Monday, September 17, 2007

Bush The Jihadist

Correlli Barnett looks at how President Bush himself turned into a jihadist to fight his 'War on Terror'. That would be a Christian jihadist :
I have long thought that Bin Laden was also motivated by a specific strategic purpose in launching 9/11 - a wish to trap the United States into an ideological struggle with the Islamic world. He certainly succeeded in this - but only because Bush and his neo-con cronies have been all too willing to accept the challenge.

Why? Because just as much as Bin Laden and his fellow jihadists, they, too, see world affairs in simple terms of ideological conviction.

Bush and his vicepresident Dick Cheney are fundamentalist Christians, while Bush's own political base lies in his fellow fundamentalists of the American 'Bible belt'. And tragically for Britain, Tony Blair passionately shared Bush's belief that world policy must be inspired by religious faith.

The grim truth is that when George W. Bush declared "a global war on terror", he was really announcing a jihad of his own - a struggle to convert the whole world to American-style capitalist democracy.

Only a couple of weeks ago, Bush trumpeted to a tame audience of the American Legion that the U.S. was engaged in "the first ideological war of the 21st century".

So we have two global jihads colliding head on. The collision has transformed world affairs from the cool-headed fixing of deals into an apocalyptic conflict between Good and Evil.

"We" are the righteous, while our chosen enemy is "the Axis of Evil" or "the Great Satan" (take your pick) with whom no compromise is possible, and against whom any violence is permissible.

Al Qaeda and its associated jihadists massacre the innocent to the cry of "Allah Akbar" ('God is Great'). Meanwhile, President Bush launches "shock and awe" aerial onslaughts on Iraqi and Afghan villages and cities in the sure belief that Jesus Christ wants him to spread democracy around the world.

Yet belief in the righteousness of the cause is only the vehicle for something deeper and even more alarming. And that something is sheer emotion. We see it in jihadist books and preaching. We see it in Bush's inflamed rhetoric. We saw it in the preachings of Tony Blair.

Such emotion is terrifyingly dangerous.

...wars have no such limits if they are fuelled by mutual hatred, or inspired by rival political or religious faiths, or fought for national survival. Instead, they will escalate to extremes.

All three of these factors were true of the titanic struggle to the death between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in 1941-45.

Now we see a comparable mutual hatred and fear - comparable fanatical beliefs - fuelling the current struggle between the two jihads of Bush and Bin Laden.

Here lies the peril for the future. For how can "the Axis of Evil" and "the Great Satan" negotiate a businesslike compromise on the basis of live-and-let-live?

Today, Iran has become the prime target of Bush's ideological mission. He recently trumpeted: "We will confront this danger before it is too late. Either the forces of extremism succeed or the forces of freedom succeed. Either our enemies advance their interests in Iraq, or we advance our interests."

In this inflamed rhetoric, echoing his rants in 2002 and 2003 about Saddam Hussein and his alleged development of weapons of mass destruction, we can hear the louder and louder beat of war drums.

It therefore seems that the disastrous consequences of American interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan have taught Bush nothing.

Nor has he learned the harsh lesson from history that launching a war in order to achieve an ideological objective can lead to horribly unintended consequences.

The lesson here - the lesson of all military history - is that war, no matter how passionate the belief in the righteousness of the cause, is inherently uncontrollable, its outcome quite unpredictable.

If only George W. Bush would abandon his paranoid search for ideological monsters, we could all sleep more peacefully in our beds.

The true answer to Islamist jihad does not lie in Bush's ideological counter-jihad, but in cool political heads and painstaking work by police forces and intelligence services across the world.

The neocon's 'WoT' is clearly now aimed at Iran, and Osama Bin Laden knows it. America fell into Bin Laden's trap in Iraq, and by going to war on Iran we will only further the Al Qaeda leader's world-shaping ambition - an apocalyptic, nations wide clash between Islamic extremism and the West. Between Christianity and Islam.