I think I may be able to offer some solid insight regarding this particular thread. I am a former US Marine. My wife is from Europe. We maintain homes both in the US and in Europe. I have lived, traveled, been stationed in and trained in Europe for the better part of the last 15 years. I fought in many covert battles for my country and my country�s allies, sometimes alongside their soldiers.
The 50,000-foot view is much clearer than the �trench-fighting� that has taken place thus far in this thread. So let us back up, take a deep breath, and elevate to 50,000 feet, shall we.
Europeans have an old (WWI) saying regarding US military (which extends to all things American) on European soil, we're supposedly, "Over-paid, Over-sexed, and Over here!" Well, as one of those rowdy bunch of unwanted US military on European soil, I can tell you that this statement says it all.
Although most Europeans begrudgingly feel a need for alliance with the US, there is a deeply seeded wish that this need did not exist (read jealousy), and that we "cowboys," "yanks," or whatever else you want to use to degrade us, were not on or near precious European soil at all. Europeans merely put up with us because they feel they have to, at least until now. Make no mistake, there truly is a general (least, although highly prevalent, in the UK; by far the worst in France) European feeling of loathing toward the US (its citizens, its system, its military, its government, its economic strength, everything that smells like America). Why they go to McDonalds and Burger King, and buy Coca Cola and Budweiser in droves is quite a perplexing issue in itself, given their sentiment.
This anti-American sentiment has zero to do with Iraq, the Middle East, or any other issue that Europeans may currently embrace to drudge up those old feelings of resentment. Every decision and every view related to the USA by Europeans is clouded by this ingrained view toward America. President Bush, The War on Terror, and Iraq are simply deemed as current opportunities by European leaders to exploit these old feelings in an attempt to malign, and re-align American world dominance. It has only to do with a desire to have what American�s are perceived to have. It is no more complicated than that.
The rest of the world is either drawn to or repelled away from this European-driven (again, largely French) resentment, depending on the current political climate. As much as we�d like to make this subject more interesting and provocative by introducing the here and now, and whatever else, it is not required. This is it for this subject in a nutshell, and it will never change as long as the USA is at the top of the heap.
On President Bush
Any debate here about George Bush�s intelligence is an attempt to veer off subject, through ridicule, by people who cannot muster the material and ability to carry a logical debate on serious issues. I will only say that this man went to Yale University, Harvard Business School, and has been elected President of the United States of America. Need anymore be said. I�d like to see anyone else here measure his/her own accomplishments up to this man�s before they next make negative reference to him. How many of you have gone to Yale undergrad or its equivalent? Not many. How many of you have gone to Yale undergrad, or its equivalent, and have also gone on to Harvard Business School? I would venture to say none of you, but perhaps one or two of you is this fortunate. How many of you would-be George Bush maligners have been, or ever have an inkling of a chance to be elected for the US Presidency? Well, this latter question is just a dumb question, considering you probably have far better chances at winning your local or national lottery. The man�s achievements speak for him, even if you don�t.
On The War On Terrorism
On September 11, 2001 the USA was broad sided by an act of war that left 3,000 plus people, mostly American citizens, dead. I worked for 3 years in one of the buildings directly across from the North Tower of the World Trade Center. I happened not to be in that building on that day, but those who were saw the rubble from the North Tower smash forcefully through all of the windows around them. That of course followed the seemingly impossible: one of the Twin Towers collapsing before their eyes. Over 200 of my own friends and colleagues are no longer with us as an immediate and direct result of this act. Now I really don�t care in this instance whether George Bush, Peter Pan, or Elmer Fud is the leader of my country. What I do care about is that the leader of my country, whom just by fate happens to be George Bush at this time, respond quickly and ferociously to this act of war perpetrated against us.
Hmmm, well who or whom do we retaliate against? Do we simply blame 19 angry Muslim guys and call it a day? Did someone help them? Or, are they capable of the world�s largest single terrorist attack in history without any assistance? Ah, they belong to a terrorist network, you say. Well, how big is that terrorist network? 3,000 plus you say. Where does this terrorist network exist? Well, it exists inside most countries and maybe even all of them, you say. By the way, I suppose I should introduce here that my specialty in the Marine Corps was anti-terrorism.
Well, all terrorist networks have a supply chain, a lifeline, if you will. Right? Where does that supply chain lead?
Here�s where it gets both ugly and complicated. Ponder that question for a moment. Hmmm, what a profound and revealing question it is. Now, if anyone in this thread really wants to know what�s got the entire world shivering in its britches, then explore the potential answers to this, and only this, question and you have all the answers your little heart and mind may desire to satisfy that quest to know. A whole new nettle patch worth of questions arises. Was this act of war state-sponsored? Or, was it really just the result of a loose network put together by an angry Saudi multi-millionaire, turned afghan freedom fighter, turned terrorist? The previous members of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan know first-hand what the answer to that question is, and so do we, albeit second-hand. But are there other countries that assist or assisted Osama?
It took the professional Japanese military, backed by the country we know as Japan, to accomplish similar damage in Pearl Harbor. Hmmm, I don�t know about you, but 2+2 just isn�t coming out to 4, and for that matter, neither is 3*3 computing to 9. Let us now picture a weighing scale and on one side place Osama and his relatively small network of thugs, plus the ragtag Taliban, and on the other side place the professional Japanese military, backed by the country of Japan, of 1942. This picture reminds me of a Sesame Street song I used to like as a kid, �One of these things is not like the other�.� Remember that song?
Well, something tells me that the rabbit hole goes much, much deeper than meets the eye. The question is how far does the rabbit hole go? What isn�t being reported in the media is that there are many dozens of countries, including some of our own �allies,� in terrible fear of some indirect connection that could seemingly link them to the act of war that got The United States of America flexing its military muscle.
But what about countries with hidden direct connections to this act of war? Who are they? How close to us are they? Are those relationships under scrutiny? An act of war on this scale requires skill, expertise, funding channels, training, and supplies and support on a grand scale.
The CIA, FBI, and NSA, among others, are working tirelessly to save face and track down all of those direct and indirect connections that lead to the worst attack ever on American soil. We citizens, for reasons of national security, are not privileged to know what those agencies and their counterparts all over the world have dug up thus far. One thing we can surmise is that the Bush Administration has been given information that links Iraq to the act of war that took place on 9/11/2001, either directly or indirectly.
George Bush, Dick Chaney, Colin Powell, and Donald Rumsfeld have all given sound-bite indications that the war on terror will last many years, and cost untold sums of money and resources to carry out. Hmmm, now, the Taliban has been toppled and the �shock and awe� battle campaign in Iraq is surely to be swift. Translation on all of this: Iraq is not our last, or even close to our last, stop in the War on Terror. Again, how deep does that rabbit hole go? And may the rest of the guilty in this world continue to lose sleep at night and shiver your britches during the day until we mow
down every last war criminal in this war. For those of you with no direct or indirect connection to the atrocities of terror committed against the United States, then fear not. For those of you connected to terrorism of any kind, most notably in relation to 9/11, I would not want to be in your shoes at this point in history. My advice to our government and intelligence agencies, although I doubt they need this advice, is look first in this war at those that voice their fear of us the loudest.