Monday, December 31, 2007

The War on Terror: Not Just America's Problem

Before anything else: Happy New Year!

Getting bombed is a New Year's tradition for many: but not the way 27 people in Thailand did. Three bombs went off in Sungai Kolok, in Narathiwat province: two in a hotel disco, and one on a motorcycle outside another hotel. Nobody was killed, but 27 were hurt.

Thai Army spokesman Colonel Akara Thiprote said that Islamic insurgents were to blame. That's likely enough. More than 2,000 people have been killed in attacks in Narathiwat, Yala and Pattaniin Narathiwat provinces since January, 2004. Yala and Pattaniin Narathiwat are mostly Muslim, and the Thai government says that Muslims who want an independent Islamic state did the killing.

I've gotten the impression that some people, including some national leaders, think that if America would stop being mean, the war on terror would end. They use terms like narrow-minded, intolerant, oppressive, or whatever the cause of the year is, but it boils down to "being mean."

The "death to Israel! Death to the Great Satan America!" slogans are what make the headlines here in America, and elsewhere. But, the War on Terror isn't an American war, any more than America started hostilities. Around the world, people who think that anyone who doesn't follow their version of Islam deserves death are putting their beliefs into practice.

I sincerely hope that leaders around the world, and particularly in old Europe, realize that radical Islam isn't a problem that can be solved by criticizing non-liberal American policies. Maybe my impression of Europe is too greatly influenced by previous French administrations.

Although leaders like Osama bin Laden and groups like Al Qaeda and the Taliban hate many aspects of American culture and policy, but I'm quite sure that their disapproval doesn't stop there.

Given the number of Muslims in Europe, and the relative efficiency of Muslims and old-style Europeans at settling down and raising families, I think that the Islamic world will soon include Europe. When that happens, organizations like Al Qaeda would expect European countries to practice Islam their way, just as the Taliban did in Afghanistan.

Even if non-Muslims remain a majority in Europe, I doubt that a triumphant Taliban, or an Al Qaeda with control of the heart of Islam would allow Europe to remain unchanged. For example:
  • I have trouble imagining a global Caliphate tolerating what's euphemistically called the adult entertainment of Copenhagen and Amsterdam.
  • The people who banned soccer from the Kabul stadium, and wouldn't let girls play, might even ban wine from France.
  • Worse, it might be the end of the Oktoberfest.

January 1, 2008.

I don't usually announce edits of a post, but this one went beyond correcting a typo punctuation error. A few hours after posting this, and after having had an adequate fraction of a night's sleep, I did some heavy editing. No ideas have been changed, but it should make more sense now. I added a transitional paragraph (the one starting "I've gotten the impression that"), cleaned up some typos and corrected a really embarrassing copy-and-past error I'd made while fixing a sentence last night (beware copy-and-paste writing!!).


Visor said...

Terrorism is not just America's problem, I still believe India, Pakistan are still the major victims of terrorism.
America has hardly one or two terror attacks on it's soil, whereas India has the most. Maybe you should talk about this.

Wishing you a very happy and a prosperous New Year!
Visor a.k.a xtremer

Brian H. Gill said...


That's a very good suggestion: Talking about terrorism in India and Pakistan.

Come to think of it, Indonesia, the Philippines, and other places near the Indian ocean are involved, too.

I appreciate your bringing this idea up. More to the point, I intend to learn more, so that I can talk sensibly about terrorism in that part of the world.

And, a very happy and prosperous New Year to you!

Brian, a.k.a. Norski

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.