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Must Read from the Guardian: "The War on Terror Misfired" by David Clark

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flpoljunkie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 09:11 AM
Original message
Must Read from the Guardian: "The War on Terror Misfired" by David Clark
http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,4896760-103550,0...

The war on terror misfired. Blame it all on the neocons
The legitimate grievances of Muslims were never listened to by the west


David Clark
Wednesday April 7, 2004
The Guardian


It was never going to be easy to keep a sense of perspective in the face of a terrorist campaign as violent as the one being waged by al-Qaida; some have found it harder than others. The claim by James Woolsey, the former CIA director, that we are in the process of fighting "world war three" stands out as a particularly silly example of the hyperbolic overdrive that has characterised much of the debate over the past two-and-a-half years. So does Tony Blair's assertion that the terrorist threat is "existential" in its scope.

<>Even so, Bush seems determined to test this theory to destruction by playing so eagerly the role scripted for him by Osama bin Laden. If the invasion of Iraq was intended to bring democracy and enlightenment to the darkest recesses of the Arab street, it must be obvious that it has been a spectacular miscalculation. Instead we have a spiral of violence that now involves attacks on coalition forces by armed elements of the Shia majority.

Furthermore, the forced closure of a militant Shia newspaper that provoked this reaction has been followed by the use of helicopter gunships in built-up areas, suggesting that Iraq is slipping into the cycle of repression and resistance that usually ends in defeat for the occupying power.

Far from striking a blow against terrorism, the invasion of Iraq has unleashed the very forces of extremism it was supposed to destroy. This shouldn't surprise us. Successful counter-insurgency strategy always relies on two interrelated elements: a military campaign aimed at the perpetrators of violence, and a political campaign designed to isolate them from the wider population. By invading Iraq, the Bush administration violated both principles simultaneously.

<>By taking its eye off the target in this way, the US government not only allowed Bin Laden and his followers to escape and regroup, it acted to broaden their base of support by demonstrating utter indifference to the opinion of Muslims. The invasion of Iraq may have been wrapped up in high-minded rhetoric about the need to liberate suffering Iraqis from a brutal regime, but most Muslims understand that the US removed Saddam from power for the same reason it installed him in the first place: to engineer a balance of power favourable to its own interests.

more...excellent article
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T_i_B Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 12:18 PM
Response to Original message
1. Thanks for posting
This bit I disagree with

It is nonsense to argue that America and her allies are "losing the war on terror". Al-Qaida's capacity to carry out horrific acts of violence may continue to grow, but its real mission - to establish a pan-Islamic theocracy - is doomed to end in failure.

It is possible to lose a war on terror by producing the circumstances in which we are all threatened by terrorism, in this case from Al-Qaida. The funny thing is, Clark then makes this case

Even so, Bush seems determined to test this theory to destruction by playing so eagerly the role scripted for him by Osama bin Laden. If the invasion of Iraq was intended to bring democracy and enlightenment to the darkest recesses of the Arab street, it must be obvious that it has been a spectacular miscalculation. Instead we have a spiral of violence that now involves attacks on coalition forces by armed elements of the Shia majority.

Furthermore, the forced closure of a militant Shia newspaper that provoked this reaction has been followed by the use of helicopter gunships in built-up areas, suggesting that Iraq is slipping into the cycle of repression and resistance that usually ends in defeat for the occupying power.

Far from striking a blow against terrorism, the invasion of Iraq has unleashed the very forces of extremism it was supposed to destroy. This shouldn't surprise us. Successful counter-insurgency strategy always relies on two interrelated elements: a military campaign aimed at the perpetrators of violence, and a political campaign designed to isolate them from the wider population. By invading Iraq, the Bush administration violated both principles simultaneously.


And this case he makes very well indeed. I really do think that this article is worth a good butchers. :-)
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JPZenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 02:15 PM
Response to Original message
2. I'm Amazed Iraq didn't blow up sooner
Its too bad the U.S. couldn't set up blockade around the two problem cities and make sure the bad guys didn't get out. The images of the U.S. conducting military attacks in civilian areas is going to spur more attacks against U.S. troops, unfortunately.
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thebigidea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 02:55 PM
Response to Original message
3. actually, Woolsey thinks we're in WWIV
Edited on Wed Apr-07-04 02:55 PM by thebigidea
he subcribes to that bullshit "the cold war was WWIII" neocon mindset.
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donhakman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:43 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Woolsey had a dream
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