British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has written a somewhat controversial article in the Guardian denouncing the ‘War on Terror’ as an inaccurate way to label 21st century conflicts. Miliband doesn’t go all the way in condemning the horrors our governments have wreaked upon the third world, but it’s definitely a start for a mainstream politician:
The idea of a “war on terror” gave the impression of a unified,
transnational enemy, embodied in the figure of Osama bin Laden and
al-Qaida. The reality is that the motivations and identities of
terrorist groups are disparate. Lashkar-e-Taiba has roots in Pakistan
and says its cause is Kashmir. Hezbollah says it stands for resistance
to occupation of the Golan Heights. The Shia and Sunni insurgent groups
in Iraq have myriad demands. They are as diverse as the 1970s European
movements of the IRA, Baader-Meinhof, and Eta. All used terrorism and
sometimes they supported each other, but their causes were not unified
and their cooperation was opportunistic. So it is today.
The more we lump terrorist groups together and draw the battle lines as
a simple binary struggle between moderates and extremists, or good and
evil, the more we play into the hands of those seeking to unify groups
with little in common. Terrorist groups need to be tackled at root,
interdicting flows of weapons and finance, exposing the shallowness of
their claims, channelling their followers into democratic politics.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.