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Campaign for Understanding

It’s not a “war on terror.” We’re not fighting a “war,” and we’re not trying to destroy “terror.” Wars are fought between nations and not between a nation and “terror,” or even “terrorists.” Furthermore, by emphasizing “war” and “terror” we disguise our real intention, which is to produce a world where countries live in harmony with each other. Instead of a “war on terror,” let’s call it a “campaign for understanding.”

In "Knowing the Enemy," George Packer writes in the New Yorker of 12/18/06, that we have concentrated too much upon military means to fight Al Qaeda and other groups who are bent on destroying Western civilization. We should be working a lot more on the "hearts and minds" of Muslims throughout the world. Packer does not say we do not need military action, only that 3/4 of our effort should be devoted to using the big weapon of information, and only about 1/4 for military weapons.

To be able to use the weapon of information better, we must know the enemy. Packer divides Muslims according to a "ladder of extremism":

  1. MAINSTREAM MUSLIMS - The vast majority of the 1.3 billion Muslims in the world are normal religious people, similar to the millions of Christians in the U.S., except their beliefs are slightly different. These Muslims most likely can be our allies if we do not insult their religion

  2. ALIENATED MUSLIMS - A small number of Muslims are attracted to radical groups. They are alienated from their societies in a similar manner to the way youths in America become gang members. We should apply techniques similar to those used to save gang members

  3. RADICALIZED MUSLIMS - A much smaller number of Muslims join insurgency cells. We must use a counterinsurgency approach consisting of a combination of persuasion and violence

  4. TERRORISTS - A still smaller group belongs to Al Qaeda and similar organizations. We must destroy them in a way that does not produce more terrorists
We have been spending all our time attacking the tiny, tiny number of terrorists, and we have been doing it in a way that encourages the radicalized and alienated Muslims to become terrorists. We need to work more with the non-terrorist groups, the huge majority of Muslims. For these groups we need to work with information, not with bombs and missiles.

To mainstream Muslims, we must talk about tolerance and the many ideals we have in common. We must meet in interfaith groups, economic conventions and educational convocations. We should establish cooperative endeavors. For the alienated and radicalized Muslims, we must execute a propaganda campaign to show them that Osama bin Laden and the other Muslim heroes are not martyrs but murderers, that they have feet of clay, that they will probably land not in Heaven but in Hell.

Let's wage an election-type campaign across the Muslim world, a campaign for understanding. Let's accentuate the positive. We favor a peaceful world where all nations and religions are free to follow their aspirations without interference from any other nation or religion. All Muslim nations are invited to join us in this endeavor. If we run our campaign properly, Muslim nations will do most of the work in ridding the world of Al Qaeda and other organizations specializing in murder.

Posted by Paul Siegel at December 26, 2006 5:31 PM
Comments
Comment #200475

Paul,you dreamer.
“We favor a peacful world where all nations and religions are free to follow their aspirations without interference…..”That is just not us. You are recomending we convince them of a lie. We prop up despots all over,particularly in the Mis-East that garantee our access to raw materials and market places. Hell the terrorist war may well be just a struggle for the throne of Saudi Arabia anyway.At any rate we are not so nice to much of the world and they know it. It is not so much a question of convincing them that we are nice guys as changing our behavior to become nice guys.
Even then what if the Talaban had not helped the 9/11 attackers. Should we not interfere with them based on their horrible treatment of women?

Posted by: BillS at December 27, 2006 1:21 AM
Comment #200530


If the liberal Democrats would have told the truth in the begining, there would be no terrorists. Iraq would be a peaceful democracy and George Bush would have been elected King of the World. Oh, I forgot, all the people in Iraq would have converted to Christianity to show appreciation and love for their great savior GWB.

Posted by: jlw at December 27, 2006 3:00 PM
Comment #200533

Isn’t there some kind of limit to the level of ridiculousness on this blog?

Posted by: womanmarine at December 27, 2006 3:34 PM
Comment #200611

Paul S.,

Bush was running a campaign-like, hands-stretched-out strategy when he opened up six of our ports to be run by the Arabs. He said that we were not against Muslims or Arabs from the very beginning. We have always been and always will be against terrorist extremists in the Muslim religion. We would not tolerate any religion to blow up our buildings and national monuments like the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and who knows where the other plane would have hit!
But that out-stretched hand of Bush was cut off when the Dems found they could use it for political gains; political gains which caused some hard feelings amongst some of our friends within the Muslim and Arab world. Dems speak of reaching out, only to try to make G.W. Bush stick out his other arm to be lopped off at the elbow. Were you against the port deal? Hmm?

JD

Posted by: JD at December 28, 2006 1:36 AM
Comment #200662

womanmarine,

I agree…What Paul wrote to begin with was ridiculous in nature…

Posted by: cliff at December 28, 2006 2:32 PM
Comment #200746

Is this what we have come to? We can’t even call a war a war anymore? Have the PC police or the touchy feely troops so invaded our lives that black can’t be black (it is now extreme grey) or white can’t be white (it is now pigment deficient) any more?

This entire article is PC gone awry. Common sense should prevail. Unfortunately, the clowns in office right now are clueless, and the ones about to take office are at best unproven. Let’s just hope they don’t spend this amount of time on syntax and just get to the business of our country.

Posted by: Chi Chi at December 29, 2006 11:19 AM
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