In a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, George Soros speaks boldly, and urgently:
The war on terror is a false metaphor that has led to counterproductive and self-defeating policies. Five years after 9/11, a misleading figure of speech applied literally has unleashed a real war fought on several fronts -- Iraq, Gaza, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Somalia -- a war that has killed thousands of innocent civilians and enraged millions around the world...
Soros cites four factors which make the so-called "war on terror" self-defeating:
First, war by its very nature creates innocent victims....The deaths, injuries and humiliation of civilians generate rage and resentment among their families and communities that in turn serves to build support for terrorists.
Second, terrorism is an abstraction. It lumps together all political movements that use terrorist tactics. Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Sunni insurrection and the Mahdi army in Iraq are very different forces, but President Bush's global war on terror prevents us from differentiating between them and dealing with them accordingly....
Third, the war on terror emphasizes military action while most territorial conflicts require political solutions....
Fourth, the war on terror drives a wedge between "us" and "them." We are innocent victims. They are perpetrators. But we fail to notice that we also become perpetrators in the process; the rest of the world, however, does notice....
In conclusion, Soros calls for a repudiation of this failed, and fallacious approach:
An endless war waged against an unseen enemy is doing great damage to our power and prestige abroad and to our open society at home. It has led to a dangerous extension of executive powers; it has tarnished our adherence to universal human rights; it has inhibited the critical process that is at the heart of an open society; and it has cost a lot of money. Most importantly, it has diverted attention from other urgent tasks that require American leadership, such as finishing the job we so correctly began in Afghanistan, addressing the looming global energy crisis, and dealing with nuclear proliferation.
With American influence at low ebb, the world is in danger of sliding into a vicious circle of escalating violence. We can escape it only if we Americans repudiate the war on terror as a false metaphor. If we persevere on the wrong course, the situation will continue to deteriorate. It is not our will that is being tested, but our understanding of reality.
George Soros, A Self-Defeating WarWall Street Journal, 8-15-06
Unfortunately, few political leaders or news media propapundigandists have Soros's courage. And unless such courage is summoned...well, just consider this recent story from Sri Lanka (Sri Lankan military spokesman Brigadier Athula Jayawardana is quoted as saying "If the children are terrorists, what can we do?"), and ask yourself if you are willing to participate in, and whether or not any government should paint itself into such a corner:
The Sri Lankan government has defied growing condemnation and declared that it considered children and young people killed in an air strike to be combatants and legitimate targets. "If the children are terrorists, what can we do?" said a military spokesman, Brigadier Athula Jayawardana. The government claimed that children killed and injured in the bombing on Monday were child soldiers conscripted by the Tamil Tiger rebels. The United Nations children's organisation, Unicef, condemned the air strike as "shocking" in a statement issued in Geneva and New York. Unicef's head, Ann Veneman, said: "These children are innocent victims of violence."
The Tamil Tigers are known to use conscripted child soldiers. But Unicef said its information indicated that those killed in the air strike were schoolchildren attending a first aid course. And there was international concern yesterday at the government's statement that it was prepared to target and kill child soldiers....The Tamil Tigers said that 61 schoolgirls were killed in the air strike, but no one has been able to confirm that figure....The Sri Lankan government yesterday said that what it hit was a Tiger military base, showing journalists what it said were aerial photographs of firing ranges and weapons stores at the site....Unicef estimates that the Tigers currently have 1,300 child soldiers in their ranks, with an average age of 16...
Sri Lankan army warns children can be targe, Independent, 8-6-06
Hard Rain Journal 8-15-06: From Slaughter to Stalemate? Rabin's Murder Looms Ever Larger...An Update on the Tragedy in Israel and Lebanon
Hard Rain Journal 7-28-06: Lebanon Update -- Cheney-Zawahiri Synergy, Poisonous Blossoming of Malign Neglect, & Israelis Smashing the Mirror
Hard Rain Journal 7-25-06: As the Next Bait & Switch Get Pulled, Remember Osama Bin Laden & the Child Brides of Afghanistan
Hard Rain Journal 7-19-06: Neo-Con Fingerprints on the Israeli Offensive in Lebanon, Meanwhile in Afghanistan...
Hard Rain Journal 7-17-06: Middle East Update -- Voices of Reason From Within The Whirlwind
Hard Rain Journal 6-15-06: Foreign Affairs survey of 100 US policy leaders grades Bush-Cheney "failed" at 1.8 out of 10
Hard Rain Journal 6-14-06: Wrongly Premised “War on Terrorism” has Increased Danger from Terrorism, and Ignored Greater Risks
Words of Power #23: A Reality Check, What A Real World War on Terrorism Would Look Like, and a US Mid-Term Election Strategy
Words of Power #15: Bring Me the Head of Osama, Nero Fiddles while the Planet Burns, Religion as the Crystal Meth of the People, & The Democrats' Plan
GS3 Intelligence Special Supplement (2-4-06): Iran, Hamas, Islamic Fundamentalism, Terrorism, Geopolitical Hegemony, The Great Game & Danish Cartoons
Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and http://www.wordsofpower.net. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to www.wordsofpower.net
Israel, Lebanon, Bush, Cheney, Hezbollah, Geopolitics, Middle East, Iran, Syria, Sri Lanka, George Soros, Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda, Terrorism, Child Soldiers, Tamil Tigers, Hamas, Afghanistan