Wednesday, October 11, 2006

# Posted 4:56 PM by Patrick Porter  

ON SAFETY AND VICTORY: Trying to win a war is not exactly the same thing as trying to maximise your immediate safety, as Charles Krauthammer argues:
On the one hand, the American presence [in Iraq] does inspire some to join the worldwide jihad. On the other hand, success in the Iraq project would blunt the most fundamental enlistment tool for terrorism -- the political oppression in Arab lands that is deflected by cynical dictators and radical imams into murderous hatred of the West. Which is why the Bush democracy project embodies the greatest hope for a reduction of terrorism and why the NIE itself concludes that were the jihadists to fail in Iraq, their numbers would diminish.
As I posted recently, recent polls suggest that Iraqis themselves have not been converted by Bin Ladenism. In fact, they demonstrate that Al Qaeda is ultimately self-defeating by its very presence, murderous and alienating as it is. The USA isn't the only side with a 'winning hearts and minds' problem.
(4) opinions -- Add your opinion

The problem we face, I think, is perceptual -- whenever we leave, and leave we will -- we will be seen in the "Arab world"/Arab press (with all due apologies to Edward Said) as leaving because of the jihadi's (given the widespread belief that we were their for oil and basing rights). The "fact" that AQ, et al will be able to claim that they saved the oil/country from occupation and colonianism means that they will get the "movement boost" inevitably. In the long run, development and democracy may may sense...but in the short to medium run as Imperial Hubris points out we may have for strategic reasons (the cold war, oil) boxed ourselves into a "kill the enemny" solution. It is also unclear to me whether the underlying Tom Friendman, world is flat assumption -- that "all people want is prosperity" is true -- I think they're are other incentives that motoviate people, values of tribe, patroitism (I do think that OBL, et al believe themselves to be patriot and defedners of their homes, even if thats not "objectively" true). Perhaps one of the wins we will will have is what you point to -- demonstrate that AQ does not defend the people. However, it is unclear from that polling data whether the objection is to AQ tactics -- civies and bombing mosques -- or AQ stated strategic goals (devending the ummah). Suffice it to say, I'm confused.

Shameless plug: if your misguided enough to think what I said makes sense, come read my blog which I'm restarting. http://theinformationwar.blogspot.com/
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