Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Defining victory

From AustinBay Blog, an answer from "a senior military officer":

The extremists that brought terror to our shores are intent on achieving – by force of arms - a xenophobic and repressive state based on a skewed understanding of Islam. They desire a future for the Muslim world that looks like something out of the seventh century with an extremist and intolerant interpretation of Islam. Their future-world would be a much larger version of the backward and authoritarian regime in Taliban-led Afghanistan, with no scope for liberty, basic women’s rights, or the freedom of religion. Such a future runs counter to basic concepts of freedom and human dignity, and is not what the vast majority of Muslims want for their children or grandchildren. The extremist-terrorists, however, are clever in hiding their ultimate goals. Their campaign plan is to mask their objectives while playing on unfounded, but deep-seeded fears in the Islamic world about the west via an intimidated news media, and with help from co-opted financial, educational and weapons smuggling organizations across with regional and global scope.

Our counter to the extremist plan is to apply unrelenting military pressure on the leadership and terrorists operatives that spearhead the ideology, while simultaneously applying the western financial, diplomatic, educational and social skills necessary to help Islamic states build effective governance that cares for people’s needs, allows them political participation, and dampens the appetite for violent action against perceived repression. This battle between moderation and extremism requires all nations to engage in the struggle – pressuring terrorist networks, and helping the governments of the Islamic world to succeed for their people.

The whole thing is worth reading, if for no other reason than as an object lesson in the danger of stereotyping "military thinking". I hope we have a lot of officers of this caliber. In my brief career in the U.S. Navy (many moons ago), I saw little evidence of intelligent life in the officers I knew (as an enlisted man), so this was of interest to me on several levels...

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