Monday, July 11, 2005

They Do Not Need To Win

The terrorism that struck London last week is not some attack on 'the Western way of life'. It is not because of Big Macs, Reality TV, and beach thongs that hoards of terrorist recruits are lining up to join this new multinational criminal enterprise or global insurgency, if you prefer. Yet, almost four years after 9/11, we continue to hear the same old garbage from the same old people. They just don’t get it or don't want to get it and as long as they don’t, we shall continue to fail on this issue. The same terrorists that struck London, also struck major Muslim centers since 9/11, namely Casablanca, Istanbul, Cairo, Doha, Karachi, Jeddah, and Riyadh- not to mention their killing spree in Baghdad. They have attacked far more Muslim cities than they have Western cities. So, why is it that only when these murderers attack a Western city that Sam Huntington’s washed-out theory of clashing civilizations becomes gospel again? Were those civilizations clashing when innocent Moroccans, Turks, Egyptians, Qataris, Pakistanis, Saudis, and Iraqis were maimed and killed? I am tired of false theories and flat-out incompetence on this issue, and there is plenty of blame to go around, believe me.

First, I blame us. When I say us, I mean the Muslim world. Whether we like it or not, these murderers are our responsibility. They are our cockroaches and they are infesting the world with poisonous murder. We allowed them to take charge of our future while we were busy sipping coffee at the corner store. These criminals can never prosper without a “cause” and we allowed them to shape that “cause” to their liking and usher our children into the battlefields of hate and murder. Thomas Friedman recently wrote a column in the New York Times calling for the Muslim world to shame the terrorists. He is right to suggest that the likes of Al Qaeda can only be defeated by “the Muslim village”, because Friedman, I suppose, has gotten to understand what others in the West continue to ignore: It’s the cause, hence recruitment, stupid. That’s what allows these organizations to thrive and the only group that would be able to choke the ideological lines that lead to terrorist recruitment are Muslims. Muslims have to pry their grievances from the clutches of the terrorists and claim ownership of Muslim advocacy. Where Friedman falls short is in his apparent failure to recognize the generation gap that now exists in the Muslim world. Condemnations by "village elders", so to speak, are no longer enough because the al-Zarqawis of the world do no give a hoot what the old scholars at Al Azhar say or do. It will take the whole village.

Second, I blame us again. This time by us I mean the West, most particularly the US. We have become in this new era of Paris Hilton TV stubbornly selfish and decidedly stupid. See, the 'way-of-life' argument I raised in my opening paragraph is grossly misplaced; it is not a causal component at the source but rather a problematic element of the response. We have outsourced our intellectual capacity to the guy on the TV screen and allowed the politics of fear, incompetence and arrogance to dictate the course of policy in this country. It is still the Policy Stupid. We sit and listen to mouth-foaming ignoramuses like O’Reilly and company and never take the time to research, analyze, and construct – hence, denying our brain its most basic functions. It’s whatever that guy says!! In the meanwhile, new recruits are being trained in urban terrorism in Iraq and it is a matter of time before the Al-Zarqawi brigades, which are a whole lot stealthier and far more dangerous, reek havoc around the world (so much for "fighting them over there so that we don't fight them here" nonesense). With our vulgar mismanagement of post-war Iraq, we have handed Al Qaeda a second base there and a new cause to expand their recruitment. We have not yet come to understand that the likes of Al Qaeda do not need to win. Their whole existence is predicated on conflict and terrorism. They feed off military responses like maggots on rotting flesh– that’s their fuel, their best recruiting tool. You bomb Iraq, they say: “Thank you very much, we’ll take that. What else have you got for me? Abu Ghraib? Fallujah? have you considred bombing Tehran or Damascus?”.

Global attitude surveys (see my previous post) show widespread resentment of American policy including in countries considered to be this nation's closest allies. Such mounting resentment can provide fertile ground for terrorist recruitment (providing unity of purpose for anger). As Alexis de Tocqueville once said: “Shared hatreds are almost always the basis of friendships.” Secretary Rumsfeld has acknowledged in a leaked memo last year that there was no way to measure Al Qaeda recruitment across the globe. Have you asked why that is?

When we do try to answer that important question fully and honestly then maybe, and just maybe, demands for correct attitudes, sound policies and more accountability on the issue of terrorism would become the new fashion, or shall I say "the new fad". In the meanwhile, turn that TV off, would ya?


Blogger laurenbove said...

IDB to say...hello and wonderful link. Thanks for the tip. I'm not up on my blogging these days as you can imagine. I'll be posting more meaningfully very soon.

thanks jawad.

July 13, 2005

Anonymous barney g. said...

Great post, Jawad


September 13, 2005


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