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    government lies, soldiers get screwed..., 2004-02-25 11:43:22 | Main | hamid karzai - consultant for UNOCAL..., 2004-02-26 11:44:22

    we is winning the war of ideas:

    rather, we already won, and other sundry observations for past and future reference.

    Pew findings indicate that populations supporting terrorist actions are actually disposed favorably to American forms of government, education, economy and personal liberty, despite these people’s trust in Osama Bin Laden and support for suicide actions. Studies by Palestinian political scientist Khalil Shikaki suggest that upwards of 80% of Palestinians consider Israel to have the most admirable form of government, with America next, although numerous polls indicate that 60-70% of Palestinians also express support for suicide attack. An earlier Zogby poll of Arab impressions of America (April 2002) shows the same pattern of support for America’s freedoms and democracy but rejection of its dealings with others [48] – a pattern that undercuts the thesis of a “clash of civilizations” [49] or NSCT’s conclusion of “a clash between civilization and those who would destroy it”. [50]

    As for winning the War of Ideas about democracy and personal freedoms, the Pew survey strongly suggests that Muslim opinion in favor of these values means that war was already won. This raises suspicion that the call to battle against haters of democracy and freedom – like the alarms about Iraq’s imminent use of weapons of mass destruction and its ties to Al-Qaeda[70] - was cynically designed to rally the home front for a strategic push into South and Central Asia. The Pew survey intimates that much of the world – apart from America – thinks so.[71]

    Etc. Whole article is good. via brendan. Related stuff, referenced in the above:

  • The General Account Office report on the counter-terrorism budgetary appropriations has been relocated here.
  • Federal Research Division: Sociology and Pyschology of Terrorism, Sept. 1999. Urges a neutral US policy towards national dissident groups to prevent anti-US terrorism, notes that political solutions are more effective against insurgency and terrorism than counter-insurgency warfare. Points out rather thoroughly that terrorists by and large are not psychopaths, but refrains from directly referencing Kurt Vonnegut's apt prognosis that our own leaders are certifiably nuts:
    Because terrorism is politically or religiously motivated, a counterterrorist policy, to be effective, should be designed to take into account political or religious factors. For example, terrorists were active in Chile during the military regime (1973-90), but counterterrorist operations by democratic governments in the 1990s have reduced them to insignificance. The transition from military rule to democratic government in Chile proved to be the most effective counterterrorist strategy.

    ...A U.S. counterterrorist policy, therefore, should avoid making leaders like Osama bin Laden heroes or martyrs for Muslims. To that end, the eye-for-aneye Israeli policy of striking back for each act of terrorism may be highly counterproductive when applied by the world’s only superpower against Islamic terrorism, as in the form of cruise-missile attacks against, or bombings of, suspected terrorist sites. Such actions, although politically popular at home, are seen by millions of Muslims as attacks against the Islamic religion and by people in many countries as superpower bullying and a violation of a country’s sovereignty. U.S. counterterrorist military attacks against elusive terrorists may serve only to radicalize large sectors of the Muslim population and damage the U.S. image worldwide.

    Rather than retaliate against terrorists with bombs or cruise missiles, legal, political, diplomatic, financial, and psychological warfare measures may be more effective. Applying pressure to state sponsors may be especially effective....

    Jeanne Knutson was critical of the reactive and ad hoc nature of U.S. counterterrorism policy, which at that time, in the early 1980s, was considered an entirely police and security task, as opposed to “...a politically rational, comprehensive strategy to deal with politically motivated violence.” She found this policy flawed because it dealt with symptoms instead of root causes and instead of eradicating the causes had increased the source of political violence. She charged that this policy routinely radicalized, splintered, and drove underground targeted U.S. groups, thereby only confirming the “we-they” split worldview of these groups. Unfortunately, too many governments still pursue purely military strategies to defeat political and religious extremist groups. Abroad, Knutson argued, the United States joined military and political alliances to support the eradication of internal dissident groups without any clear political rationale for such a stance.... She advocated “a necessary stance of neutrality toward national dissident causes—whether the causes involve the territory of historical friend or foe.” She cited the neutral U.S. stance toward the Irish Republican Army (IRA) as a case study of how to avoid anti-U.S. terrorism.

  • The Pew study from June 2003:
    Despite soaring anti-Americanism and substantial support for Osama bin Laden, there is considerable appetite in the Muslim world for democratic freedoms. The broader, 44-nation survey shows that people in Muslim countries place a high value on freedom of expression, freedom of the press, multi-party systems and equal treatment under the law. This includes people living in kingdoms such as Jordan and Kuwait, as well as those in authoritarian states like Uzbekistan and Pakistan. In fact, many of the Muslim publics polled expressed a stronger desire for democratic freedoms than the publics in some nations of Eastern Europe, notably Russia and Bulgaria.

    All of which seems to be born out by experience. This apparently has yet to sink into the brains of some Democrats.


:: posted by buermann @ 2004-02-26 10:47:31 CST | link





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