Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cause and Effect in the War on Terror

As I've already noted, US intelligence prior to the invasion of Iraq predicted in increase in support for political Islam if the US were to invade. It also predicted an increase in support for terrorist objectives. The subsequent data analysis have shown that the invasion has had the effect of increasing jihadi terrorism seven fold.

There are a couple of additional data points that confirm the same thing. In 2004 Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld commissioned the Defense Science Board Task Force to evaluate the effects of the wars on terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan on terrorism and Islamic radicalism. The report is available via pdf here. Here's an excerpt (HT Greenwald).

American direct intervention in the Muslim World has paradoxically elevated the stature of and support for radical Islamists, while diminishing support for the United States to single-digits in some Arab societies.
  • Muslims do not “hate our freedom,” but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf states.
  • Thus when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy. Moreover, saying that “freedom is the future of the Middle East” is seen as patronizing, suggesting that Arabs are like the enslaved peoples of the old Communist World — but Muslims do not feel this way: they feel oppressed, but not enslaved.
  • Furthermore, in the eyes of Muslims, American occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq has not led to democracy there, but only more chaos and suffering. U.S. actions appear in contrast to be motivated by ulterior motives, and deliberately controlled in order to best serve American national interests at the expense of truly Muslim self determination.

More recently the former head of MI5, that is the UK's domestic intelligence agency, is repeating the same thing. British involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has caused skyrocketing terrorist efforts directed against Britain.

The fact of the matter is reduction in Islamic terrorism is not a priority. Our government was aware that invasions would increase Islamic terrorism before the invasion occurred. They have been made aware of the effects of these invasions and how they have radically increased Islamic terrorism, but they don't care and continue to pursue the very policies that lead to the increase in Islamic terrorism. Why? Obviously other goals are more important.


HispanicPundit said...

Im curious Jon, what are those "other" goals? Specifically in Afghanistan.

Jon said...

For one thing it's a location that is very important for control of the important resources. For another it's rich in mineral resources, which has been known for a long time. I'm not exactly sure what the main reason is. One thing that is important to recognize is that the official benevolent reasons are the type of reasons always offered by an invading army. So those mean nothing, since they are basically reflexive. But when you consider that these official reasons make little sense in that they work counter to the stated goals you can be sure that there is in fact a real reason that probably conforms to historical norms. Usually that means resource control/wealth extraction.