The ‘War on Terror’ fuels terrorism

Bush’s “War on Terror” has been going strong for 5+ years. Do you feel any safer? I sure don’t.

The Centre on Law and Security at the NYU Foundation for Mother Jones magazine has some numbers to back up those feelings of insecurity:

It found that the number killed in jihadist attacks around the world has risen dramatically since the Iraq war began in March 2003. The study compared the period between 11 September 2001 and the invasion of Iraq with the period since the invasion. The count — excluding the Arab-Israel conflict — shows the number of deaths due to terrorism rose from 729 to 5,420. As well as strikes in Europe, attacks have also increased in Chechnya and Kashmir since the invasion.

Iraq was the catalyst for a ferocious fundamentalist backlash, according to the study, which says that the number of those killed by Islamists within Iraq rose from seven to 3,122. Afghanistan, invaded by US and British forces in direct response to the September 11 attacks, saw a rise from very few before 2003 to 802 since then. In the Chechen conflict, the toll rose from 234 to 497. In the Kashmir region, as well as India and Pakistan, the total rose from 182 to 489, and in Europe from none to 297. (Source: The Independent UK)

Don’t expect the facts to get in the way of our crusade. What we’re doing in the Middle East isn’t so much about security but about making the Middle East our own personal gas station. Increased violence around the world is a logical outcome of that policy. But instead of dealing with legitimate grievances we respond with more and more brutal force, which alienates more and more moderate muslims.

7 Comments

  1. tsk tsk… correlation does not equal causation. you might be right, or there could be a less… simplistic… answer. hell, the war on terror and the rise in jihadist attacks might be both caused by some unseen third factor.

    But more importantly, this is like saying German attacks on US soldiers skyrocketed after landing our troops in Europe. That, uh, doesn’t really mean we made the wrong decision to go with D-Day.

  2. Chris

    Cameron,
    You have to ask yourself two key questions.

    1) What is the goal in the war on terror?

    2) How do we achieve that goal?

    I think the answer to the first question is to create a Middle East where moderate political and religious views flourish. The second question is tougher, and I’m not sure I have a complete answer, but I can say I think addressing legitimate grievances, like those of the Palestinians is the first step.

    I think our government is not really trying to resolve the problem in any meaningful way. Their answer to the first question is, “who cares? We need to control Middle East oil, and we have a lot of guns.” The second is more along the lines of “Kill as many as we can.” And that mindset is proving to be counterproductive.

  3. chris:

    Where shall I start?

    you never answered cameron’s point.

    you’re way off claiming that the admin answer to (1) is ‘who cares’, when, in fact, you and bush answer the question the same way.

    your answer to (1) is a means, not a goal. the goal should be to protect americans and american interests from those who would do us harm. creating a middle east such as you and bush outline is nothing more than a potential – and unproven – means to that end.

    answering (2) is no more difficult than answering (1). perhaps you’re mixing up coming up with an answer with implementing whatever approach you end up with?

    and while it’s nice that you acknowledge you don’t have a complete answer, it’s a shame that the little you offer up is the same old tired cliche that helping the poor palestinians is the first step to having the world end up holding hands and singing songs around the campfire.

    perhaps that shouldn’t come as a surprise, since you’ve obviously also fallen for the silly line that we’re doing what we’re doing because of oil. how exactly are we trying to control middle east oil? by helping install sovereign governments who are free to do with their oil as they wish? if we were controlling the oil, wouldn’t gas prices be lower?

    what’s the alternative to killing as many terrorists as possible? leaving them alive to continue their life’s mission of killing us? unless you imagine that there is something that we can do today that would lead to every terrorist immedidately laying down their guns and bombs, then, as you profess to be feeling less safe (or is it just not safer?), why in the world would you express a distaste for our efforts to kill them before they kill you?

    as for the seriously flawed study (not the numbers, but the conclusions), are they seriously suggesting (and are you seriously agreeing) that attacks in Afghanistan in 2003 were the result of our invading Iraq…. and not the result of the Taliban and Al Qaeda regrouping after the thumping they took in late 01 and early 02? It’s hard to take seriously anyone who thinks that the Taliban and Al Qaeda accepted their loss of power in Afghanistand and only started up again because they were so upset over the Iraq invasion. Now, if you argued that our invasion of Iraq diverted our attention from afghanistand and allowed the taliban to regroup, that’s one thing… but that’s not what you’re arguing, is it?

    likewise for suggesting that chechnya blew up because of our invasion of Iraq. The russians and the chechans have been going at it long before Bush had the idea of invading Iraq. russia tried to prevent us from invading iraq; what a poor display of gratitude on the chechans to start blowing up things. and the same holds for kashmir: the fighting and hostility there goes back generations, and I’d love to see you try to connect the dots between the fighting there and our invasion of iraq.

    but none of that matters when you’re looking to smack bush, right?

  4. Chris

    Steve,
    I appreciate your long response, I wish I had the energy to reply in kind.

    You’re right, the goal should be to protect American citizens. I think the best means to that goal is to strengthen friendships and help moderation flourish.

    Just about everything we’ve done in the Middle East has been counter to that idea. When we kill Al-Qaeda type terrorists (which I endorse) we also have a knack for causing a lot of collateral damage. We’ve destroyed the infrastructure of Afghanistan and Iraq. We’ve starved thousands. We’ve detained an abused hundreds if not thousands. So, in the end, for every 5 terrorists we kill we plantthe seeds for 15 more.

    That’s why killing terrorists has to accompany intelligent policy that treats Muslims and Arabs as human beings, rather than obstacles to cheap oil.

    Part of what Bin Laden has been preaching to help is recruiting is that the Americans are imperialist inifidels that must be purged from Muslim lands (Saudi Arabia mainly). He also predicted that we would invade the Middle East to control their oil resources. I guess he was right.

    Sure, gas prices haven’t come down a lot yet, but it’s not really about giving the United States cheap access to Iraq’s oil (at least not yet). It’s about reserving strategic power over the oil itself. We can make sure that if push comes to shove, we will have control of Iraqs oil, not Europe, not China, not India, not Russia. And we can use Iraq as a forward base to strike fear in the other countries that work against our interests.

  5. Ian

    Well I feel like correlation does imply causation here, Cameron. If jihadists preach that the US wants to destroy Islam, support the Jews, and claim all of the Middle East and its resources for itself, than we haven’t done much to counter that belief. And I am not saying we should, we shouldn’t have to pander to people like this. However, you have to admit that we have made them look like they are right. If the people over there see us as a threat to their way of life, they will be more willing to fight us. You mention D-Day, but I think you are looking at it the wrong way. We wouldn’t have been in the war if we didn’t perceive that the Axis was threatening us. Same with WW1, we were pacifists until our ships were attacked and the Germans got hostile with us.

    And I don’t think the sole purpose of Iraq was for oil. That region has always been hostile to the US, even our allies over there (i.e. Saudi Arabia) hate our guts and only deal with us for the money. Iraq is more about establishing a long term influence in the region. Once we do finally stop buying oil from the Middle East, whenever it eventually runs out or becomes too expensive and we have to switch to alternatives, that region will be nothing but a hornets nest of religious hate for the US.

    The people who profit from the oil aren’t American citizens, its the oil companies who get to pump crude over there. Americans simply foot the bill on getting rid of the resistance for the oil companies to be able to do so. Personally, I think that if an American company is going to bid on being able to pump crude in Iraq, they should also have to foot some of the bill for this war and the rebuilding of Iraq’s infrastructure since they directly benefit from it.

  6. Chris

    And I don’t think the sole purpose of Iraq was for oil.

    We would not care one iota for the Middle East if the didn’t have oil. We wouldn’t been involved with Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait…

  7. Ian

    I agree absolutely, but this love for oil didn’t just show up before the Iraq war, and just because Iraq has oil, it doesn’t mean that’s why we went there. We went there the first time cause they threatened Kuwait which has our oil, not cause we wanted Iraq’s. I really believe its about getting a foothold in a hostile region and keeping Iran scared. Now we have bases for fighting in borth Saudi Arabia and Iraq.