Posted by: Lister | January 15, 2009

War on Terror

David Miliband, British foreign secretary, has an article in the Guardian. He says that the war on terror has united extremists, but that this unity is based on opportunism rather than agreed goals. I’m not sure what he means by saying Hezbollah is motivated by freeing the Golan Heights, which are Syrian. (Maybe he counts the Shebaa Farms as part of the Golan). From his article:

The “war on terror” also implied that the correct response was primarily military. But as General Petraeus said to me and others in Iraq, the coalition there could not kill its way out of the problems of insurgency and civil strife.

[…] We must respond to terrorism by championing the rule of law, not subordinating it, for it is the cornerstone of the democratic society. We must uphold our commitments to human rights and civil liberties at home and abroad. That is surely the lesson of Guantanamo and it is why we welcome President-elect Obama’s commitment to close it.

The call for a “war on terror” was a call to arms, an attempt to build solidarity for a fight against a single shared enemy. But the foundation for solidarity between peoples and nations should be based not on who we are against, but on the idea of who we are and the values we share. Terrorists succeed when they render countries fearful and vindictive; when they sow division and animosity; when they force countries to respond with violence and repression. The best response is to refuse to be cowed.

The Telegraph has a short piece on Miliband’s bravery:

What bravery. With only four full days left of the current presidency, Miliband launches his attack on the Bush doctrine now.

There were points in the last eight years when a bold intervention, public or private, from a British Foreign Secretary could have really made an impact and had an effect on US policy. But throwing tomatoes at Bush on his way out the door is not statesmanlike.

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