"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Nightmare Diplomacy

Sunday Times reports Leaked Study on Extremism:

Gil Scott Heron - B Movie:
Ain't really your life, ain't really your life...

Dear Madam,

Last Sunday, the Sunday Times reported the leak of a British Government Study, 'Young Muslims and Extremism'. The study, a joint Home Office and Foreign Office dossier, details the link between British foreign policy and the growth of 'extremism' .

The study found that "[i]t seems that a particularly strong cause of disillusionment among Muslims, including young Muslims, is a perceived 'double standard' in the foreign policy of western governments, in particular Britain and the US.' ' Where "[t]he perception is that passive 'oppression', as demonstrated in British foreign policy, eg non-action on Kashmir and Chechnya, has given way to 'active oppression'. The war on terror, and in Iraq and Afghanistan, are all seen by a section of British Muslims as having been acts against Islam."

It has been suggested within the letters page of The Irish Times that explaining the reason for a terrorist attack "suggests that the terrorists were somehow justified in their attacks." (1) This is a logical fallacy, it is quite ordinary for prosecutors to frame a motive in murder trials, this however is never intended to justify such a crime, it merely serves to understand it. By simply branding these atrocities 'Islamofacism', intended to bring about "the end of history"(2) we come no closer to preventing another attack, infact we further distance ourselves from the solution.

This Home Office report is important from two respects, firstly it identifies a possible cause of Islamic extremism directed at Britain and secondly it questions the effect of British Foreign policy in the Middle East. This poses a basic problem for the British Government, to identify the cause of Islamic extremism as British Foreign Policy would be to admit that the invasion of Iraq played a part in the death of over 50 people. An admission of such would undermine several years of promises of security as a result of an invasion that was opposed by many.

Therefore, in an interview Saturday, Blair denied that the London terrorist attacks were a direct result of British involvement in the Iraq war. Citing the fact that "September 11 happened before Iraq, before Afghanistan, before any of these issues and that was the worst terrorist atrocity of all." (3)

The war on 'Terror' is destined to fail unless it can address the motives of the terrorists. As Ricard Whelan explains in today's Times "It is not a terrorist group that the world is dealing with in the London and other bombings and 9/11; it is an ideology or belief system." (4) We can either join John Waters' witch hunt. "Al-Qaeda is the globalisation of hate, the first such movement in the history of the planet." (5) And find ourselves allied with Mark Steyn in his fruitless search for retribution. "Within 24 hours after September 11th, it was clear somewhere some sovereign state was going to get invaded. America could simply not afford not to respond." (6) Or we can end the cycle of destruction.

Yours sincerely,

1. http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/
3. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/
4. http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/
5. http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/opinion
6. http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/world/
7. http://members.boardhost.com/DT3rd/msg/4202.html