The sovereign can no longer say, "You shall think as I do on pain of death;" but he says, "You are free to think differently from me, and to retain your life, your property, and all that you possess; but if such be your determination, you are henceforth an alien among your people."

(Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1835)

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Fighting an enemy who does not exist

In this article, Michael Scheuer, former head of the CIA's Bin Laden unit, turns against the perception in many Western media outlets that Al Qaeda attacks us because they hate what we are and what we stand for. "This contention is a fantasy." This simplistic interpretation of the motivation of terrorists would not be accurate and misrepresent the intentions of the enemy we are fighting all over the world.

Al Qaeda and affiliates have a clear motivation for their attacks on our societies. They are: unconditional support for Israel, the presence of Western troops in Muslim lands and the continuous killing of Muslims all over the world.

Those reasons have been identified by the 9/11 commission and various experts on terrorist groups. Sending our troops into battle against an enemy who irrationally hates us is misleading our soldiers, writes Scheuer. Furthemore, "the current slate of U.S. foreign policies toward the Islamic world generates the basic and most compelling and uniting motivation for our Islamist enemies." Here, European foreign policy could easily be added.

"If we fail to understand that motivation, America cannot shape a war-fighting strategy to either defend those policies or defeat the tenacious, talented, religiously motivated, and growing foe our soldiers, Marines, and CIA officers are now losing to in the field."
We send our troops into war against an enemy that they do not only not understand, but we keep deceiving them about the nature of this very enemy. By doing so, we do not only shed our blood, or Muslim blood, we do also embark on a mission that we cannot win.

No comments:

Post a Comment