As someone who fancies himself an
international traveler, maybe not in actual traveling sense but
more in spirit and hope of actually seeing most of the world one
day, the events that transpired over the vacation were of great
importance to my global exploits and me. While getting ready to
travel shortly after the break, there was nothing but comforting
terrorist threats and the rainbow vision of the Homeland Security
Advisory System. Watching Tom Ridge ramble in circular arguments
about how this could be the most dangerous time since Sept. 11 was
not what I needed. Nothing gets you ready to travel like reading a
report on surface-to-air shoulder missiles. That’s grounds
for a Red Alert if I’ve ever seen one. And to sweeten the
pot, the Bush administration decides to capture Saddam after months
of floundering right on the eve of my vacation, raising new heights
of paranoia.

Kate Green

All these painstaking efforts are made to assure American safety
but what the result ends up providing is more anxiety for the
American people and the global population as well. In fact ,since
every terrorist attack has occurred overseas since Sept. 11 we are
reasonably safe here. However, keeping with my “citizen of
the world” attitude this is a disturbing trend. At a time
when the very concept of free trade and international relationships
are continuously being questioned, the last thing needed are valid
reasons for countries to retreat into an isolationist mindset
again.

The rash actions and military parading of the Bush
administration are dangerous to place outside of Texas and even
America. The image of American troops parading Saddam Hussein
around is the kind of photo-op the shamelessly self-aggrandizing
Bush administration makes no qualms in engaging in. But the myopic
view of the government keeps the country engaging in ridiculously
unilateral short-term solutions that only deepen this international
quicksand. The number of attacks on coalition troops decreased from
November to December, but is now on the rise again for January. The
short-term rallying effects and opinion-poll increases that these
photo-ops create continue to send folded flags back to families
across America and well, since it’s a “coalition
force,” families across the world.

And there is Afghanistan, the orphan child that sits in the
corner all but forgotten. The only coverage comes with the next
mass murder explosion. No one really remembers what the goal was
over there and this is reflected clearly through the
Pentagon’s recent decision. In what appears to be military
minutiae, the administration has blurred the distinctions between
each engagement. In rewarding our soldiers medals for their
service, troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan have both been
given something called the Global War on Terror Expeditionary
Medal.

So wait, does that mean Iraq wasn’t about weapons of mass
destruction? Was a war on terror also? (And what exactly happens
when you win such a war? Is no one ever afraid again?) Anyway, this
has obviously enraged military personnel since they would like to
think of their efforts as individually recognized contributions and
not a mass lump in the Bush imperialization squad. Even those who
served in World War II received individual medals for their
missions. Soldiers in the Vietnam and Korean Wars who all fought
under the banner of anti-Communism in what I imagine today would be
called the War on Ideology received specific accolades for their
sacrifice. And the Pentagon refuses to recognize any distinction
between the two. Maybe because it’s all a big fight against
the dirty A-rabs so it doesn’t seem all that different to the
parties that decide it all. It might seem small but it bothers me.
This is representative of the lack of definitive foresight and
honest disclosure between the Bush cabal and the world public, who
are really just mildly engaged participants in Bush’s
world-shaping game.

Hopefully after graduation as I establish my roots in the
post-Michigan era I can engage in some of the world touring I have
planned actively throughout my undergrad and random daydreams. I
can’t honestly hope that the vision of our supposed leaders
becomes a bit more extroverted and encompassing than what we are
seeing now. This administration is utterly immutable but I can at
least hope that the path we have been set down is not
irreversible.

Rahim can be reached at
“mailto:hrahim@umich.edu”>hrahim@umich.edu.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *