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Why the 'War on Terrorism' is a strategic mistake

Posted by Jonathan Timbers, Thursday, December 13, 2001

Just for once I agree wholeheartedly with Josh Greenwood though he continues to use the Socialist Worker Party slogan about 'Blair and Bush's war' without distinguising between their increasingly divergent approaches.

The reason why this war is wrong is not because of the inevitable, accidental bombing of civilians, but because after September 11th the US needed to recognise that, as Anthony Giddens put it, democracy needs to exist beyond the nation state and the structures of world governance should be extended. Any action taken against Bin Laden and the Taliban regime should only have occurred after some form of due legal process, and in a way which was proportionate to the offence. Injustice is likely to lead to injustice and Tony Blair's attempts to cloak American foreign policy with concerns about world poverty are beginning to wear thin as the arrogance and brutality of US foreign policy becomes clearer every day following the all-too-easy collapse of the Taliban.

However, their collapse will not destroy the threat of Islamic fundamentalism, not just to the West but to Muslims and non-Muslims in the Middle East, Pakistan and Indonesia; it will re-inforce the power of the Mullahs and the legitimacy of a reactionary and totalitarian ideology, which sustains a power elite within oppressed communities which exploits the anger of those communities for its own ends.

Yes, thank you George Bush for making the arguments of those of us who believe in secular democracy, who are against religious extremism allied to political power an anaethema to millions.