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Seven years after 9/11, John McCain still doesn't get the war on terrorism

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dtotire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 12:45 PM
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Seven years after 9/11, John McCain still doesn't get the war on terrorism
The New Republic

The Next Front by Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon

Seven years after 9/11, John McCain still doesn't get the war on terrorism.

Post Date Thursday, September 04, 2008

At a stop on July 22 in Rochester, New Hampshire, Senator John McCain was asked a series of questions about the American troop presence in Iraq. As he has throughout his campaign, McCain insisted that U.S. forces were winning the war in Iraq and, if allowed to complete their mission, would leave behind a working democracy, check "disruptive" influences, and clear the way for a transformed Middle East. The back-and-forth culminated with the following exchange: Questioner: Don't you believe that we are inflaming the Muslim world by our presence there?

McCain: Thank you. I do not. I believe that if we had been defeated in Iraq that the radical elements in the Muslim world would have been dramatically encouraged.

The Arizona senator's response presented in a nutshell his belief that military force is the sine qua non of a successful counterterrorism policy. McCain does not promise that victory in Iraq--which he does not define--will end Islamist terrorism in other regions or prevent attacks directed at the United States.

Implicit in his view, though, is the notion that terrorists will be deterred by American military might and that their defeat in Iraq will make it more difficult for them to acquire the recruits, funding, and popular backing they need to continue their efforts.

Undoubtedly, flagrant displays of U.S. weakness could embolden America's terrorist enemies, though it seems far-fetched that a U.S. departure from Iraq in the next three years--a move endorsed by the Bush administration, the Baghdad regime, and Senator Barack Obama--would be seen as a rout. But McCain's approach fails to take into account the many other factors that affect the jihadists' ability to promote their cause and carry out attacks. Above all, it ignores the motivational power of the jihadist "story"--the contention, made by Osama bin Laden and others, that the United States is a predatory power which seeks to occupy Muslim countries, destroy Islam, and steal the Middle East's oil wealth. Undermining that narrative, most counterterrorism analysts believe, must be a central part of the strategy against radical Islamism. Yet McCain's insistence that the U.S. military stay in Iraq for the long term does just the opposite.
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ixion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-10-08 12:49 PM
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1. And apparently, neither do Danny and Stevie from The New Republic
because the truth is that there is no such thing as a 'war' on an abstract concept like 'terror'.
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