In Esquire, on December 3, 2008, John H. Richardson wrote an article titled: The Number Cruncher Who Knows How to End Terrorism.
He writes “The question was so obvious, nobody thought to ask it: How does terrorism end? After the attacks in Mumbai one week ago, it bears answering now.”
Graph found at: The Terrorism Index – Second Bi-annual, Nonpartisan Survey of Foreign Policy Experts from the Center for American Progress and Foreign Policy – February 13, 2007
Richardson writes that Seth Jones, “an analyst for the Rand Corporation, has found that 40 percent of terrorist groups are defeated by police and intelligence operations. Forty-three percent end because they give up violence and join the political process. Only 7 percent end as a result of military force…Military force is often just too blunt an instrument, Jones says. History proves that the clearest path to success is using local police and intelligence agencies that have deep local knowledge.”
The most obvious and seemingly successful strategy was to “follow the money” and “according to the index’s experts, those efforts are working—perhaps better than any other policy initiative. At the same time we should remember that ” terrorists do not need large sums of cash to be deadly effective.”
Who contributed to the report? “the Terrorism Index…participants include people who have served as secretary of state and national security advisor, senior White House aides, top commanders in the U.S. military, seasoned intelligence officers, and distinguished academics and journalists. Eighty percent of the experts have served in the U.S. government—more than half in the executive branch, 26 percent in the military, and 18 percent in the intelligence community.”
The “war on terror” for the United States has been ongoing since the 1970’s. Ronald Reagan used the expression “war on terrorism” in the 1980’s. al-Qaeda as an organisation originally started during the 10 year (1979-1989) Soviet invasion and war in Afghanistan. The United States supported the Islamist mujahedeen (essentially the Taliban) guerillas against Soviet Union. As a result of the Soviets losing the war and their eventual withdrawal, the Taliban took over the country and started a Fundamentalist Islamic terror regime. Osama bin Laden used Afghanistan as a base of operations against western powers and specifically the United States. bin Laden was a disaffected Saudi who blamed the Saudi regime for allowing the infidel troops of the United States to build a military base in the country. He also believed the US was attempting to take over the region in order to control its oil resources.
As the United States deepened its involvement it literally threw cash, millions of dollars, at various warlords attempting to buy their support in an attempt to force a regime change and to catch bin Laden. They (sort of) succeeded with the first, we will see how long it lasts. They did not succeed at the bin Laden attempt and only after years of “following the money” and the careful monitoring of the movements of bin Laden supporters was the US military able to allegedly murder bin Laden and dump his body in the ocean. Thereby President Obama the Bomber forever setting into concrete literally thousands of conspiracy theories about why they did not attempt to capture him, why they did not bring back his body for positive identification, or was he even really killed by the Navy Seals? Whoever thought up that scenario should have been relieved. Unfortunately Obama the Bomber claimed responsibility and he can only be removed by impeachment and being found guilty by the US Senate and House of Representatives. Of course we know they are quite gutless in their pursuit of “Truth, Justice and the American Way” that used to be and are not inclined to disturb the cash cow to which they entitle themselves.
The “rhetorical war on terror” is used as a means to convince United States citizens of the evil designs of terrorists. Many, if not most, terrorists probably are evil, if you believe that evil exists. Edward R. Murrow warned us that “We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.” which includes the US “Homeland (In)Security,” NSA spying on citizens and “black op” assassination squads. Unfortunately, maligning Muslims goes with the territory, most of the rhetoric blaming this or that attack nearly always has “Islamic” or “Muslim” attached to the word terrorist. To the Muslim world it appears that the United States has declared war on Islam through its rhetoric.
As example, comments by John Ashcroft include “the attacks of September 11 drew a bright line of demarcation between the civil and the savage,” terrorists are “hateful, treacherous, barbarous, mad, twisted, perverted, without faith, parasitical, inhuman, and, most commonly, evil.” Americans, in contrast are usually described as “brave, loving, generous, strong, resourceful, heroic, and respectful of human rights.”
If you were an Afghani or Iraqi, and your neighborhood had been targeted by US troops, their artillery, bombs and drones, you might not use the same adjectives to describe the United States and its people. If a foreign country sent drones to slam into “select” housing areas in suburbs of the United States killing all the occupants, the citizens living in those areas would be rightfully enraged and would scream for revenge (maybe not so rightfully). 9/11 is an example of the result of that need for revenge. Those jihadists who would pervert the minds of impressionable Muslim men and women whose homes or those of people they know have been similarly destroyed, use the same words of the venerable Mr Ashcroft to describe the USA as an “Evil Empire” or “Satan.”
Critics argue that the “war on terror” has been used to justify unilateral preventive war, human rights abuses and other violations of international law. These include extrajudicial assassinations of US citizens, counting any male dead in a drone attack as “combatants,” and massive covert spying on US citizens contrary to the rights clearly described in the US Constitution. All in the name of protecting freedom and democracy. We should recall Mr. Murrow but change his quote to say “We cannot defend freedom at home by deserting it abroad.”
The earlier noted Mr. Richardson tells us “the underlying problem with American strategy in the war against terrorism is America’s historical reluctance to engage on a deep level with foreign governments…”This is the death knell of any counterinsurgency,” Jones says. “If you do not have the government, you’re going to lose.”
The United States has a very short memory. The Vietnam War was lost because Americans lost all interest (if it ever had any) in the country and people of Vietnam and the military was hardly capable of “winning hearts and minds” except by killing them. Since the end of that war in 1975, the United States government has been guilty of selective amnesia about how to “win the peace” and it has engaged in a propaganda campaign to make sure US citizens live in a constant state of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD).