October 20, 2006

Fear Rules, OK?

Jim Lobe comments on the "Confidence in U.S. Foreign Policy" survey [.pdf] released Wednesday by a nonpartisan group, Public Agenda, and Foreign Affairs journal:
The survey, which was overseen by legendary pollster Daniel Yankelovich, found a substantial rise in concern about how the U.S. is perceived in the world and particularly in predominantly Muslim countries, compared to the last survey, which was conducted in January.

Nearly 90 percent of respondents said they considered it a threat to U.S. national security when "the rest of the world sees the United States" in a negative light.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents said the world currently feels either "somewhat" or "very" negatively toward the country, while nearly four in five said they believe the country is seen as "arrogant."

"It's not just a matter of [wanting to be] well-loved or nice," stressed Yankelovich in a conference call for journalists Tuesday. "People see it as threatening to our national security."
Doonesbury is currently doing strips featuring "Fear Itself" as a character. Today's strip starts with these words:
Mr Fear, it's now undeniable that the War In Iraq has created thousands of new terrorists..."
That's a familiar meme, isn't it? But is it true? Who actually counts these "new terrorists"? How do you define them? The implication is that these once-normal people have now morphed into violent terrorists, and as such will remain a potent threat to all good-thinking people (particularly US voters) for the rest of their lives. But is that true? Almost certainly not!

The fact is, most of the people now waging war in Iraq, including those who have adopted terror as a tactic, will happily return to a normal life as soon as conditions permit it. And of course, the continued occupation is the major obstacle to such change. So if the USA "created terrorists" by invading Iraq, it can also "de-fuse" them by withdrawing. Terrorism is just a tactic, not somethign you can actually declare war against. And terrorists are just people who are using terror as a tactic to achieve a certain goal. Move the goals and the tactics change.


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