Wars are strengthening Al Qa’ida and doing nothing to prevent terrorist attacks on our own countries

The war in Iraq is according to President Bush about fighting the terrorists on ground of our choosing – fighting them “there” so we don’t have to fight them “here” (i.e in the US , EU or the democracies as a whole).

The President has quoted General John Vines who said “We either deal with terrorism and this extremism abroad, or we deal with it when it comes to us.”.

If that ever was an aim of the war it has failed completely to protect Britain from the July 21st or London bombings and to protect Spain from the Madrid bombings. If anything the Iraq war created a new terrorist cell which carried out the London bombings.

It’s hard to see how it could possibly stop terrorist attacks on any country. No amount of wars, no size or quality of military, no nuclear weapon can defend us against terrorist attacks. Only better policing, airport and port security and better intelligence – combined with better community relations and international relations with other countries can do that.

We also know from analyses by the US State Department , by independent think tanks such as the IISS and by American academics that the war on terror has increased the funding that Al Qa’ida and similar terrorist groups get, the number of recruits it and organisations sharing its ideology and methods are getting , the number of attacks they are making and the number of people killed as a result. The number of terrorist attacks globally doubled between 2002 and 2003; and there has been a 700% increase in the number of attacks which killed at least one person since the Iraq invasion compared with the period between September 11th and the invasion of Iraq. (see note 1 at foot of page)

War as a response to terrorism is a strategy calculated to fail because it kills so many civilians for each terrorist killed that new members are joining terrorist groups faster than the existing members are being killed. To the relatives and friends of those killed in wars our military attacks are terrorism themselves – and for many Muslims their religion makes them feel a duty to defend other Muslims from attack. So wars on Muslim countries result in many new recruits for terrorist groups around the world.

Just as Americans were manipulated by the Bush administration into killing Iraqis who had never been involved in the September 11th attacks after 9-11 so Iraqis and some Muslims worldwide are being manipulated into taking “revenge” on people who have never harmed them by Al Qa’ida.

Iraqis react to the killing of Iraqi civilians the same way we react to the killing of British and American civilians. They are no more irrational than we are – and just as human.


1) = The increase in terrorism has been so embarrassing to the Bush administration that after 2004 the US State Department has stopped making figures on global terrorism available to the press and public and replaced them with country reports which contain no statistics on the total number of terrorist attacks or the total number of deaths as a result. This was due to bad publicity over manipulation of statistics which when challenged the state department admitted showed terrorist attacks had more than doubled in 2003 as opposed to having fallen as they claimed in their initial report.

copyright©Duncan McFarlane 2007

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