Monday, October 06, 2014

Are we winning the war on terror?
The barbaric murder of hostages by ISIS, their genocidal move against the Yazisis, Shia, Christians, Druze and others, and their murder of prisoners of war is calculated to generate anger against them. The UK has decided to join in with bombs, the general line of reasoning being, "Oh look those people over there have gone stark staring mad! They're having a bloodbath! Let's join in, shall we? Yes, let's join in because their actions have made me really mad".

Emotion is understandable, but it is not a good basis to make big political decisions. Therefore, let us review the whole "War on Terror" rationally.

It began 13 years ago, after the attack on the World Trade Centre. When the war on Terror began, it was just against Al Qaeda, whose core membership at that time numbered 170.

Now, apart from Al-Qaeda in Pakistan, AQ have affiliates, in Somalia, Nigeria, Yemen, Egypt, and of course, ISIS in Syria and Iraq, although AQ have decided that ISIS are too violent to be in the AQ gang. I do not have numbers, but it is safe to assume that these groups add up to more than 170.

Since 2001, terrorists have struck in Bali, Casablanca, Istanbul, Madrid, London, Algiers, Glasgow, Fort Hood and Marrakech. Over and above these 9 attacks, there are 16 plots associated with AQ that were foiled, not by military action, but by police and secret service operations.

At first glance, therefore, it would seem that the War on Terror has not been a rip-roaring success. in fact, it looks as if the more we have fought against terrorism, the more terrorists have appeared.
There must be scholars who have studied this question, who can put numbers to the impression. What is the point of scholars if they don't tell us what they know?

This was predicted at the outset, not only by Greens and Quakers, but also by the likes of Sir David Omand, who held the the post of Security and Intelligence Coordinator in the Cabinet Office from June 2003 until April 2005.

Robert Pape Political science professor at university of Chicago, argues that suicide terrorism around the world is related to military occupation,

So at first glance, it certainly looks as if the War on Terror (which is not even called the War on Terror any more, because the term is an embarrassment to those who back it) has actually increased the radicalisation of Muslim youth, and has created more terrorists than there were in the beginning.

Our main defence against terrorism is police and intelligence services, not the military. But in the end, we are ruled by tabloid editors, who are notoriously emotional. They are fired up emotionally, so there must be bombing. Even if it does make the situation worse.

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