Saturday, July 21, 2007

NYTIMES: lets police terrorism!

Terrorism: A pathetic attempt by David Rieff to praise the so-called UK new way of fighting terrorists.

For Phillips and her allies, those who fail to face the challenge of Islamic extremism head on will be to their generation what those who appeased Hitler in 1938 were to theirs. Then, Western leaders convinced themselves that Hitler’s demands were rational; today, a new generation of appeasers has convinced itself, as Phillips puts it, that “Islamic terrorism must be driven by rational grievances such as deprivation, ‘Islamophobia’ or British foreign policy.” They do not understand that terrorists “kill as an act of religious exultation.” By failing to stand up for what it believes in, she holds, the West courts defeat.

But Brown and other advocates of the terror-as-crime view are not necessarily under any delusions about jihadist thinking. Rather, they maintain that preventing terrorism requires winning the hearts and minds of actual human beings — and that declarations of war, including declarations of wars of ideas, are unlikely to be helpful in this regard. Of course, George Bush and Tony Blair thought they were winning hearts and minds by overthrowing Saddam Hussein and at least rhetorically committing themselves to democracy building in the Middle East. Implicitly at least, Brown seems to be saying that this tactic has failed, that the war model has only fueled rage and resentment within precisely those communities whose support is most essential — the Muslim diasporas outside the Islamic world.

With Washington practicing one theory of terror and London the other, we may find out which one is the more realistic. So far, it seems, Brown has had more success in getting influential Muslim groups to denounce terror than Blair did. Meanwhile, in the United States, the campaign of Rudolph Guiliani recently announced that one of the candidate’s senior foreign-policy advisers would be the neoconservative intellectual Norman Podhoretz, whose forthcoming book on the Islamist challenge is called “World War IV.” But so far, World War IV isn’t going very well. Particularly in light of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center’s recent report that Al Qaeda is as strong today as it was before 9/11, Gordon Brown’s bet on the criminal model, however risky, seems the more sensible course.


As I pointed out before(here and here), Brown's talk of winning hearts and minds is more or less a tactic to force Muslim groups like the MCB to confront the problem within the UK Muslim community. He has proposed changes and laws that would have the ACLU screaming murder here in the states. Muslim groups are stepping up because to keep blaming everyone but themselves has been counter-productive and made matters worse in the eyes of the public.

But the idea this overall would be the sensible course would mean even less movement taking out the financial backers and countries that allow terrorists to train. If you did just "police work" It would be covering a breaking dam with your hand and saying everything is okay. It feels good but in the end no practical purpose.

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