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Subject: Our enemy is not terrorism
eplzaft    5/14/2004 12:18:46 AM
'Our Enemy Is Not Terrorism' The former Secretary of the Navy and current member of the Kean Commission investigating the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States (center) addressed the U.S. Naval Institute 130th Annual Meeting and Annapolis Naval History Symposium on 31 March. Following is an edited version of his remarks “We are at a juncture today that really is more of a threshold, even more of a watershed, than the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was in 1941. We are currently in a war, but it is not a war on terrorism. In fact, that has been a great confusion, and the sooner we drop that term, the better. This would be like President Franklin Roosevelt saying in World War II, "We are engaged in a war against kamikazes and blitzkrieg." Like them, terrorism is a method, a tool, a weapon that has been used against us. And part of the reason we suffered such a horrific attack is that we were not prepared. Let's not kid ourselves. Some very smart people defeated every single defense this country had, and defeated them easily, with confidence and arrogance. There are many lessons we must learn from this. We were not prepared intellectually. Those of us in the national security field still carried the baggage of the Cold War. We thought in concepts of coalition warfare and the Warsaw Pact. When we thought of terrorism, we thought only of state-sponsored terrorism, which is why the immediate reaction of many in our government agencies after 9/11 was: Which state did it? Saddam, it must have been Saddam. We had failed to grasp, for a variety of reasons, the new phenomenon that had emerged in the world. This was not state-sponsored terrorism. This was religious war. This was the emergence of a transnational enemy driven by religious fervor and fanaticism. Our enemy is not terrorism. Our enemy is violent, Islamic fundamentalism. None of our government institutions was set up with receptors, or even vocabulary, to deal with this. So we left ourselves completely vulnerable to a concerted attack. Where are we today? I'd like to say we have fixed these problems, but we haven't. We have very real vulnerabilities. We have not diminished in any way the fervor and ideology of our enemy. We are fighting them in many areas of the world, and I must say with much better awareness of the issues and their nature. We're fighting with better tools. But I cannot say we are now safe from the kind of attack we saw on 9/11. I think we are much safer than we were on 9/11; the ability of our enemies to launch a concerted, sophisticated attack is much less than it was then. Still, we're totally vulnerable to the kinds of attacks we've seen in Madrid, for instance. We face a very sophisticated and intelligent enemy who has been trained, in many cases, in our universities and gone to school on our methods, learned from their mistakes, and continued to use the very nature of our free society and its aversion to intrusion in privacy and discrimination to their benefit. For example, today it is still a prohibited offense for an airline to have two people of the same ethnic background interviewed at one time, because that is discrimination. Our airline security is still full of holes. Our ability to carry out covert operations abroad is only marginally better than it was at the time of 9/11. A huge amount of fundamental cultural and institutional change must be carried out in the United States before we can effectively deal with the nature of the threat. Today, probably 50 or more states have schools that are teaching jihad, preaching, recruiting, and training. We have absolutely no successful programs even begun to remediate against those efforts. It's very important that people understand the complexity of this threat. We have had to institute new approaches to protecting our civil liberties—the way we authorize surveillance, the way we conduct our immigration and naturalization policies, and the way we issue passports. That's only the beginning. The beginning of wisdom is to recognize the problem, to recognize that for every jihadist we kill or capture—as we carry out an aggressive and positive policy in Afghanistan and elsewhere—another 50 are being trained in schools and mosques around the world. This problem goes back a long way. We have been asleep. Just by chance about six months ago, I picked up a book by V. S. Naipaul, one of the great English prose writers. I love to read his short stories and travelogues. The book was titled Among the Believers (New York: Vintage, 1982) and was an account of his travels in Indonesia, where he found that Saudi-funded schools and mosques were transforming Indonesian society from a very relaxed, syncretist Islam to a jihadist fundamentalist fanatical society, all paid for with Saudi Arabian funding. Nobody paid attention. Presidents in four administrations put their arms around Saudi ambassadors, ignored the Wahhabi jihadism, and said these are our eternal frie
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doggtag    RE:Our enemy is not terrorism   5/14/2004 12:51:08 AM
My argument is that our greatest enemy is ignorance. American ignorance, in that so much of the rest of the world is not understood by enough of us. And our American pride always tries to "puff itself up" to the point we don't see the level of ignorance we really have. Then there is the ignorance the rest of the world has about America. Basing all their beliefs from what they see on TV and in their biased media networks. Their ignorant religious leaders only adding fuel to the fire with false prophecies against "the great Satan" that they do not fully understand. It is their lack of understanding us that bestows fear upon them, so they "puff themselves up" and act like they can destroy the great western beast "because Allah is with them". It is my fear that as poverty increases in many corners of the world, such easily manipulated people will bare their ignorance to us all and there shall the world be destroyed.
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eplzaft    RE:Our enemy is not terrorism   5/14/2004 1:25:15 AM
Ignorance is a terrible thing, often caused by governments restricting education. Schooling in a “madras” is not an education, it is indoctrination. Much of the world’s lack of US knowledge lies at the feet of the US media’s misinformation and self flagellation. Please reread the paragraph describing Indonesia. The change in culture is due to neither poverty, nor lack of “education”. It is a result of muslim religious leaders, funded by the wealth of a muslim nation, eliminating education as you and I know it. For too long, the rest of the world has ignored this. It is time for you to decide if you will defend yourself from those that avow to enslave you and your children, or to defend those who declare themselves your enemy. It's your decision.
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ilpars    RE:Our enemy is not terrorism   5/14/2004 3:18:36 AM
"The book was titled Among the Believers (New York: Vintage, 1982) and was an account of his travels in Indonesia, where he found that Saudi-funded schools and mosques were transforming Indonesian society from a very relaxed, syncretist Islam to a jihadist fundamentalist fanatical society, all paid for with Saudi Arabian funding. " Saudi's also tried this tactic in Turkey. They funded schools, mosques, after Izmit Earthquake they funded help foundations, even entire villages. They preached in Turkey that Turkish government is ruled by infidels. The earthquake is a punishment of God as Turks ceased to do their duty to the God. They even tried to sneak into Turkish army by directing their followers into Military schools. They failed so far. Army dismissed every Officer and NCO that is suspected to have relations with fundementalists. The schools and foundations that Saudis funded were shut down. The religious officials of the mosques they funded changed or dismissed. The Wahabis never forgive Turkey because of theri defeats against Ottoman Empire since 18th century. Theirs greatest Jihad is destroying Turkish Republic. Because our nation is anti-thema of what they are. By the way USA is still selling M1 Abrams, M2 Bradley's, F15 Eagles to Saudia Arabia.
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FJV    RE:Our enemy is not terrorism   5/14/2004 1:30:18 PM
If Bush had called it a war on militant Islam then he would never get away with it. Now his words speak of war on terrorism, but his actions show war on militant islam. Good political maneuvering.
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doggtag    Turkey earthquake, ilpars   5/14/2004 5:32:54 PM
Hey Ilpars, I could also give you the name and address of a "christian" church in America that tried to preach to me the idea that the big earthquake in Turkey was "God's wrath". Again, my whole argument is about the utter ignorance of people in the world. They don't understand each other's cultures and belief systems, and that adds to their fear (it is not uncommon to fear that which we do not understand). Ignorance, hand in hand with selfishness and pride, is only destroying the world. And for the record, I'd just as soon see that "christian" church leveled, just like Sodom and Gommorha. It would be wise for everyone to remember: just because someone, anywhere in the world, has enough money to build a church or a mosque or a temple to their beliefs, that doesn't necessarily make the building a "house of god".
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TriggaFingaz    A clash of mentalities   5/17/2004 5:47:46 PM
We are at war with not just the jihadis- it is thier MINDSET and WORLDVIEW that is the issue. The tendency for them to view the world as divided between Dar-is Islam and Dar-is-Harb(House of War). Their inability to accept the right of other faiths to exist. Their opposition to any positive interaction between 'Believers' and 'Kafir'. Their mental schzophernia that dubs all Islamic conquest, occupation and wars in past history as 'jihad in the path of God', 'spreading God's will' and any counter attack by the 'infidel' as a 'massacre', 'arrogance', 'hatred of Islam' or 'aggression'. Their view that all Muslim defeats and setbacks(even that of secular Muslims like Baathist Iraq and Chechen separatists or way past failures like the loss of Spain) as personal insults that have to be avenged by the martyr human bomb. Absolute disregard for the lives of 'infidels' regardless of their individual views or actions, age, gender. Inability to acknowledge any time when 'infidels' did good for the 'believers'. Any more for me to add???
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SGTObvious    RE:Turkey earthquake, ilpars   5/17/2004 8:23:29 PM
Someone should tell the fanatics that Saudi Arabia is a hot, miserable, infertile lifeless desert because God hates them. If we go by weather and natural disasters, shouldn't we all be following whatever religion they preach in Aruba?
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saul    RE:Turkey earthquake, ilpars   5/17/2004 8:38:01 PM
We hear a lot about how terrible the Saudis are... makes one wonder how it is that the Bushes are so darned friendly with 'em.
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Nomad32    re: the bushies are so darned friendly with the saudis   5/18/2004 4:34:19 PM
It is helpful to remember that Saudi society (like most) is fractured into competing groups. The Wahbbis are only one of these. Having a Saudi Arabia that is constituted in the manner of Taliban Afghanistan would be considerably worse than the flawed Saudi Arabia we have now. Be careful not to turn Saudi-bashing into a self-fulfilling prophesy. Yes, I would love to havce a Saudi Arabia that was fully cooperative in the "war on terror"/war with radical islam. Heck I'd be happy if we even got Pakistani-cooperation from them, but there are worse outcomes than an uncooperative ally. Check out the Saudi "religious policeman" blog for a westernized saudi's view of the kingdom. There is a link to it from the "Healing Iraq" blog.
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evlstu    RE:Our enemy is not terrorism   5/18/2004 10:26:34 PM
Our enemy (or enemies) is any person and/or group that uses the murder of civilians (i.e. non-combatants) to achieve a stated goal; no matter if that goal is a political one, a military one, or just killing those they hate. Igonorance cannot be the enemy because most of the leaders of these terrorists are very well educated and have seen more of the world that most of their brethren. These leaders choose to keep their followers ignorant and/or fill them with hatred. Poverty itself cannot be the enemy because most of the leaders of these terroists come from a middle class background or better (remember how rich osama is?). The poor, poverty stricken countries that many of these terrorists come from are kept that way by the leaders of those countries.
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