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Monday, August 09, 2004

War on Terrorism a dangerous misnomer, overly vague and unfocused

"Wars are fought against enemies, and terrorism is not an enemy, but a tactic used by an enemy."
by Jonathan Ariel

The most salient point to come out of the 9/11 Commission’s hearings was its criticism of the name “War Against Terrorism” given by the Bush administration to the ongoing military campaign.

The commission stated clearly that this implied an overly vague and unfocused concept at the most basic and fundamental levels of strategic decision making, to a point making the entire campaign devoid of meaning.

This is hitting the nail on the head. Terrorism is not an enemy, but a strategy. There is no such thing as a war against a strategy, and any attempt to conceive one is an exercise in futility. . . .

Al Qaeda, like the Palestinians, uses terrorism as a means to generate political evolutions that benefit its goals. . . . Like the Palestinians, it has gained instant international fame via terror, and also like them, it has so far not succeeded in achieving its goal.

This goal is clear and unequivocal, the recreation of an Islamic Caliphate stretching from sub-Saharan Africa to Pakistan. This necessitates the elimination of what it regards as artificial nation states foisted on the Arab world by the West in order to keep it weak.

By misnaming the war against al Qaeda a war on terrorism, the Bush administration blundered seriously. It categorized al Qaeda as a failure and loser, not something to be taken seriously. In addition it generated confusion, to the point of opaque strategic vision, unable to pinpoint and define the enemy. If the war is against terrorism, then everyone who uses terrorism is the enemy. That's a lot of enemies, even for a superpower. The concept of terrorism as the enemy is a wonderful way to get lost in a hall of mirrors, in which everything looks the same. In such a hall, al Qaeda becomes another group resorting to terror.

This is a fatal mistake, because unlike many of those groups, al Qaeda has a clear strategic goal. It wants to foment a rising in the Islamic world that will topple governments, enabling a reborn Caliphate to come about. The Sept. 11 attacks were designed to trigger that rising. The tactic failed, but al Qaeda is still there and its strategy is unchanged.

By ignoring the strategic perspective of 9/11, the Bush administration forfeited its ability to measure its results in the war, making it unable to discern whether it is winning or losing. In a hall of mirrors illusion blends with reality, if you are not able to quantify and qualify your position, you are in serious danger of truly losing your way. Even a superpower cannot prevail in a war if it cannot tell whether it’s coming or going.

Read it all.

While at Maariv International (English) you may want to read - or avoid reading - a piece by Shlomo Gazit, which equates the evil Jewish extremist settlers with the nuclear threat from Iran. Take your blood pressure pills, and by all means, avoid the comments. This one, from "Tim Banks, Oregon," is fairly typical.

I agree with the article, Israel cannot live by the sword forever, look at what happened to Hitler..!! History taught us that no justice ..no peace. I think israel should try seeking peace for a change instead of building settelments on palestinian lands, and complaining of being the victim..how funny..!!

You got that? Israel should try seeking peace for a change. I don't have the patience for this stupidity anymore . . . no matter how dangerous it is. Boker tov is only for people who have at least a snowball's chance in hell of opening their eyes.