A strong military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan is not going to hinder terrorists. On the contrary, it will only strengthen them, while costing us American lives and dollars. President Obama needs to end the occupation of both countries as soon as possible. I fear that even the quickest withdrawal won’t be soon enough though, as exit strategies weren’t Donald Rumsfeld’s forte. 

Let me explain when invasion and occupation should be the strategy a nation uses. When an aggressor country attacks a nation or an ally, it should invade and occupy that country. 

What I mean by “country” is a government backed military replete with an army fortified by tanks and an air force furnished with fleets of planes. 

Germany and North Korea are “countries,” but terrorists are not. Terrorists are an organized criminal network — the mafia is no different, except for the fact that the mafia does not want to wage war on innocent people. 

This is why occupying a country will not stop terrorism. It is impossible to fight terrorists with a conventional military strategy.

After reading that last paragraph, some people may be ready to object to my failure to characterize Iraq as a country. I will admit that Saddam Hussein did have an army and one objective of our invasion was to overthrow him. However, now that he has been executed and his regime replaced, we should leave, as occupation is not helping win the war on terror. 

The dilemma with leaving was underscored by Alan Greenspan, when he stated that America has an unhealthy addiction to oil and that “the Iraq war is largely about oil.” Now that Hussein has been eradicated, the United States needs to leave Iraq before it loses more soldiers and taxpayer’s dollars.

These losses will undoubtedly happen, as military occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan will be continually met with resistance. A large percentage of that resistance will consist of non-terrorist insurgents or terrorist-funded freedom fighters. 

Just consider what you would do if a country invaded your hometown and began occupying it. Even if they were “doing you a favor” by overthrowing a terrible leader or merely attacking you out of preemptive measures, you would surely defend against what you perceive as a threat to your family and home. Occupation has convinced people to become terrorists and insurgents, so it is clearly not helping our cause.

Moreover, from the last time I checked the statistics, the U.S. had lost 5,798 soldiers in the two countries combined. Billions of dollars have been spent as well. Death and destruction are the results of attempting to use caravans of troops to combat improvised explosive devices. Occupation does not work in this scenario because one cannot fight an enemy that is not present. In the case of Iraq, most of the enemies are no longer even in the country.

As a criminal network, many terrorists have permeated borders and now reside in a number of countries. It is not practical or feasible to invade and occupy every country that houses terrorists. Is the United States really going to invade and occupy France, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom because terrorists hide in those countries? Of course it is not — none of those countries would allow us to place an occupying army within their borders.

But some might ask how, if we don’t occupy countries, will we win the war on terror? Well, I can definitively say that the answer is not to recruit individuals like Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden to help us, as Ronald Reagan did during the Cold War. The CIA, however, remains an effective means by which we can hunt down organized criminal networks like the Taliban and Al-Qaida. 

The CIA is, in many cases, not enough, though. It is for this reason that I suggest using Marines and Green Berets when necessary. 

And if a country in which terrorists reside such as Yemen, does not want any American presence, then extra-jurisdictional private military contractors are always a great option, or at least a better one than another Osama bin Laden.



Please don’t look at me while I’m studying

I almost felt like a real college student for a second, instead of the precarious pyramid of nocturnal raccoons (in sunglasses and a trench coat, of course) that I actually am.

From the Archives: LOGOS and Campus Times finally bury the hatchet

Dan Kimmel says that, in addition to finding an audience and an identity, LOGOS helped him find his voice.

The Kingdom of Sweets comes to Rochester

A classic holiday traditiion for many families, this showing of "The Nutcracker" was a collaborative effort between various organizations in the community.