The Bush & Co. Global War on Terrorism - code words primarily for the on-going military action in Afganistan and the invasion/occupancy of Iraq - was upstaged this week by the arrest of seven wannabe terrorists in Miami. Were the arrests part of this "global war?" Well, the "global war" seems to be focused on al-Qaida, but these apparent home-grown bozos in Miami weren't associated with al-Qaida. They, like similar suspects arrested in England and Spain, seem to be disaffected youth who fall sway to internet-based terrorist preachings and see the United States as "infidels" and "devils."
"Left unchecked, these homegrown terrorists may prove to be as dangerous as groups like al-Qaida" according to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Gonzales reminds us that local, independent "cells," not any international organization, were responsible for the train station murders in Madrid and the subway and bus bombings in London.
The arrests in Miami were, as far as I can tell, the result of good criminal investigation work by local and federal law enforcement agencies. During the early days of the Bush War on Global Terrorism, there were a number of national security and law enforcement experts who went on record to say that a "war" was not the correct response to the events of September 11th. They urged the Bush administration to view the attacks of September 11th as criminal acts, not acts of war, and to use good, solid criminal investigation and enforcement work, the stuff our federal and local law enforcement agencies have long been good at, to identify, investigate and arrest terrorist criminals. The U.S., working closely with the law enforcement agencies of our allies around the world, could deal with international terrorist criminals. But this was not the Bush & Company plan.
So here we are, spending ever-growing billions of dollars on un-winable "wars" in Afganistan and Iraq, providing the best-ever training grounds for terrorists where they can learn murder and barbarism in real time against real people. The "Global War on Terrorism" is a sham, and it's a war that can't be won.
I'm proud of the law enforcement agencies that reeled in the seven men in Miami; this is the kind of anti-crime work we need, both in the United States and abroad. The British, Spanish, Canadians and many others seem to understand that local law enforcement is the front-line defense against terrorism (why Tony Blair hooked up with Bush remains a mystery to me). The ideology of "global war" in this country needs to be abandoned and replaced with good police work that fights crime.