Why those lousy, scheming, surrender monkeys. Of course, it would be the French who would report such a biased piece of work, thereby endangering the war effort. How could they? Just who do they think they are to… cite… stats… from… hmmm…
America is clearly losing the ‘war on terror’ (Lebanon’s Daily Star, via Agence France Presse):
Despite high-profile arrests, security operations and upbeat assessments from the White House, the United States is losing its “global war on terror,” experts warn. Five years after Washington launched its hunt for those responsible for the September 11, 2001, attacks in the US, the world has not become a safer place, and a new large-scale strike against America at some point appears likely, they say.
Even the killing last month of Al-Qaeda in Iraq’s leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, hailed by the White House as a major blow against the terror network, has not dented its ability to recruit new militants or mount attacks.
In May the influential US magazine Foreign Policy and a Washington-based think tank questioned 116 leading US experts – a balanced mix of Republicans and Democrats – on the progress of the US campaign against terrorism.
Among others, they consulted a former secretary of state, two former directors of the Central Intelligence Agency and dozens of the country’s top security analysts.
The result? Eighty-four percent believe the United States is losing the “war on terror,” 86 percent that the world has become a more dangerous place in the past five years, and 80 percent that a major new attack on their country was likely within the next decade.
“We are losing the ‘war on terror’ because we are treating the symptoms and not the cause,” argued Anne-Marie Slaughter, head of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.
“Our insistence that Islamic fundamentalist ideology has replaced communist ideology as the chief enemy of our time feeds Al-Qaeda’s vision of the world,” boosting support for the radical cause, she said.
For Leslie Gelb, president of the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations, the unity of views expressed by those questioned reflects a deeply criti-cal attitude toward the administration of US President George W. Bush.
“It’s clear to nearly all that Bush and his team have had a totally unrealistic view of what they can accomplish with military force and threats of force,” he said.
Other experts questioned the very nature of the American campaign.
“It was a doomed enterprise from the very start: a ‘war on terror’ – it’s as ridiculous as a ‘war on anger.’ You do not wage a war on terror, you wage a war against people,” said Alain Chouet, a former senior officer of France’s DGSE foreign intelligence service. “The Americans have been stuck inside this idea of a ‘war on terror’ since September 11. They are not asking the right questions.”
“You can always slaughter terrorists – there are endless reserves of them. We should not be attacking the effects of terrorism but its causes: Wahhabite ideology, Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood. But no one will touch any of those,” Chouet argued.
Instead he said US policy in the Middle East, which had “turned Iraq into a new Afghanistan,” was acting as a powerful recruiting agent for a generation of Islamic radicals.
The continued US presence in Iraq and “the atrocities committed by a campaigning army,” the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal in Iraq and the “grotesque” US detention center at Guantanamo in Cuba all “provide excuses” for violent radicals, he said.
The United States has “fallen into the classic terrorist trap – they’re lashing out at the wrong targets,” causing collateral damage that boosts the cause of their opponents, he said.
Michael Scheuer, who headed the CIA’s Osama bin Laden unit from 1996 to 1999, agreed that Washington was acting as its own worst enemy in the fight against Islamic terrorism.
“We’re clearly losing. Today, bin Laden, Al-Qaeda and their allies have only one indispensable ally: the US foreign policy toward the Islamic world,” Scheuer said.
“The cumulative impact of several events in the past two years has gone a good way toward increasing Muslim hatred for Americans, simply because they are Americans,” he added, citing Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and the East-West row over cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad.
“Each of these events is unfortunate but not terribly serious for Western minds. But from the Muslim perspective they are deliberate and vicious attacks against the things that guide their lives and their faith,” Scheuer said.
Council on Foreign Relations? Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton? University? Central Intelligence Agency? Hey… those are our surrender monkeys.
Okay, seriously for oh-so-brief-a-moment, These people who were polled and the organizations doing the polling and analysis are nowhere near the “cut ‘n run” caricatures right-wingers will try to make them. Once again, we can see that the war in Iraq has not only been a distraction from focusing on the capture of Osama bin Laden, it has bolstered al-Qaeda’s support and recruitment and left most people who practice Islam feeling alienated. If we “stay the course,” and Bush and Friends insist we do, we will certainly continue their downward spiral and gain little more than more dead Number Twos and more dead terrorists, which might sound nice except that they would have been created in our failure to look past the symptom that terrorism represents and in our treatment of Iraq as little more than our private battlefield.
While many Americans buy into Bush’s message that we are fighting terrorism “over there so we don’t have to fight them over here,” it makes the serious error of assuming that Iraqis have no problem with their homes and cities being turned into a “Central Front” for our military endeavors. Iraqis, truth be told, did have many problems with oppression and violence conducted by their government. They did not, however, have a problem with al-Qaeda terrorists or terrorism in general before March 19, 2003. Now, they have Bush Brand Freedomâ„˘ and Democracyâ„˘, but I have to wonder how much that is worth when it results in the deaths of tens of thousands in the space of a few years, so far. Not only that, but take into account the lack of electricity, gas shortages, ethnic and religious sectionalism, the evacuation and destruction of a city of 300,000 (as Falluja experienced), the state of siege in another town (as Ramadi is currently experiencing), daily violence in the form of attacks on individuals and mass bombings, a foreign government setting a stage for them to fight a war on their behalf (as the US wants Iraqis to do so we can “stand down as they step up) and a fractured and divided government that appears constantly to be on the verge of falling apart. You can see where many Iraqis affected by these circumstances might not be completely satisfied with the results of their “liberation.”
At its core, the Bush administration’s war on terror has neither clear definition nor realizable goals. It represents a bottomless pit, into which we are throwing the lives of Americans and Iraqis with no chance of filling. It is a money pit and it sucks material resources for no real benefit in return. We know these things and we know the administration sees no end in sight.
It has been three years and we have little to show for this war except 2,500 dead Americans, 50,000 dead Iraqis, and a $400 billion bill for the war after three years? Simply put, Bush needs to find a much better strategy than the preserving the status quo. If he doesn’t, will we all be willing to accept 5,000 dead Americans, 100,000 dead Iraqis, and an $800 billion war tab in another three years? I certainly will not.