Sunday, October 07, 2007

When British thinktank professors rule the world...

Lovely... a UK professor writes a report, and the headline seized upon? "Report says war on terror is fuelling al Qaeda". The mere existance of a think tank paper makes it a fact? Oh to be spared from sensationalist news reporters...

Paul Rogers of Oxford Research Group and openDemocracy fame, author of this all knowing report from the gods, has figured out how to "contain" and "minimize" AQ. To his credit, Mr. Rogers at least has the wisdom to include all factions of the global Islamic jihadist movement. From one of his openDemocracy columns:

In the five and a half years since - a period of spreading conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon, and persistent al-Qaida attacks - the "war on terror" has metamorphosed into an even wider "long war against Islamofascism". This embraces a host of suspects: al-Qaida itself; the Taliban; Islamist militias in Pakistan, Somalia, north Africa, Thailand and the Philippines; all the differing insurgent groups in Iraq; Hamas in Palestine; Hizbollah in Lebanon; and now the Revolutionary Guard in Iran.

Yep... all those groups were always bad guys, and had a history of cooperation when it suited their mutual purposes. Our presence in Iraq has not changed them from Boy Scouts to terrorists. But it is refreshing to see at least Rogers recognizes that bad guys are not just those who run around in "I heart AQ" tee-shirts.

But unfortunately, the "credit due" from me to Mr. Rogers ends there. Some of his suggestions to "contain" and "minimize" Islamic jihadists, via the Reuters article:

"If the al Qaeda movement is to be countered, then the roots of its support must be understood and systematically undercut," said Paul Rogers, the report's author and professor of global peace studies at Bradford University in northern England.

"Combined with conventional policing and security measures, al Qaeda can be contained and minimized but this will require a change in policy at every level."

Well, Mr. Rogers. I suspect Islamic jihadists have helped us to understand them completely. They have made no secret of their quest for a massive and pure Caliphate/fundamental Muslim state that encompasses most of Europe and Asia, including all of the Middle East. Also I suspect that we "get it" that those who do not comply or convert, Muslim or western, will be violently killed. Hang... we'll be killed just by being in the wrong place at the right time. "Collateral damage" has no meaning to terrorists.

This of course begs to ask, just what part of this simple "understanding" of the root cause of Islam jihadism is the think tank elitist missing?

I can't find his advertised report, "Alternatives to the War on Terror" available online yet. But he does give a few more synopses in the Reuters article.

The report -- Alternatives to the War on Terror -- recommended the immediate withdrawal of all foreign troops from Iraq coupled with intensive diplomatic engagement in the region, including with Iran and Syria.

In Afghanistan, Rogers also called for an immediate scaling down of military activities, an injection of more civil aid and negotiations with militia groups aimed at bringing them into the political process.

If such measures were adopted it would still take "at least 10 years to make up for the mistakes made since 9/11."

"Failure to make the necessary changes could result in the war on terror lasting decades," the report added.

Immediate withdrawal. Which of course translates to immediate infusion of global Islamic jihadists just waiting for that moment. So that's pretty much a fantasy there. But diplomatic engagement with Iran and Syria?

Not with the current regimes, Mr. Rogers. Need I point out to such a notable scholar (who's no young spring chicken, so lack of historic perspective is not an excuse), that N. Korea lied to Clinton/Albright's faces with a so-called non-proliferation agreement, then went on to build nukes anyway? And what of the nukes they haven't destroyed as of this phase... is it possible that when they prove to the world they've gotten rid of them (if they do...), that they did so by passing them along to, say, Syria? The two have been uncomfortably "tight" of late.

Or maybe Rogers slept thru Saddam's lies and scorn for all his UN resolutions, his undercover funding of jihadist assaults, as documented in his regime notes. Or perhaps the professor is blissfully unaware that the Sudanese in Darfur continue to thumb their noses to UN intervention? Perhaps he doesn't realize that the increased problems in Afghanistan are happening under NATO/UN command, and not the US Coalitions?

Let's face it... diplomatic relations and dialogue with despots has a particularly ugly history and noted lack of desired results. They are willing only as long as it fits in with their divine aspirations.

First serious problem with diplomacy and dialogue, major cultural differences. There are no economic carrots that can legitmately be offered to help their nations rise in industry and modernization. These leaders of countries advocate fundamental Islam as rule, which reverts a nation back to a third world country as fast as you can say "burka". They want nothing from the free nations but to be left alone to hang gays, stone women, and decapitate infidels at will.

But take heart. Possibly the only thing worse than think tank professors ruling the world would be dangerously uninformed or clueless media types. First one that comes to mind... at least for today... is Jonathan Alter of Newsweek. He's a tad put out that the Democrats don't have a good "bumper sticker" for their war policy like the GOP does with "the war on terror". And he's also worried they haven't conveyed an exit strategy that doesn't make them look like "surrender monkeys". Hummm... probably because their exit strategy IS surrender, and offering up Iraq as the sacrificial lamb is just a bonus. So it's pretty hard to dodge that bullet.

Now Alter's got his own suggestion... "pull and strike"... taking a cue from Clinton's war in the Balkans, "lift and strike".

Now, Democrats should embrace what I like to call "pull and strike"—pull forces from the streets of Baghdad, but strike hard at Qaeda positions in the Sunni areas and in Afghanistan, mostly from air bases outside Iraq. In other words, saying no to the folly of intervening in a civil war between Iraqi Sunnis and Shiites isn't enough. Critics must also say yes—loudly—to calling in airstrikes on foreign fighters, who are increasingly being identified by friendly local sheiks determined to chase them out of their country.

Yes folks. Mr. Alter apparently forgets that Bin Laden and his band of merry head choppers was pissed at the west for over a decade... their attacks increasing in intensity and size until 911. And why? Because the US had a base on the Arabian Peninsula. We weren't in Iraq or Afghanistan then... remember Jonathan? Guess not.

So no matter how clever a title Jonathan Alter wants to slap on the Democratic "plan" - pull and strike, redeploy, or cut and run - it all amounts to the same thing. If you don't get out of Arab lands totally, deserting Europe and young Arab democracies to terrorist elements, you've done nothing to keep this country safe. You've just merely postponed the inevitable, and left others to fend for themselves.

How can those who pen articles be so utterly divorced for history? Unbelievable.

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