Bush only uses the vaguest terms to describe who the opponent is in this war. He calls them "the terrorists", but America is not in a war against all terrorists. Basque terrorists and right wing militia terrorists and terrorists in Northern Island are not on Bush's list of enemies in the war on terror. Neither are terrorists in India, or on the island of Sri Lanka. The maoist rebels who commit acts of terrorism in Nepal are never discussed as part of the enemy in Bush's war.
In the first debate, Bush declared, "This nation of ours has got a solemn duty to defeat this ideology of hate. And that's what they are, this is a group of killers who will not only kill here but kill children in Russia. That will attack unmercifully in Iraq hoping to shake our will. We have a duty to defeat this enemy. We have a duty to protect our children and grandchildren. The best way to defeat them is to never waver, to be strong, to use every asset at our disposal. It's to constantly stay on the offensive."
This statement reveals why Bush is always so careful to be vague about exactly who his enemy is in his campaign to "constantly stay on the offensive". The truth is that enemy in Bush's war is not defined by its use of terrorism. Bush actually defines his enemy by the Islamic foundation of its agenda. Bush is careful never to say it, but the enemy he has declared war against is Islam itself. Bush has taken America into a religious war.
After all, what else joins Bush's linkages of Al Quaida, the Iraqis, and the Chechen rebels? There are no organizational links that are common to all three of these groups. The goals of the three groups have been different, although Bush's attacks on all three have united them in their hatred of America. The only thing that these groups shared before Bush attacked them is that they are muslim.
Bush's vision of a holy war on Islam, with God choosing the side of Bush's America, is the only logical explanation for Bush's suggestion that the rebels in Chechnya are part of the same people who attacked the World Trade Center in Manhattan on September 11, 2001. It's the only explanation for Bush's claim that the peoples of Iraq are all part of the same enemy group as the Chechens and the Saudis and the Afghans and Indonesians and Filipinos.
The only thing that these diverse groups share is Islam. Otherwise, they don't share any goals, any territory, any ethnicity, or any government.
The most frightening thing about this war is that Bush himself may not be willing to admit his own implicit definition of a religious enemy. Putting America "constantly on the offensive" when even America's own leaders refuse to explicitly define an enemy is a sure way to create a future of never-ending war. In this never-ending war, no one has bothered to say how we will know when victory is achieved. If we don't know what victory, we can never make a realistic plan to achieve it.
So we are swept into what Bush has called a "Crusade", an irrational war driven by religious hatred without any real chance of success. A Crusade can continue for generations because the only thing that can end it is fatigue. So long as George W. Bush remains President, the only hope we have is that Americans will tire of the killing. So far, that end looks a long way off.
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