Daily archives: October 13, 2005

How to lose the war on terrorism

As the UK government unveils its latest traunch of terrorist legislation a few hints from across the pond on how best to ensure failure in the ‘war on terror’.

By Andrew Freeman writing in The Daily Collegian

After Sept. 11, 2001 the American public had one question in mind: how do we lose this war that has been brought upon us? Our leaders pondered this long and hard, and their actions have brilliantly illustrated the best way to lose the war on terrorism. Taken together, these actions give a clear sense of how to lose a global war.

Create enemies abroad.

The key to any unsuccessful war is to make more enemies than you kill. When your enemies grow stronger with each assault, your defeat is assured. In the Vietnam War, American soldiers destroyed villages and slaughtered civilians in such numbers that the survivors were almost invariably turned against the Americans. In the current war on terrorism, state-sanctioned policies of torture, including the abuse at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere in Iraq, help to rally people against our cause. The practice of “extraordinary rendition,” by which suspected terrorists were flown to nations like Egypt or Syria to be tortured, is another example. Torture is just one of the heavy-handed tactics that can be employed to create enemies abroad, however. A far more effective one is war.

Start an unnecessary conflict.

By invading Iraq, a country where Islamic fundamentalist organizations like Al Qaeda were not present, let alone supported, we opened up a new front in the war on terror. Iraqi insurgents are now engaging in acts of terrorism against American troops, as well as against their countrymen. In his Oct. 6 speech, President Bush called Iraq “the central front in our war on terror.” This is only true because of our presence there – Iraq played no role in the Sept. 11 attacks, and its leader, Saddam Hussein, had successfully suppressed fundamentalism there. Because we removed Saddam and began to occupy the country, depriving the Sunni Arab elite of political power, they responded by launching an anti-American insurgency.

Fail to secure and protect the homeland.

When the Department of Homeland Security was first proposed by Democrats, the Bush administration was opposed to its formation. However, they soon realized that the idea was an excellent way to score a political victory: they called for a department where the president had expansive powers to hire and fire employees, knowing Democrats would oppose it. Then, before 2002 midterm elections, the administration claimed that Democrats were opposed to national security, leading to Republican gains in Congress.

Having used national security as a crass political weapon, the

Republicans promptly began to waste homeland security funds. In North Pole, Alaska, $500,000 was allotted to protect against terrorism, according to the National Review, and throughout the country states at no risk of terrorism were inundated with homeland security funds. In 2003, $5.47 per person was apportioned to New York, compared with $38.31 for Wyoming, according to the New York Daily News.

Damage the armed forces.

Nothing is more effective in losing a war than in squandering the contributions of those who fight for you. The Department of Veterans Affairs, which provides medical services to veterans, announced in June that it faced a probable $2.6 billion shortfall, according to the Washington Post. This resulted from incompetence: the agency underestimated the number of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who would seek medical treatment by over 70,000. Prior to this announcement, Republican congressmen had successfully defeated attempts by Democrats to raise funding for the VA.

On the field, soldiers are not provided with sufficient armor for their protection, and many have had to purchase it themselves, without reimbursement. This continues despite a 2004 law that required the Pentagon to reimburse soldiers and their families for such expenditures, a law that has not been enforced. Unsurprisingly, military recruitment has declined heavily this year, with army recruiters missing their goals by 7,000 recruits according to the Associated Press. The Bush administration has been doubly successful in damaging the military, weakening protection for soldiers, on and off the battlefield, while discouraging young people from joining it.

In the end, however, there is only so much that can be done by our leaders to lose the war on terrorism. We all have to do our part as well, whether it be by blindly supporting an inept leadership or being hateful towards foreigners. The consequences of not losing a global war are astonishing. The United States didn’t lose the Cold War, and look where we are now – the richest, most powerful nation in the world. Unless you want that to continue, it is your patriotic duty to stand behind the president and help lose the global war on terrorism.

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SOAS defends academic freedom – but only for approved viewpoints

Professor Colin Bundy, head of SOAS, is extremely keen to defend Shirin Akiner, Karimov’s Western cheerleader and a SOAS lecturer. But it seems that his defence of academic freedom only applies to those on one side of the argument. Akiner is perfectly at liberty to defend Karimov’s right to massacre the opposition, but Bundy just three months ago censured an Islamic student who argued that the Palestinians have the right to use force to resist occupation. You don’t have to agree with the student’s view to find Bundy’s different approach to the two cases interesting. The following report is from the Islamic Human Rights Commission.

ACTION ALERT: IHRC demand end to SOAS student witch hunt

SOAS masters student Nasser Amin wrote an article in his university paper defending the right of Palestinians to resist occupation by violence. After the publication of the article Amin became the focus of a bitter witch hunt which resulted in him being reprimanded by SOAS University. The reprimand was published on the university?s official website without even informing Amin.

His article ?when only violence will do? was written in response to one published by Hamza Yusuf which said, in effect that Muslims in Palestine should ?turn the other cheek? when facing Israeli violent antagonism.

The Article was not extreme nor even unusual, and similar arguments have been used and promoted in academia e.g. by Professor Michael Neuman. The article was set in a context of open debate about the moral rights and wrongs of Palestinian resistance, and SOAS?s response is at best bizarre.

Amin has received death threats on Zionist websites, and calls have been made in parliament for action to be taken against him. This is not only unacceptable but has been fuelled by SOAS?s failure to defend academic freedom and moral discussion.

The incident is also being used by pro Israeli groups to justify a need for incitement to religious hatred legislation, clearly showing how this law, if passed, will be used against those criticizing the aggressive actions of the State of Israel.

Instead of defending Amin from this witch hunt SOAS announced they had issued him a public reprimand. They did not follow correct procedure or allow him an opportunity to defend himself; in fact, they did not even bother to contact him.

This is yet another example of Zionists bullying anyone who speaks out against Israeli oppression and institutions buckling for fear of being labeled anti-Semitic

Any suggestions as to the explanation of Bundy’s contradictory attitude in the Amin and Akiner cases would be interesting to hear.


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International media NGO loses battle to stay in Uzbekistan

From AKIpress

Internews Network has lost its bid to continue working in Uzbekistan, the Central Asian nation where it has operated for ten years to support independent media. After ten minutes of deliberation, the Tashkent City Court on Tuesday denied Internews Network’s appeal of a court order last month to shut down the US-based organization’s Uzbekistan office.

‘We expected our appeal to be denied because it’s been obvious from the start that the authorities want to boot us out for political reasons,’ said Catherine Eldridge, Internews’ Country Director for Uzbekistan. ‘But we’re still very disappointed. We’ve put up a good fight and we’ll continue to fight this decision through the courts, starting with an appeal to the review board of the Tashkent City Court. But it looks like we really have to go.’

The US-based non-profit media organization began operations in Uzbekistan in 1995 where it has helped develop the country’s independent, private television stations through trainings, technical assistance and support of local news and information programming.

According to Uzbek legislation, Internews is now obliged to close its office in Tashkent and cease all operations in Uzbekistan. However, all its activities were effectively suspended more than a year ago when the Central Bank froze its bank accounts without warning or explanation.

Last month the Tashkent City Court found Internews Network guilty of a number of ‘gross violations’ of Uzbek law and told it to close. In August, two Internews employees were convicted of conspiring to publish information and produce TV programs without the necessary licenses. The liquidation order was based on these convictions as well as a number of other violations.

These included: using the Internews logo without registering it first with the Ministry of Justice, referring to itself as ‘Internews Uzbekistan’ instead of ‘Internews Network Representative Office in Uzbekistan’, “monopolizing the media,” and carrying out activities without getting prior permission from the Ministry of Justice. Such permission is actually not required according to the Bilateral Agreement Regarding the Cooperation to Facilitate the Provision of Assistance between Uzbekistan and USA under which all American NGOs work in Uzbekistan,

Internews projects in Uzbekistan have been supported by the US Agency for International Development and EuropeAid (the international aid branches of the US and EU, respectively) and the US State Department.

In the last 18 months, there has been a crackdown on foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs), especially those supporting the development of democracy. In September another foreign NGO, IREX (International Research and Exchanges Board) was suspended for six months for allegedly conducting activities not in line with its charter and not registering its logo with the Ministry of Justice. Many believe that the Uzbek authorities fear a repeat of the popular uprisings that brought down the governments in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan.

In May, relations between Western governments and the authoritarian regime of President Islam Karimov worsened after Uzbek forces brutally quashed a popular uprising in the city of Andijan, killing hundreds of mostly unarmed protesters. In July, Uzbekistan gave the US military six months to leave its base at Karshi-Khanobad.

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