United States Occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq: A Hindrance to Combating Global Terrorism

Article excerpt

Introduction

For years after the infamous September 11, 2001 (better known as 9/11), there had been no serious national debate in the United States on the root causes of the rising global terrorism for fear of one being labeled anti-American or sympathizer of Islamic fanatics orchestrated under the neoconservatives-dominated Bush administration. Yet, the burning question still remains: Why do the Islamic radicals hate America so much to the point of applying suicide terrorism? While the former President George W. Bush's publicly repeated answer was that they attacked the United States because "they hate our freedoms," Osama Bin Laden, the Al Qaeda leader, in several well-known statements and interviews cited their grievances for the attack against the United States which include the injustice done to the Palestinians, the cruelty of prolonged sanctions against Iraq, the presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia, and the repressive and corrupt nature of U.S.-backed gulf governments. How can these compelling positions be reconciled? Do the continued U.S. occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq help to combat global terrorism? And do the occupations bridge the gulf between the Islamic world and the United States?

Drawing aggregate of qualitative and quantitative data, it is argued in this paper that the continued United States occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq as a retributive measure ignites rather than reduces global terrorism and that complete withdrawals hold enormous promise for global peace and security. In doing so, the paper discusses what precipitated the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the aftermaths of the invasions which include the lootings of Iraq treasures, the raping of Iraqi women, the Abu Ghraib Prison atrocities, the killing of Afghanistan civilians as a sporting spectacle or entertainment by American soldiers, the application of extraordinary rendition, the waterboarding of prisoners, the unresolved fate of Guantanamo prisoners, the polarization of Muslims and Christians, and the mounting cost of human and financial resources; all of which are the more compelling reasons to end the occupation of the two countries.

Background

A great many people had hoped that the post-Cold War era would offer mankind new opportunities for global peace and security. Unfortunately, the end of the Cold War by 1989 marked the beginning of an unprecedented and intense series of global conflicts. Some people thought that the competition during the bipolar era (the period of high tensions between the former USSR and USA) that had had a profound, and often violent, impact on many societies was the root cause of the global violence. So, they argued that since the balance of power had been replaced with collective security, the post-Cold War would genuinely provide new opportunities for global peace and security. But in actuality, the collective security that was exercised by the United Nations against Iraq's invasion of Kuwait had vanished. Its replacement is a lone superpower--the United States of America! In building an empire around the world under the disguise of spreading the evangelical "democracy and freedom," the U.S. government is determined to use any means necessary to achieve a globalized economy under the efficacy and tutelage of American corporations and that of their European junior partners. The transnational corporations always need the protection of their parent countries in order to control the host nations (mostly the underdeveloped countries) because without such protection their investments and expansion overseas would be in peril.

There is no politico-economic system that can automatically maintain and reproduce itself without constant effort being made to fortify the existing hegemonic order. Those who control the wealth of America, the owning class, have an influence over political life far in excess of their number. They have the power to influence policy through the control of jobs and withholding of investments. …