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War on ideologies will never end


This world is based on ideologies, more than just actions. From the Cold War to the War on Terror, the United States has been declaring war on ideas, rather than people and actions, and Americans need to realize that with this approach, we're always headed toward a brick wall.

The Bush Administration thinks that by killing all of the "terrorists," we can eventually live in peace. Not only is this an impossible task, but an impossible idea. Our president's actions suggest that terrorism is caused by a gene that people are born with, rather than by a world view that develops out of anger, frustration and a feeling of helplessness.

Clearly we can see from the world around us that terrorism is not a virus, a bacteria or a gene. People cannot be infected with it, and people are not born with it. A war on terror is as arbitrary as a war on sadness, anger or mean people. Look to history to see where this war will lead us.

The United States, while fighting alongside the Soviet Union in World War II, knew that communism versus capitalism was going to be the next issue after the war. But being a rational nation, we sided up with the Soviets to defeat a blatantly evil Nazi regime. Immediately after the war ended, we agreed to split both Germany and Berlin into halves, essentially half democratic, half communist.

This worked as a Band-aid solution, clearly intended to put off conflict until both nations had a chance to rebuild and reorganize their economies, militaries and infrastructure.

For the next few decades, the United States fought by proxy with the Soviet Union over several countries, including obvious conflicts in North Korea, Vietnam and Cuba. We spent more than $30 billion on a five-year space race that essentially did two things for us: got us to the Moon and beat those darn Reds. According to CNN, the Cold War cost the world $8 trillion combined, over more than 30 years. The War in Iraq has already cost the United States more than $163 billion in a few years, plus the billions spent in Afghanistan since September 11.

The Cold War essentially ended with the Reagan Administration outspending the Soviet Union in the arms race, causing the Soviets to fold and give up both hope for the global spread of communism and eventually their half of Berlin.

Compare the result of the Cold War to the expected outcome of the War on Terror. While we were combating communism in the Cold War, we had a clearly defined opponent who was, in turn, fighting capitalism. More importantly, this opponent had borders and a government. Even with this easily targeted opposition, we could not "win" the war with bombs and guns. We won with economic might.

Unfortunately, the War on Terror doesn't have a physical target. We are fighting an ideology. This ideology has no clear state sponsor, which is why we were forced to move from Afghanistan to Iraq and soon to Iran, chasing opposition wherever it arises. There is no clear future for the War on Terror, as it impossible to kill an ideology. As seen by the constant resistance in Iraq, the United States' war is creating more terrorists with our foreign policy than we are killing with our military.

If Jeb Bush is elected in 2008, surely the United States will see an unobstructed passing of the torch, leading the United States further into the war that could soon pass the Cold War as the most economically draining war the United States has ever seen. If the citizens of the United States do not soon take a staunch anti-war stand, Americans can expect future Republican administrations to continue on this destructive, no-win path into a war that has no end.

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