Sandy Frank: The Stateless Enemy
wars are between two states (or groups of states), and hostilities end
only when one surrenders to the other. But in the war on terror our
opponent is not a state, and this has raised a huge problem for those
of us who want to end the war – and the killing – as quickly as
possible: we don’t have anyone to surrender to.
Immediately after 9/11, we could conceivably have surrendered to
either Saudi Arabia – source of most of the suicide hijackers – or
Afghanistan – harborer of mastermind Osama bin Laden. But the Saudis
disclaimed any connection and, in the case of Afghanistan, the
administration predictably squandered the opportunity and attacked.
Afghanistan surrendered - no doubt recalling Germany, Japan, and The Mouse That Roared – leaving us stuck. Even bin Laden was in hiding.
We then compounded our problem by attacking Iraq. Perhaps we were
hoping to surrender to them, but any hope of that vanished when they
cleverly surrendered to us first.
This has left us with few good options. We could try to accede to our
enemies’ demands: pull out of Iraq and Saudi Arabia, release the
prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, side with the Palestinians – no doubt we
can come up with others. But even if we do all that, absent formal
surrender we face the possibility of further conflict.
Two suggestions: first, maybe leaving bin Laden alive was not a
failure but rather a clever tactic to preserve him as someone to
surrender to. We’ll have to find him, of course, but that could be a
workable strategy. Otherwise, perhaps the United Nations could
establish an Office of Surrender Acceptance to handle situations like
this, functioning as a last resort third party to accept surrenders.
After all, this is bound to come up again. - Sandy Frank
[The Huffington Post | Full Blog Feed]