from what the U.S. government deems to be acceptable in the way of governance. This authority has been claimed by a succession of American presidents, but George W. Bush has asserted this interventionist doctrine as a divine right. He rationalizes his imperialism as righteous since he believes God grants him the power to carry it out. Since this is his mind-set his actions are predictable. Consider the course of events relating to his invasion of Iraq.
Claiming that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction the president maneuvered a malleable congress into an approval for a military attack. The approved attack in March of 2003 was merely an escalation, or extension, of a war already in progress. For months prior to the official start of the war the United States and the United Kingdom had been carrying out air raids upon Iraq. Thousands of sorties were flown against various military targets in that country. In reality Saddam’s military had been reduced to impotency prior to the official institution of hostilities in March of 2003. The Bush administration had been hoping that these air attacks would provoke Saddam into irrational retaliatory measures, such as missile launches similar to those carried out in the previous Kuwaiti conflict. When this hoped for reaction by Saddam didn’t materialize, the president was forced to resort to subterfuge to gain approval for an attack upon Iraq. The president, aided by the media, rode a phantom WMD fairy tale to congressional approval for his war of aggression.
While the American people sat in front of their TV’s mesmerized by the American military juggernaut, which rolled over the ill equipped and thin Iraqi forces, President Bush literally glowed with exaltation. After all he was exercising, in his estimation, a divine right to war upon those who clouded up his world, or in his own words, “God told me to strike ‘em, so I struck ‘em.”
The problem here was that not only were the Americans watching this naked aggression, so was the world. It’s not too difficult to imagine the thoughts crossing the minds of the international community as they watched devastating ordinance of awesome capabilities being unleashed upon a county roughly the size of the State of California. One can almost sense the incipient fear that was building in regard to the belligerence of the United States and it’s bellicose president.
So what has been accomplished by this idiotic course of action? A number of things it appears. International terrorists who were on the run and losing their ability to terrorize have, because of the blundering war on Iraq and the concomitant increasing hatred of the U.S., regained their ability to recruit militants to their cause. They have regrouped, re-supplied, and have steadily increased their threat potential.
When the weapons of mass destruction, upon which the war was predicated, proved to be non-existent the president morphed the war from a finite concept to one of indefinable limits, we were now in a battle to democratize Iraq. This has dragged us into the middle of a civil war. Caught between the warring factions within the country our troops are suffering casualties daily. In this seemingly endless conflict three thousand of our finest young people have been killed leaving thousands of bereaved Mothers and Fathers, widows and widowers, and many fatherless or motherless children. Twenty-two thousand of our service men and women have been wounded. Many of who have lost their sight, their limbs, and their faculties, injuries, which will affect their lives and relationships, the remainder of their years. Additionally it is estimated that in excess of one hundred thousand Iraqi civilians have lost their lives in this conflict, and the number who have suffered grievous injury and physical malformation from war wounds is almost incalculable.
The United States has earned the animosity of the world at large. Untold millions throughout the world view the United States as a threat of major proportions. They understand that a nation that abuses its prerogatives in regard to war is a dark menace given its devastating nuclear potential.
And what of the people of the United States, what do they have to fear? The answer is simple; they have to fear that coward hidden in the dark recesses of a doorway, who would, out of fear and hate, kill the bully to eliminate the threat. This nation had better change course and do it quickly, this gunboat diplomacy has too many risks.
© 2007 - Jim R. Schwiesow - All Rights Reserved
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Jim Schwiesow is a retired sheriff with 46 years of law enforcement service. He served with the Unites States Army with the occupation forces in post war Berlin, Germany, and has a total of nine years of military service, which includes six years in the U.S. Army Reserve.
His law enforcement service includes: three years in the military police, fifteen years as an Iowa municipal police officer, and twenty-eight years as the duly elected sheriff of Sioux County, Iowa.
Jim has written a number of articles, which have been published in various professional law enforcement journals.
We are witnessing today on the international scene the very same elements that came into play in the foregoing word drama. Most of the world hates us, and the pundits seem to be at a loss as to the reason why.