Don?t Ask, Don?t Tell Attitude Perpetuates Cycle of War

Michael Konigsberg
El Vaquero Staff Writer

Secrets will destroy us.

Amid the public relations campaign for our War on Terrorism, it is apparent how little we really know. What we get are the generalizations of presidential gunslinger rhetoric and the approximate locations of our troops in battle.

We are cognizant of some the history of U.S. relations with Afghanistan, the American reputation in Islamic nations, and the laziness of U.S. foreign policy makers.

However, it seems that we have become complacent in accepting superficial information, despite the magnitude of current events. The public’s right to know has taken a back seat to utility and “public safety.”

Secrecy based on fear can lead to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to wanton destruction.
Fear discourages people from learning from past mistakes and, as a result, attracts the same conditions one hopes to avoid.

Platitudes of “Justice” and “Operation Enduring Freedom” seem to take over the nation as a minority of war-hungry military leaders dream of glory, and legislators plot reelection. We should be suspicious of their motives.

The U.S. government knew long before Sept. 11 that Osama bin Laden was nurturing an airline network operated by terrorists, according to Los Angeles Times staff writers Stephen Braun and Judy Pasternak. Since 1992, Bin Laden was purchasing American military-issue transport planes and since 1996, has furnished his agents with false identification for the surreptitious take-over of Afghanistan’s Ariana Airways and the subsequent shipment of weapons, opium, and personnel. They had access to airports around the world.

Had former President Clinton chose to extend active, non-judgmental peace-making policies to the Sudan (Bin Laden’s former home base) and Afghanistan after taking office in 1992, and after the Taliban’s ascendance in 1996, Bin Laden’s Al Quaeda network may have failed to obtain carte blanche over Ariana. Perhaps Sept. 11 would not have happened.

An effective leader would fearlessly release knowledge to serve the public with honest geopolitical information. We must know why we make enemies; we must know another nation’s policies of hatred, distrust, or indifference to our welfare, and how to recognize them among ourselves.

Knowledge heals. Let secrecy be cured.