Thursday, August 04, 2005

War on Terrorism 'Name Change'

I always enjoyed The West Wing and thought it was one of the better TV shows on at the time. The show creator, Aaron Sorkin, always claimed the show wasn't bias towards democrats (the fictional President is a democrat) but I never agreed with him. I'm hoping this upcoming show, Commander-in-Chief, won't have that fault. The New Republic has the info here (reg required).

Also check out this interesting article discussing the impact of the drug war on Puerto Rico and this article from Middle East scholar Oliver Roy who knows exactly what the real roots of Islamic terrorism are.
This Frenchman wrote a book called 'The Failure of Political Islam' which argued that Islamism has had its day because where ever implemented it has failed (i.e. failed to achieve the goals it sets, not what others set for it). He thus argues Muslims will reject Islamism once its put into practise. An example is Iran where the youth (under 30's represent 2/3'rds of the population) widely despise the current regime.
While Oliver Roy often brillant I think this is a good example of some of the bad ideas coming from Middle East scholars. I really do fail to see how he used Iran as an example, after all, the damage the regime have done (e.g. continuing the Iran-Iraq war for years after Saddam wanted to give up or giving decades of support to terrorism groups like Hezbollah) has been enormous. Daniel Pipes has a good review of the book avaliable here.

[Update: The change in name is not going ahead. From NY Times (free reg required) - President Makes It Clear: Phrase Is 'War on Terror']

Also this caught my attention: A slogan change from 'Global War on Terrorism' (GWOT) to 'Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism' (GSAVE). Pathetic. A cosmetic change like this will do nothing. A fundamental change is in order.
Its war within Islam. A battle for the soul of Islam. It is not 'terrorism' (which is merely a tactic of the weak - a form of asymmetrical warfare) . It's all about ISLAMIC EXTREMISM, an interpretation of the religion which inspires a cult of death. It doesn't matter if its Sunni (as it often is) extremism or Shi'ite extremism (say Hezbollah or Sadr in Iraq) - what matters is that its Islamic. Daniel Pipes nails it:

TONY JONES: Is it as narrowly defined as that though? Is it that Washington simply isn't interested in other forms of terrorism?
DANIEL PIPES: No, there are American troops in such countries as the Philippines, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Yemen, Pakistan, all of them concentrating on militant Islam.There are no American troops for example in Sri Lanka or Peru, where there are very virulent terrorist problems but they're not connecting to militant Islam.


In fact, I would argue that by focusing on militant Islam you become aware that moderate Muslims who form the bulk of the Muslim population are our allies.They're very important in this war.These are the people who suffer first, the predations of militant Islam in such countries as Afghanistan where we saw the response when people were freed or Algeria or Turkey or Egypt all over the world.It's not an insult to Muslims. Muslims understand that there is this ideology, which is very radical, which is targeting them first.

A clear definition is the beginnings of any analysis. When the American government can't even define the issue properly, how is it expected to conduct anything else right?


At 11:27 AM, Blogger PC said...

Don't agree with you on the unwatchable 'West Wing,' James, but your points apropos Pipes are spot on, as I say on my blog this morning. :-)

At 2:15 PM, Blogger James said...

We haven't agreed much yet on asethetics have we? Cheers for the link :)

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