Is the protracted debate on the Democracy & Terror - Discussion forum: moving towards consensus?
I fully agree with Matt's point about dealing with regimes like Saudi Arabia. I also agree that, in addition to his specific aims which I have pointed out, Bin Laden had a wider deeper emotional and religious objectives such as the conversion of the America to Islam, which is clearly a fantasy.
There is an eerie equivalence between the beliefs of the President of Iran's expectations of the return of the 12th Imam at the end of time, and the equally worrying belief of George W Bush that in the Second Coming of Christ, some time after the battle of Armageddon.
Again I accept the existence of deep irrationality and total rejection of Western values - good and not so good - by Islamists, which you continually emphasise.
I am glad that we agree on the unwisdom of the Iraq invasion.
So what should we have in place of the War on terror?
To summarise (as far as I see it - please add points that I overlook)
We need to defend ourselves against Islamist jihadi terrorists through good intelligence and police work, while still maintaining our democratic values and liberties.
We need to remove the many provocations of Muslim sensibilities that exist in the world - US bases on holy Saudi Arabian soil, oppressive and authoritarian secular regimes in Muslim countries, exploitation of Muslim oil, resolution of the Palestine/Israel problem.
There are many tools for this to come about, but my own personal 2p worth is
(a) Withdrawal of Western forces from Iraq, and their replacement with Muslim UN peacekeeping forces (yes, i know that this is highly problematical, not least because we are asking the UN to clean up the mess that we wanted and they opposed, and because it leaves us without the original objective, exclusive rights to Iraqi oil)
(b) The Index of Human Rights in the UN, which will have exert a systemic, continual inhibition on oppressive regimes
(c) A massive New Deal effort to develop sustainability in the Middle East (as a model for the rest of the world)making it ecologically secure in terms of water, food, sustainable energy, housing and waste disposal. The application of human energy, attention and resources towards constructive co-operation will divert the attention of the body of muslim opinion away from preoccupation with resentment and support for the totalist violence of people like Osama Bin Laden.
Are we moving towards some kind of consensus here on how we should respond to Osama Bin Laden? I hope so, because I want to divert my attention and resources back to averting the threat of Pandemic flu http://www.greenhealth.org.uk/AvianFlu.htm
and lobbying for the Index of Human Rights