Saturday, February 11, 2006

Terrorism a state of mind

New Blogger J.D Vega said of the war on terror.
Now, bear with me for a moment, but to declare war on a state of mind seems like a bit of an uphill struggle. Unlike the 'War on Drugs' or declaring war on a particular country, where there is a tangible target...You can show a picture of your enemy on the news and say 'We must defeat this enemy', there is no defense against terrorism, there is no way to hunt it down and kill it(no matter how many Afghan caves you look in)
And it has got me thinking. Can you really win a war on terror. If you look at the North the IRA was not defeated in battle while it was weakened by spies etc the Omagh bomb showed that there was still people ready to murder to advance the republican cause. America seems to think that getting Osama will stop the war but if you look at the last two attacks in Madrid and London it was not organised by Osama. You cannot defeat terror solely by killing. True you can eliminate the ring leaders in a hope that the organisation might fall. But if the mind set, the idea, the state of mind still exists to use terrorism then no amount of bombs, armies, fighter jet can ever defeat terrorism. As terrorism is not a tangible thing it is a state of mind. To defeat terrorism you must win the battle for the hearts and minds. Looking at the violence over the Danish cartoons it is clear the we are not the ones winning the hearts and minds of the islamic world.


Cathie said...

amen to that. not only can you not defeat terrorism, but you cannot defeat any ideology. no, communism was not defeated - we see it in china. fascism was not defeated - we see it in iran.

terrorism is a military tactic. just as you cannot defeat the use of a tank in combat, you cannot defeat the use of a road side bomb.

the key is to understand your enemy rather than trying to kill it all. however, if you fight a war based on your own ideology, you are never going to win, because you will never understand what you are fighting against.


Eamonn said...

I agree with the trust of your post Saint. However I would disagree with any assertion that the Americans believe 'that getting Osama will stop the war'.

Getting Osama is important, firstly because it shows all would be terrorists that nobody is untouchable and secondly, after 9/11 it would provide a morale boost amongst the American people. But nobody is under any illusion that once you get him its over.

I also disagee that the war on terror can be defined so narrowly ("..solely by killing")


Simon said...

I would disagree with any assertion that the Americans believe 'that getting Osama will stop the war'.
While a bit exagreated I do think that there is people that believe "war" can win.

Getting Osama is important, firstly because it shows all would be terrorists that nobody is untouchable

Considering the amount of suicide attacks I don' think that is much of a problem.

I also disagee that the war on terror can be defined so narrowly ("..solely by killing")
The biggest stumblinng block to peace i think is the palestinian problem yet Clinton put a lot more effort into that. Solving that or even attempting to would give America a lot of credit. So I have to wonder how wide the definition is. The War on terror shouldn't be defined so narrowly but I think in many ways it is.

J.D Vega said...

Firstly,thanks for the link to my blog;-)

Secondly,I would disagree with tuathal, I know for a fact that the vast majority of Americans believe that once Osama has been captured or killed (if he hasn't died from liver failure already)
, he is villified on the news almost daily, he is paraded as the posterboy for all evil and middle eastern terror...
It is almost understandable, from what they are told, that they believe him to be behind all terror in the world, ever...almost.

Eamonn said...

To begin, I'd like to clarify that I was referring to the American administration, not the American public. Apologies, for the confusion caused.

Saint, my point about getting Osama is valid. Yes there appears to be an unending stream of suicide bombers. However, when was the last time somebody of similar rank to Osama or Al Zaqwari, strapped a bomb to themselves and take their own lives in the name of Allah?

Never, because such men are cowards, who brainwash young men to turn themselves into bombs. Osama is a figureheads of the terrorist network and 'getting' him might dissuade similar cowards from assuming a similar role. Removing the leaders is likely to cause divisions within the ranks also.

The War on terror includes a tough line on terror, whilst simultaneously trying to spread democracy and Western values to places where terrorists currently find refuge and financial backing. Now you may not like the tactics being employed in order to this, but to simply define it as 'solely killing' is inaccurate.

Simon said...

terrorist network i think is fairly loose if in existance at all the real. figure heads are the inams like the guy with the hook they are the real stirers of the shit. osama i think is of less influence.

My point about the war of terror is that to much effort is put on the war part of it. I think a positive American influence in palestine could do more damage to terrorism then getting Osama.

Godwhacker said...

I agree 100% saint.

The one correction I would make is that America does not think that getting Osama will end "The War". We are told constantly by our leaders, especially the neo-cons, that this is a generational struggle with no definable point of victory.

The only way to win this war is the only battle the current administration refuses to fight, the battle for hearts and minds.

planetpotato said...

When they're finished defeating adjectives, maybe they'll move on to the war on adverbs.

"War on terror" is a grammatical nonsense.