Today, the Oxford Research Group, a think tank based in Britain that advocates peaceful conflict resolution, released a report that concluded
The “War on Terror” failed and has only fueled al Qaeda and other militant Islamic movements.
Another day, another report for the U.S. traditional media and Congress to ignore. After all, Paul Rogers, the author of the report is just a professor of global peace studies at Bradford University in northern England.
Peace. Bleah. Who needs it?
Reuters was one of the first foreign media services to cover the report in ‘Report says war on terror is fueling al Qaeda‘. Rogers believes that if al Qaeda is to be stopped, then the West needs to actually understand the roots of their support and then work to systematically undermine it.
“Combined with conventional policing and security measures, al Qaeda can be contained and minimized but this will require a change in policy at every level.”
[Rogers] described the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq as a “disastrous mistake” which had helped establish a “most valued jihadist combat training zone” for al Qaeda supporters.
The report recommends immediate redeployment from Iraq and intensifying diplomacy in the region, including with Iran and Syria. Rogers said it will take “at least 10 years to make up for the mistakes made since 9/11.” More than 10 years!
“Going to war with Iran”, he said, “will make matters far worse, playing directly into the hands of extreme elements and adding greatly to the violence across the region. Whatever the problems with Iran, war should be avoided at all costs.”
I suspect no one will pay any attention to this study because the author is a professor of peace studies and thinks “war should be avoided at all costs”. Far too few members of Congress believe this and possibly no one in the traditional media will give anyone, let alone a member of Congress, air time or ink to say this.
But, the story IS be covered by the traditional media outside of the United States — in addition to the British press the story has appeared in Northern Ireland, in Malyasia, in New Zealand, in France, and even in Iran, and many other countries are carrying the wire stories. And that’s just the English-language coverage.
But this isn’t the first time that a message of peace has been ignored. According to BBC News, the ORG report has this to say about our war in Afghanistan: “al-Qaeda had benefited from the removal of the Taleban regime in Afghanistan by coalition forces. The terror network got a propaganda boost from the extraordinary rendition and detention of terrorism suspects”.
Scholars who study peace predicted our “shock and awe” approach in Afghanistan would not bring about the desired end, but they were ignored in 2001 too. Shortly after the terrorist attack on September 11th, Salon.com ran an essay called ‘How to defeat bin Laden‘ by Michael T. Klare, a professor of Peace and World Security Studies at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. In his essay, Klare argued that in order to capture bin Laden and defeat Islamic terrorism, the United States should abandon the war rhetoric (and by extension warfare) and treat bin Laden as a fugitive from the law.
There are many in Washington and around the country who believe that the United States should declare war on bin Laden… But we must also ask: Will it achieve the goal of eradicating bin Laden’s networks and eliminating the terrorist threat to the United States? There are good reasons to suspect that it will not.
Klare goes on to predict that if the U.S. starts bombing and invading Muslim nations, it will only make the problem of Islamic terrorism worse and convince “many ordinary Muslims that bin Laden is right: that the United States is intent on tormenting and subduing the Islamic world.” He then argues that not only will such a military response increase terrorism, but even worse it will fail to stop bin Laden.
As an alternative to military action of this sort, I propose a strategy that combines global law enforcement collaboration plus moral and religious combat. It would compel the Bush administration to drop its war rhetoric and instead treat its hunt for bin Laden as a criminal investigation.
It will not be possible to put bin Laden’s networks out of operation without the cooperation of police and intelligence personnel all over the globe — including the Islamic world. The best way to do this is to brand bin Laden and his associates as mass murderers who are sought for trial and punishment under U.S. law — as has been done with other suspected terrorists…
Furthermore, to prevent the recruitment of additional volunteers into bin Laden’s networks (or others of their type), we have to successfully portray him as an enemy of authentic Islam… We must encourage influential Muslim clerics to condemn bin Laden as an enemy of true Islamic belief. Only in this way can we silence him (and his kind) forever.
But I suspect just like they were ignored in 2001, professors of peace will be ignored again in 2007 too. Peace doesn’t win elections in the United States of America anymore.
Are there any bets on if and when we’ll see any mention of this report from the traditional media in America?
After over six years of this approach of total war, isn’t it time we tried something different? If it will take us at least 10 years to make up for the mistakes we’ve made so far, how long is it going to take if keep waiting to change our strategy?