* Sure, the ‘War on Terror’ is a misnomer. We know the enemy is Islam. But denial and obfuscation and further prevarications just reveal the imbecilic nature of those who are sworn to protect us. It isÂ mind-bogglingÂ that many of our politicians Â miserably fail to understand the basics of the threat.
‘War on terror’ was wrong
The phrase gives a false idea of a unified global enemy, and encourages a primarily military reply
- Thursday 15 January 2009
The terrorist attacks in Mumbai seven weeks ago sent shock waves around the world. Now all eyes are fixed on theÂ Middle East, where Israel’s response to Hamas’s rockets, a ferocious military campaign, has already left a thousand Gazans dead.
Seven years on from 9/11 it is clear that we need to take a fundamental look at our efforts to prevent extremism and its terrible offspring, terrorist violence. Since 9/11, the notion of a “war on terror” has defined the terrain. The phrase had some merit: it captured the gravity of the threats, the need for solidarity, and the need to respond urgently – where necessary, with force. But ultimately, the notion is misleading and mistaken. The issue is not whether we need to attack the use of terror at its roots, with all the tools available. We must. The question is how.
* Comment of the week from posterÂ Lousy Little SixpenceÂ :
Â “I hate the Jews as well, they have nuclear bombs but wont use them to reduce world terrorism”
The idea of a “war on terror” gave the impression of a unified, transnational enemy, embodied in the figure of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida. The reality is that the motivations and identities of terrorist groups are disparate. Lashkar-e-Taiba has roots in Pakistan and says its cause is Kashmir. Hezbollah says it stands for resistance to occupation of the Golan Heights. The Shia and Sunni insurgent groups in Iraq have myriad demands. They are as diverse as the 1970s European movements of the IRA, Baader-Meinhof, and Eta. All used terrorism and sometimes they supported each other, but their causes were not unified and their cooperation was opportunistic. So it is today.
The more we lump terrorist groups together and draw the battle lines as a simple binary struggle between moderates and extremists, or good and evil, the more we play into the hands of those seeking to unify groups with little in common. Terrorist groups need to be tackled at root, interdicting flows of weapons and finance, exposing the shallowness of their claims, channelling their followers into democratic politics.
The “war on terror” also implied that the correct response was primarily military. But as General Petraeus said to me and others in Iraq, the coalition there could not kill its way out of the problems of insurgency and civil strife.
Is this guy for real?
This is what divides supporters and opponents of the military action inGaza. Similar issues are raised by the debate about the response to the Mumbai attacks. Those who were responsible must be brought to justice and the government of Pakistan must take urgent and effective action to break up terror networks on its soil. But on my visit to south Asia this week, I am arguing that the best antidote to the terrorist threat in the long term is cooperation. Although I understand the current difficulties, resolution of the dispute over Kashmir would help deny extremists in the region one of their main calls to arms, and allow Pakistani authorities to focus more effectively on tackling the threat on their western borders.
We must respond to terrorism by championing the rule of law, not subordinating it, for it is the cornerstone of the democratic society. We must uphold our commitments to human rights and civil liberties at home and abroad. That is surely the lesson of GuantÃ¡namo and it is why we welcome President-elect Obama’s commitment to close it.
The call for a “war on terror” was a call to arms, an attempt to build solidarity for a fight against a single shared enemy. But the foundation for solidarity between peoples and nations should be based not on who we are against, but on the idea of who we are and the values we share. Terrorists succeed when they render countries fearful and vindictive; when they sow division and animosity; when they force countries to respond with violence and repression. The best response is to refuse to be cowed.
â€¢ David Miliband is the foreign secretaryÂ firstname.lastname@example.org
In this war, Islamists have found a shared strategy. We haven’t
David Miliband is misguided to claim that the terrorist threat is disaggregated and heterogeneous, writes Matthew d’Ancona.
We need more Assholes like Miliband, say Muslim terrorists:
David Miliband comments on Kashmir welcomed by ‘terrorist’ group
The radical Muslim group linked to the Mumbai attacks has welcomed Foreign Secretary David Miliband’s call for India and Pakistan to resolve their dispute over Kashmir.
By Dean Nelson in New DelhiÂ / Telegraph UK
Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which is said to have been behind the terror assault in which more than 170 people died, has backed comments he made last week during a trip to the region.
The statement will cause further discomfort for Mr Miliband after India reacted angrily to his ‘interference’ in the issue and senior politicians branded his trip a ‘disaster’.
In an article ahead of his visit to India last week, the foreign secretary said the ‘war on terror’ had been mistaken and that individual groups like LeT should be targeted and brought to justice. But solving the Kashmir issue would deny LeT its ‘call to arms’ and free Pakistan to fight al-Qaeda and Taliban militants in its tribal areas.
“Although I understand the current difficulties, resolution of the dispute over Kashmir would help deny extremists in the region one of their main calls to arms, and allow Pakistani authorities to focus more effectively on tackling the threat on their western borders,” he said.
His comments drew an angry response from his Indian hosts. A spokesman for its Ministry of External Affairs said: “We do not need his unsolicited advice on internal matters of India like Jammu and Kashmir.”
The row has now been inflamed further with the comments from an LeT spokesman who described the Foreign Secretary’s intervention as ‘positive’.
He said the group would abandon violence if it could achieve ‘freedom’ for Kashmir through political means as suggested.
In a statement, Abdullah Gaznavi said: “If the world listens to our cries, and plays its role in resolving the Kashmir issue, there is no point continuing the fight.
“Our struggle is only confined to Kashmir and we have no relations or association with armed groups operating at international level. We have no global agenda. We just want freedom of Kashmir and if it comes peacefully we will welcome it. We don’t see armed struggle as the only way to achieve our goal. If the world listens to our cries and play its role in resolving the Kashmir issue there would be no reason for is to fight.”
A senior foreign ministry official in India dismissed Miliband, 43, as “a young man” saying “I guess this is the way he thinks diplomacy is conducted”.
Arun Jaitley, spokesman for the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party label the visit a “diplomatic disaster”.
“In recent years, there has been no bigger disaster than the visit of David Miliband. At the end of his visit, we were having nothing but some… pro-Pakistan comments,” he said.
The LeT statement was issued days after the Pakistani authorities moved decisively against the group, closing down its training camps, schools and hospitals run by its charity, Jamat ud Dawa, and arresting more than 70 senior militants.
Dr Ghaznavi repeated LeT’s denial that it carried out the Mumbai attacks and said it had no links with international groups nor any operational presence in Britain.
The group is believed to have strengthened ties to al-Qaeda and is now regarded as part of the global jihad rather than a simple Kashmiri separatist group.Â