War on What?
As I approach my 22 birthday, I think back about how many wars or conflicts the United States has been engaged in during my short lifetime. I listen to my professors and parents talk about Vietnam and my grandparents talk about WWII, but what will I talk about when I am an adult. According to Professor Zoltan Grossman from Evergreen State College, over the last 21 years the United States has been involved in over 31 different military conflicts. That is over one conflict per year. With the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq winding down, where will America go next? It is a disheartening feeling that I am sitting here not thinking about what the US will do during a time of peace, but how long will it be until the next military conflict occurs. Americans love war. We watch war movies. We grow up playing G.I. Joe or for the younger generations playing Call of Duty. We have a War on Crime, A War on Drugs. War is so commonly used in the English language I do not longer know precisely what it means. A war is a conflict between parties. But who is the enemy with the War on Terror. Terror is an idea; it is a feeling. Yes, you can say this is a war on terrorism or more specifically the Taliban, but why isn’t it called the War on Terrorists.
With the recent shootings in Aurora, Colorado and Sandy Hooky, Connecticut I have begun to ask myself are these acts of terror. Why isn’t the War on Terror fighting these Americans who commit heinous acts against innocent victims. What makes Adam Lanza or James Holmes any different from a member of the Taliban? Some may claim it is because they are white and the Taliban are seen as other because they are of Middle Eastern decent and muslim, but this is short sighted. The Taliban has members all around the world. There are asian, black even white members of the Taliban and other terrorist organizations.
Now you may think that I am just an anti-war liberal activist. You are wrong. I am not against war. I just fail to understand what we are war against. The War on Terror, The War on Crime and The War on Drugs seem so subjective I question do the people fighting these wars known who or what their enemy is. The War on Drugs: does that fight overpriced prescription costs. Does the War on Crime stop jaywalking? Wars use to have an enemy. In the Civil War the North fought the South. In WWII America fought the Axis of Evil and the Nazis. How can you fight ideas? Are these conflicts actual wars or are they conquests against things or ideas some feel are un-American or wrong? You can conquer a land or a people, but you can never conquer an idea. Hitler died at the end of WWII, we captured Texas after the Mexican American War but terror will never die and will never be conquered.
I’m sure over the next 21 years America will be engage in many more military conflicts, but I just hope we are not setting our self up for failure trying to conquer ideas.