What is the United States “War on Terrorism?” Answer: A Bush Administration propaganda term. What was the “War on Poverty?” Answer: A Johnson Administration propaganda term. The two share other qualities as well, both have been corrupt, both have been ruinously costly and both have failed in their stated purposes. Add to those, both are ongoing after more than two decades for terrorism and more than five decades for poverty.
While President Bush conveniently never clearly defined victory over terrorism, President Johnson, perhaps substituting hubris for wisdom, promised to eliminate poverty entirely. President Bush’s war continues and so does poverty. For non-utopians, it figures; terrorism is as endemic in Islam as poverty is in humanity. Both date back to their respective origins so far as we can tell.
If we examine said origins, neither president’s programs seem to make much sense. Removing stable governments, killing multitudes and throwing entire regions into chaos has not been any sort of answer for terrorism, particularly since the U.S. and E.U. governments involved continue to refuse to acknowledge that Islamic terrorism originates in Islam. Following that vein, no more can poverty be eliminated by sucking huge sums from the economy for welfare spending by government. Governments doing that emulate armed robbers who do the same thing but are given no credit for reducing poverty thereby, seems to us. What President Bush actually has eliminated is much terrorism but more the peace and security in the Middle East and Central Asia while President Johnson drained wealth from the middle class. We surmise that the U.S. and E.U. governments cannot delete terrorism from Islam nor poverty from citizens. Both must be accomplished by the folk involved: Muslims and the poor.
Only Muslims can extirpate doctrinal terrorism and only the poor blacks can raise themselves as have the once poor Asians. This is not to say that the helpless poor should not receive charity; they will always be with us as we have been told. But they are fewer than the self-positioned poor who infest the government’s client lists.
In the end, our Presidents Bush and Johnson have burdened America and Europe with a flooding river of unassimilable refugees plus, a costly clientele of the impoverished government dependents and the enduring hatred of millions where we have piled up the dead. That is a noxious and risky mix for a time when Western civility is itself coming under threat.
Perhaps we would do better if we replaced the “War on Terrorism” and the “War on Poverty” with a War on War.