Fighting Terrorism

by James Glaser
January 2, 2007

America has chosen to fight terrorism with guns and bullets. This "war" has been going on longer now, than all of our involvement in the Second World War. Many Americans are opposed to this way of fighting terrorism, and wonder how we can measure any sort of progress.

The American public knows that Washington's War on Terrorism is not working. In an AP-AOL News poll, when asked to name the candidate for villain that first came to mind, George Bush came in first. Bush was way ahead of both Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.

Not only has George Bush's reputation been tarnished by this war, but so has that of the United States of America.

I have written in the past about how I can remember when America had the admiration of most of the world. I remember how we fought the Cold War with the Peace Corps and with hospital ships, like the USS Hope. We led by example, proving to the world that their interests and needs were the same as ours.

Today we try leading the world with Carrier Battle Groups sent around the globe to instill fear. We attack nations who have never attacked us, and those nations (Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Panama, Somalia, and Grenada) are always pitiful third world countries.

Washington, both Republicans and Democrats, has backed George Bush's tactics to fight terrorism, but most Americans citizens are no longer behind them. With international corporations making billions from the use of military supplies, there is little the average citizen can do to change the direction that our government has taken. Even voting the Republicans out of control of both Houses of Congress has done nothing. In fact George Bush has taken that vote to mean that he should escalate his War in Iraq.

So, what can we do? Other than writing to Congress and pleading for them to reign in Bush, we have to start thinking of how we as citizens can start making a difference again.

A woman wrote to me about what she is going to do this next year to make changes in her life that could be a start in the right direction. I never know if I should use a person's name, so I won't use hers, but here is her list:

  • This year I resolve to live as though life were a journey to be taken with joy? Isn't that better than coasting through life so I can arrive safely at the grave?
  • In 2007 I will send a few dollars to Heifer Project International, Inc. for a flock of chicken to help a distant family instead of spending that money on some trifle I do not really need.
  • This year I will shop for paper products made from recycled paper. That included printer paper, gift cards, and wrapping paper.
  • In 2007 I will help preserve our Mother Earth by using only non-chemical cleaning products such as white vinegar to remove berry stains and more.
  • This year I will buy fewer gifts and increase those I can bake myself such as baked goods.
  • In 2007 I will sort food items to make sure I am purchasing organic products that are healthier for humans and the earth.
  • I will examine all the light bulbs in the house and make sure I am using energy efficient lighting to reduce air pollution and my electric bill.
  • 2007 will find me purchasing more items from local, organic growers. That will reduce air pollution, the food will taste better, and it will be healthier.
  • Every day, I will find at least one thing to be thankful for, no matter how small the blessing may appear.
  • I will smile more often, wave at strangers, and spend time watching a breeze in the trees.
  • I will visit the sites that list companies who do not use animals in testing products and add those names to my list of potential purchases.
  • 2007 is the year I practice behavior that is more childlike. Mud puddles, snow angels, and smelling flowers are three I can add.
  • There are dozens more I could make and I am sure you have your own list. The important thing to remember is resolving to do something is easier and a lot more fun than those that are negative.

Now her ideas are not the same as what mine or yours might be. What I like about this woman's list is that it is filled with positives. The America I grew up being proud of was an America with a positive attitude. We as a nation worked to help people. Today we seem to be working to hurt people. In fact we seem to be the world's number one killer of innocent civilians.

It is hard when you kill civilian populations using a shock and awe bombing campaign, destroy civilian infrastructure, and install an occupying army , and then tell the world we are doing all of this for the good of the people of that country.

We are blessed with our past deeds. The world still likes the American people, but they hate our government. How much longer that differentiation will stay true is anyone's guess.

If you go back to the woman's list you will see something called the Heifer Project International. She is going to contribute money to help send a flock of chickens to a poor family in a distant land.

The Heifer Project is run by a Christian Church. (The Brethren) I am not endorsing this particular work, but reading about it, tells me it is the direction that I think America should be taking. People who get help from this church know it is help coming from the American people. There are projects like this from many American churches. Some are connected to missionary projects, and some are not. I remember sending money years ago to a group that drilled water wells for poor villages in Africa.

It doesn't matter what particular project you pick, what matters is that the rest of the world realizes again that the American people want to help them have better lives.

So, this year the first three "to do" things on my list are going to be:

    First. write my Congressmen (again) about stopping the war in Iraq and Afghanistan,
    Second, find a world wide help project that I can feel good about sending some money to, and
    Third, find some project locally that will help some of my fellow citizens get a helping hand up.

I will add to that, prayer. We should all be praying more.

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