Actually, we are attacked by Al Qaeda and Bin Laden. Just because Bin Laden was Saudi does not mean we attack Saudi Arabia. He was an enemy and thorn to the Saudi regime. Just because Zawahiri was Egyptian, do we attack Egypt too? Bin Laden was in Afghanistan and prepared for the attacks under the harboring of the Taliban. Therefore, the Taliban were responsible in handing over Bin Laden or face retaliation. In fact, the Taliban should have been forced out of power irregardless as they were the worst violators of human rights in the world.
Some had connections with Afghanistan and Pakistan, but the nations themselves were not involved
Really? None of the nations were involved? Again, the Taliban controlled Afghanistan and were harboring Bin Laden.
In regards to Iraq, Saddam was defying the world for too long. He was bound to be removed eventually. The world is a better place without Saddam Hussein; my only quarrels are that the Islamic Republic was a bigger threat and regime change (aftermath) would have been much easier as Iranians are pro-American, pro-west, and a secular populace (the people, not regime).
Practically anything that anyone believes in can become militaristic, in my opinion. Fanaticism and extremism are problems that come up out of the minds of the unstable and sick who unfortunately, manage to get others on board by pandering to the fear and anger of the masses. If not religion it'll be something else.
However, observing countries whose people are close-knit, peaceful (at least in comparison to the middle east and the US) and see how they are functioning, some even with a national religion, we'd find more clues as to how societies work successfully without being driven by the war machine and greed. While I personally would love to see religion removed from our world, I think there are greater social factors at play in our 'civilization' that creates the demand for our militaristic needs (AKA: war).
I do think if we were less religious, we'd be less warlike because we'd spend our time solving resource problems rather than ranting and praying. Nowadays the dominionists cleverly use religion to keep people fighting.
Since rich people get richer from war, aka "Military Industrial Complex," they will continue to use religion and the afterlife and poverty as tools to get even richer.
Bottom line is we need better general conditions and education for the poor who usually become the fanatical religious "warriors" of all persuasions.
I agree with Anne. I think the public's religious sensibility is used as a tool for the military - God is on our side, fight for God and country. A disproportionate amount of recruits come from the Bible Belt and the lower socio-economic class. A more secular society and more even distribution of resources might produce citizens more unwilling to go to war.