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MSgt213 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-04 05:36 PM
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The other Clarke
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.
Islamist terrorism poses a threat to the physical existence of those who stand to be killed as a result of its actions, as yesterday's news of a plot to explode a chemical bomb in Britain reminded us. But it is not comparable to the threat posed to western democracy and European Jewry by Nazism in the 1930s and 1940s, let alone the prospect of nuclear annihilation during the cold war. Policy choices that proceed from that assumption are almost certain to be wrong.

For similar reasons 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. Even a Talibanised Pakistan or Saudi Arabia would be too enfeebled to present much more than a temporary and localised threat. The ideology of Islamism will remain contained by the backwardness it shares with other forms of religious fundamentalism.

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.,2763,1187322,00....

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