Charlie Stross writes a sensible and well reasoned article on why he does not like George W. Bush and went to the protest rallies against him. He makes some good points, about how the unprecented outpouring of sympathy for the USA post 9-11 was an enormous opportunity to bring the world together, and this administration used all that to deepen old rifts. Molly Ivins wrote a few days ago on the same topicl
Last night I heard a story on NPR about how the last two years have strengthened Al Qaeda in that they are more decentralized (harder to squash) and more of a “brand name” in the Arab world. It seems to me like the only way to “win the war on terrorism” is to eliminate the situations that foster terrorism. One of the big ones is a weak people feeling unjustly persecuted by a strong one, such that their only recourse is to blow shit up. This happened in Ireland, in the Basque regions, in Algeria, in Palestine and is a well understood phenomenon. I took a class in this at Georgia Tech in the 1980’s and there were textbooks about why groups of people begin to turn to terrorism. Ordinary Iraqis who previously had no beef with the USA and had nothing but hatred for Saddam Hussein now have a new enemy, when their front doors are kicked down in the night and they are dragged away because their name is similar to someone who killed American soldiers or they just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. What outlet do they have for that anger and hatred? Diplomacy and strongly worded letters? No. Almost everyone will simply swallow the anger and live on. Some, however, will be motivated towards revenge and they are going to find the guy down the street who is organizing an attack and see how they can help.
We have been told the attacks are getting worse because “we are winning and the evil doers are getting desperate.” That’s a crock. They are getting worse because they are getting worse, and the longer we are over their the worse it will get. Because of increasing violence, the soldiers will for self-preservation need to get more brutal, which will increase the violence. There is no way out of this. It should never have begun, it started in lies and greed, and continues in blood – American and Iraqi.
Final addenda I discovered hunting the links to put in here: Yesterday Bush and Blair held a press conference at which Bush said this:
In the end, the shadow of yesterday’s protests hung over the news conference in a question posed by a British journalist. “Why do they hate you, Mr. President?” the journalist asked, referring to the many Britons who are hostile to Bush.
“I don’t know that they do,” Bush replied. “All I know is that it’s – that people in Baghdad, for example, weren’t allowed to do this up until recent history. They’re not spending a lot of time in North Korea protesting the current leadership.”
This assumes that people in Baghdad are allowed to protest the leadership (ie, the US forces). Are they?