The War on Terror is a – predictable – fiasco
By Jan Oberg, TFF co-founder
Lund, Sweden September 11, 2014.
President Obama’s speech last night
This speech is a record low in terms of moral and intellectual analysis: What it boils down to is war – i.e. killing every single ISIS person anywhere, people who he compares to cancer cells. The war on terror has always been about killing terrorists but you can not kill an ism – terrorism. To do something about the causes that compel people to become terrorists would be much more efficient. The President has said repeatedly that a lasting solution is political, not military. The speech, however, is exclusively military – not a word of political, psychological or other insights: No, we kill people because we think it is wrong to kill people…
The speech can be seen as a proof of how utterly misguided the U.S. response to 9/11 was – had it been more intelligence and less revenge-oriented, there would neither have been a devastating Iraq war nor an ISIS.
It’s difficult to be Number One in a rank order. You only teach downward. If you are Number Twenty, there are 19 others to learn from. It seems as if the United States, inside its exceptionalist box, is now unable to learn lessons. Obama’s ‘strategy’ for The War On Terror will, in all likelihood, lead to more terrorism and hatred of the West – I mean what will frustrated Sunnis in Iraq think about Obama? Or the Syrian civil society that doesn’t carry arms?
Not a word about international law presumably because bombing other countries is aggression when there is no threat and the ‘US is more safe today than then’. There is a remarkable sentence where the President says that in two weeks he himself will chair a meeting of the UN Security Council! What?! Can any head of state do that?? Further, not a word about Washington’s long-term vision for a better Middle East – indicative of the absence of any such vision.
The last 2 minutes are perhaps the most interesting: A combination of unbearable self-praise, slight megalomania and denial of the changing U.S. role in our changing world. If this is American leadership at its best – and that’s what the President believes – the world as we know it may soon crumble.
The failure of the The War on Terror – and Iraq – was eminently predictable
TFF Associates predicted it when it happened – that the response of the U.S. to September 11 – the invasion of Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 – was wrong. We don’t do hindsight research. We analyse events in real time. Here are some examples of how we predicted the present malaise and proposed alternative ways:
Jonathan Power, September 12, 2001
For the arrogance of power America now pays a terrible price
Jonathan Power, September 20, 2001
Is it possible for America to say ‘Sorry’?
Richard Falk, September 27, 2001
A just response
Johan Galtung and Dietrich Fischer, September 6, 2002
To end terrorism, end state terrorism
Jan Oberg, April 2, 2003
Losing all three wars on Iraq
Jan Oberg, September 10, 2006
September 11 Five Years: 9 problems, 11 Solutions – Part I and II
Jan Oberg, October 9, 2001
Sweden and September 11