The Boston Globe counsels surrender and appeasement in the face of the global jihad. Note also that the Tiny-Minority-of-Extremists talk is out the window: instead, we now hear that Al Qaeda’s “struggle enjoys the rear-guard sympathy of large numbers of Muslims.” The Globe can point that out in the context of appeasement and defeat, but woe to anyone who points it out in the context of framing the conflict properly. (Thanks to all who sent this in.)
AS THE WAR between the United States and Al Qaeda enters its fifth year, the nature of the armed, transnational Islamist group’s campaign remains misunderstood. With the conflict viewed largely as an open-and-shut matter of good versus evil, nonmilitary engagement with Al Qaeda is depicted as improper and unnecessary.
Yet developing a strategy for the next phase of the global response to Al Qaeda requires understanding the enemy — something Western analysts have systematically failed to do. Sept. 11 was not an unprovoked, gratuitous act. It was a military operation researched and planned since at least 1996 and conducted by a trained commando in the context of a war that had twice been declared officially and publicly. The operation targeted two military locations and a civilian facility regarded as the symbol of US economic and financial power. The assault was the culmination of a larger campaign, which forecast impact, planned for the enemy’s reaction, and was designed to gain the tactical upper hand….
How can the war be brought to an end? Neither side can defeat the other. The United States will not be able to overpower a diffuse, ever-mutating, organized international militancy movement, whose struggle enjoys the rear-guard sympathy of large numbers of Muslims. Likewise, Al Qaeda can score tactical victories on the United States and its allies, but it cannot rout the world’s sole superpower.
Though dismissed widely, the best strategy for the United States may well be to acknowledge and address the collective reasons in which Al Qaeda anchors its acts of force. Al Qaeda has been true to its word in announcing and implementing its strategy for over a decade. It is likely to be true to its word in the future and cease hostilities against the United States, and indeed bring an end to the war it declared in 1996 and in 1998, in return for some degree of satisfaction regarding its grievances. In 2002, bin Laden declared: ”Whether America escalates or deescalates this conflict, we will reply in kind.”