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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 criminals.

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 the globe?

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

Reprinted by permission of the author.

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