THE WISDOM FUND: News & Views
October 17, 2005
The New York Times

Administration's Tone Signals a Longer, Broader Iraq Conflict

President prepares U.S. for conflict with 'radical Islam' from Spain to Indonesia

by David E. Sanger

WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 - For most of the 30 months since American-led forces ousted Saddam Hussein, the Bush administration has argued that as democracy took hold in Iraq, the insurgency would lose steam because Al Qaeda and the opponents of the country's interim government had nothing to offer Iraqis or the people of the Middle East. . . .

But inside the administration, that belief provides less solace than it once did. Senior officials say the intelligence reports flowing over their desks in recent months argue that even if democratic institutions take hold, the insurgency may strengthen. And that possibility has created a quandary for an administration that desperately wants to equate democracy-building with winning the war, but so far has not been able to match the two. . . .

Mr. Bush's own way of talking about the future, in Iraq and beyond, has undergone a subtle but significant change in recent weeks. In several speeches, he has begun warning that the insurgency is already metastasizing into a far broader struggle to "establish a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia." While he still predicts victory, he appears to be preparing the country for a struggle of cold war proportions.

It is a very different tone than administration officials sounded in the heady days after Saddam Hussein's fall, and then his capture.

". . . the president was concerned that we hadn't described Iraq to the American people for what it is - a struggle of ideologies that isn't going to end with one election, or one constitution, or even a string of elections."

For an administration that has recalibrated and re-explained its strategy in Iraq many times in the past 30 months, this latest turn may be a recognition of changed realities. . . .

Now administration officials are beginning to describe the insurgency as long-lasting, more akin to Communist insurgencies in Malaysia or the Philippines, but with a broader and more deadly base. . . .

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Mowahid H. Shah, "The New Cold War With Islam," Christian Science Monitor, July 30, 1990

The War on Islam Enver Masud, "The War on Islam," Madrasah Books (April 2003)

"The National Security Strategy of the United States of America," The White House, April 29, 2003

"Bush's Crusade," The Wisdom Fund, October 16, 2003

Enver Masud, "A Clash Between Justice and Greed," The Wisdom Fund, October 26, 2004

Jonathan Power, "War of Civilizations?," International Herald Tribune, October 29, 2004

[On October 6, 2005, President Bush Addressed The National Endowment For Democracy On The Nature Of The Enemy We Face And The Strategy For Victory. In this new century, freedom is once again under assault. The President outlined the ideology of the terrorists and the strategy needed to defeat this danger and see freedom's victory. . . .

The ideology known as Islamic radicalism, militant Jihadism, or Islamo-fascism - different from the religion of Islam - exploits Islam to serve a violent political vision that calls for the murder of all those who do not share it. The followers of Islamic radicalism are bound together by their shared ideology, not by any centralized command structure. Although they fight on scattered battlefields, these terrorists share a similar ideology and vision for the world openly stated in videos, audiotapes, letters, declarations, and websites. . . .

The murderous ideology of the Islamic radicals is the great challenge of our century. Yet, in many ways, this fight resembles the struggle against communism in the last century.--"Fighting a Global War on Terror," The White House, October 6, 2005]

Lee Sustar, "What the 'War on Terror' is Really About," CounterPunch, October 22, 2005

[Some call this evil Islamic radicalism; others, militant Jihadism; still others, Islamo-fascism.--"President Addresses Joint Armed Forces Officers' Wives' Luncheon," The White House, October 25, 2005]

[In the former Soviet Union, it could mean accepting a qualified form of Russian sphere of influence. In Asia, it could mean backing Japan and other countries against any Chinese aggression, but also defusing the threat of confrontation with China by encouraging the reintegration of Taiwan into the mainland. In the Middle East, it could involve separating US goals from Israeli ones and seeking detente with Iran.--Anatol Lieven, "Decadent America must give up imperial ambitions," Financial Times, November 29, 2005]

[Is the president historically right in his diagnosis of the allegedly similar dangers posed by Islamic extremism and by totalitarian communism? The differences between the two may be more telling than their similarities.--Zbigniew Brzezinski, "Do These Two Have Anything in Common?," Washington Post, December 4, 2005]

Drew Brown, "Rumsfeld warns of Islamic superstate if U.S. leaves Iraq too soon," Knight Ridder Newspapers, December 5, 2005

[Rumsfeld, who laid out broad strategies for what the military and the Bush administration are now calling the "long war," likened al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin while urging Americans not to give in on the battle of wills that could stretch for years.--Josh White and Ann Scott Tyson, "Rumsfeld Offers Strategies for Current War," Washington Post, February 3, 2006]

[As well as emphasizing threats in the Islamic world, the review focuses on Asia's growing importance to U.S. interests and the need to hedge against China's emergence as a military power.--Mark Mazzetti, "Pentagon Plans for 'Long War' on Extremism," Los Angeles Times, February 4, 2006]

[The U.S. Defense Department and the White House have decided that the United States is now conducting "the Long War" rather than what previously was known as the War against Terror, then as the Global Struggle against Violent Extremism, and briefly - as one revealing Pentagon study described it - a war against "the Universal Adversary."

Yet even if you include the 9/11 casualties, the number of Americans killed by international terrorists since the late 1960s (which is when the State Department began counting them) is about the same as that killed by lightning - or by accident-causing deer, or by severe allergic reactions to peanuts.--William Pfaff, "A 'long war' designed to perpetuate itself," International Herald Tribune, February 10, 2006]

[. . . funded by an overall 2007 US defence spending request of more than $513bn. . . . will raise concerns about exacerbating the "clash of civilisations" and about the respect accorded to international law and human rights. . . . anticipate US forces being engaged in irregular warfare around the world. . . .

"One historical example that illustrates both concepts comes from the Arab revolt in 1917 in a distant theatre of the first world war, when British Colonel TE Lawrence and a group of lightly armed Bedouin tribesmen seized the Ottoman port city of Aqaba--Pfaff, "America's Long War," International Herald Tribune, February 10, 2006]

[The greatest risk to our society today is not Islamo-fascist terrorism, but the people who use that term to scare us. As the human, fiscal and ecological damage caused by our nation's economic priorities grows, it's becoming clear that we're addicted to more than oil - we're addicted to military spending, too.--Rick Steves, "The real threat to U.S. security," Seattle Times, March 2, 2006]

William Pfaff, "NEW U.S. SECURITY STATEMENT IS AN INSULT TO THE WORLD," Tribune Media Services, March 19, 2006

[The combination of unwavering support for Israel and the related effort to spread 'democracy' throughout the region has inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardised not only US security but that of much of the rest of the world. This situation has no equal in American political history.--John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," London Review of Books, March 23, 2006]

[The Cold War was ended by engagement, rather than "destroying the threat," and that is a powerful lesson. . . . Al Qaeda is neither Nazi Germany nor Soviet Russia. It is a tiny revanchist network that is dangerous in limited ways.--John Tirman, "The Cold War on Terror," AlterNet, April 17, 2006]

Ann Scott Tyson, "New Plans Foresee Fighting Terrorism Beyond War Zones: Pentagon to Rely on Special Operations," Washington Post, April 23, 2006

"Bush calls terror fight WWIII," Herald Sun, May 6, 2006

[The war on terror is a false metaphor that has led to counterproductive and self-defeating policies.--George Soros, "A Self-Defeating War," antiwar.com, October 17, 2006]

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