Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Rebranding G.W.O.T

George Packer writes:

You had to be a careful reader of the inside pages of the [New York] Times last week to notice that America is no longer fighting the global war on terrorism. The Administration has replaced, or revised, or exapanded the G.W.O.T. with a new phrase: " a global struggle against violent extremist". The war is now a struggle. The terrorist enemy is now the violent extremist enemy. The focus has shifted from a tactic to an ideology.

This is an indication, Packer argues, that the Administration is admitting that its strategy since September 11th has failed - without really admitting it. The answer to Donald Rumsfeld's candid question in a memo of October 2003 ("Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?") is no.

But, he says , no one should imagine that an American departure from Iraq will end suicide bombings there or anywhere else:

Just as the jihadis in Afghanistan did not retire after expelling the Soviets fifteen years ago, the withdrawal of the superpower will not be enough for this generation of insurgents, either.

(The New Yorker, 8 & 15 August)

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