John D. Goldhammer
Why the Bush "War on Terror" is Fated to Fail
Terrorism is an ideological problem, not a military problem. It is a
mental illness caused by a lethal set of virulent group dynamics
masquerading as religion. The time is long overdue for us to take our
"politically correct," white gloves off and expose those so-called
religious groups that are in reality bands of dangerous, brainwashed
What happens when you mix power politics with the Christian strain of
religious fundamentalism? You get a toxic stew of arrogance and
absolutism; a medieval us-versus-them, God-is-on-our-side mind set that
marches right into the jaws of the ideologically-inspired, mass paranoia
of Islamic terrorist groups. Thus each group acts and reacts based on
the same deadly dynamics, each the other's evil enemy.
The political rhetoric surrounding the rationale for the war in Iraq
continues to sound more like a religious crusade, the political
consequences of cult-like group dynamics that, to survive, depend upon
creating outside enemies. With an unsettling irony, we become the
aggressor, the global bully, terrorizing tens of thousands of innocent
civilians (between 6,806 and 7,797 killed in Iraq alone, according to a
British-American research group in London) in a desperate attempt to
destroy members of George W's designated "axis of evil." Are we now
going to be political police, imposing our concept of democracy around
War certainly qualifies as a "weapon of mass destruction," and our
pre-emptive/preventative policy of violent aggression against a
sovereign nation only serves to dump more fuel on the spreading
ideological plague of vicious, Islamic fundamentalism now directed
against non-Muslims and most of the civilized world. War only solidifies
and further ignites the passions of those individuals caught in this
lethal swamp of group-inspired hatred directed towards the U.S.
Bush's divisive, gun-slinger, "You're either with us or against us,"
absolutism, is eerily similar to Islamic fanatics, who are intent upon
terrorizing and destroying the "infidels"-that's you and me-and anyone
else who is non-Muslim. They believe, in the words of one prominent
Iranian ayatollah, that "Moslems have no alternative . . . to an armed
holy war against profane governments. . . . . It will . . . be the duty
of every able-bodied adult male to volunteer for this war of conquest,
the final aim of which is to put Koranic law in power from one end of
the earth to the other."
To fundamentalist Islam the US is the "great Satan," while George W.
Bush, indoctrinated by his own destructive, self righteous, group-think,
world view, said, "We are in a conflict between good and evil, and
America will call evil by its name." And, according to the "Bush
Doctrine," the United States is "called to bring God's gift of liberty
to every human being in the world" - good news for Christians, bad news
for Moslems and other beliefs.
Published on Saturday, November 22, 2003 by CommonDreams.org
Reprinted by permission of the author.