Are We Fighting a Real War on Terror at All?

The Bush administration recently made it known that a major offensive against al Qaeda would be launched in Afghanistan and Pakistan during the spring. It was even hinted that Osama bin Laden might be caught this year.

To the average Super Bowl-watching American, it might seem strange to warn dangerous and already elusive foes that you are coming to get them. Conspiracy theorists among us (who occasionally prove to be right) would conclude that the Bush administration already knows Osama's location and, to have the maximum political impact, is just waiting to round him up shortly before the election. Of course, this conclusion would be a very cynical interpretation of the Bush administration's actions-which, given the administration's secrecy and twisting of intelligence to hype the Iraqi threat, may not be entirely unwarranted. Under that scenario, however, the risk for President Bush and his minions is that Osama would once again manage to disappear before they could capture him-leaving them empty-handed before the election.

A more sympathetic line of reasoning might conclude that publicity for the new offensive is an attempt to scare bin Laden into doing something rash in order to smoke him out and capture him. But spring is a still long way away and bin Laden would have plenty of time, without panicking, to adjust his own strategy for avoiding capture. Besides, if bin Laden is somewhere along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, he has had, and will continue to have advantages, that Saddam Hussein never did: remote, rugged terrain and a very sympathetic population to shelter him.

And that population is likely to become more loyal. The Pakistani government, under U.S. pressure, is now employing aggressive tactics-learned from the Israelis, who learned them from the British-against people in the Pakistani tribal areas close to the border who are associated with al Qaeda fighters. For example, Pakistani authorities are bulldozing houses of the family members of those fighters. This wrong-headed strategy violates the doctrine of individual rights and responsibilities that is a cornerstone of American beliefs and will backfire among the heavily fundamentalist populations of the tribal areas, which already hate the Pakistani and U.S. governments. Like the use of aggressive tactics by Israel against Palestinian fundamentalists and radicals, short-term gains can be achieved but in the long run will fuel more support for the extremist cause. Playing hardball in Pakistan's tribal areas will only increase support for bin Laden and al Qaeda in the long-term.

It is curious, however, that the administration is only now getting ambitious about rounding up terrorists, when it has seemed lukewarm to the idea ever since the September 11 attacks. During the war in Afghanistan, the United States concentrated less on neutralizing al Qaeda fighters than on removing the unfriendly Taliban regime from a country perceived to be strategic and installing a more compliant, hand-picked government. On two important occasions in the war, the administration refused to risk U.S. casualties by committing U.S. forces to fight al Qaeda in the Afghan mountains-relying instead on Afghan allies that were ultimately paid off to let the terrorists escape.

Moreover, for similar geo-strategic reasons and seemingly to divert attention from its failure to neutralize bin Laden, the administration chose to change the subject to Saddam Hussein and Iraq. This shift in attention and intelligence and military efforts from Afghanistan to Iraq took resources away from hunting down people who had actually orchestrated attacks on the United States. In fact, the war in Iraq was actually counterproductive to the war on terrorism because it inflamed Islamic populations everywhere and caused radical elements to volunteer people and money to the terrorist cause. The rash of recent terrorist attacks around the world-including in Iraq-is evidence of the effect. Moreover, shaky governments in many Islamic countries have been more reluctant to be seen as helping the United States round up terrorists.

Given the administration's past tepid and even counterproductive efforts to fight al Qaeda, one can correctly examine its new advertising for a spring offensive in the context of the election year back home. Since Iraq policy is in shambles and President Bush wants to burnish national security credentials against any Democratic challenger, the administration has suddenly become more energetic in promoting its efforts against al Qaeda. This illustrates that a never-ending war on terrorism is ideal for an incumbent president. It's just surprising that we didn't see ads during the Super Bowl telecast.

Ivan Eland is the Director of the Center on Peace and Liberty at the Independent Institute in Oakland, California and author of the book, Putting "Defense" Back into U.S. Defense Policy: Rethinking U.S. Security in the Post-Cold War World.

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Older Comments:
Hiyat I would have to agree. When 911 happened I had a gut feeling to that it was by the government.
There are some websites now that say that the government had to create a national crisis of such huge poportions that the American people would be willing to give up their liberty and tollerate and look the other way when certain

peoples right were taken away. There is a book called the R Document that is about that.
It was probabley written in the 70's or 80's.

Another strang thing about 911?

New York has one of the biggest Muslim populations in America.
I guess the hijackers warned friends or family to steer clear on that day?

What happened in Irag is a pointer to the fact that all is politics and in the end everything is a gag.And untill truth becomes our backbone we are sure to continue to suffer paralysis.

I agree that my country has not done enough to fight terrorism globally. As Rumsfeld said, we just haven't been bold enough yet. It is hypocritical to say that we fight a War on Terror and at the same time refuse to act ambitiously and aggressively against the enemies of freedom. That's I am troubled that we haven't neutralized UBL and Zawahiri. Having lived in a Muslim country, I know that many in the Muslim world considers the United States to be weak and vulnerable, just as UBL claimed when referring to our misfortunes in Somalia. As long as America plays soft with the Enemy, we will never earn the respect globally that we would need to be the true Leader of the Free World.

For the sake of freedom globally, we need to keep to the pressure on UBL and others of his kind without regret or hesitation. Anything less would be uncivilized.

I agree that my country has not done enough to fight terrorsm. UBL is still out there, and we need to remove him as a threat. As Rumsfeld said, we just haven't made the bold moves yet. How can we make the world safe for democracy if we let the the most dire threats to it continue to fester? We would be hypocrites not to follow through with our promise to liberate the globe from the scourge of extremism just because we wanted to appease some oil-rich tyrants.

We need to keep the pressure on and not permit the Enemy the opportunity even so much as breathe. Anything else would be uncivilized.

The US is giving Bin Laden time to go broke, grow a beard and loose his teeth like Saddam Hussein did. Then they can hunt him down and extract him out, humiliate him to the world the way they did Hussein because US are that kind of people and it would be an extra vote for Mr. Bush. In my opinion and in some of the stories I read kind of hint that the disaster of 9/11 was the work of the government it self. All those Arabic people who were listed as the terrorists were probably trained and paid by the CIA or other US intelligence services like, the Saddam's and the Bin Laden's. This was an excellent way for the US administration to pass new laws to control Muslims and the spread of Islam especially in the United States. Go destroy two countries start mayhem in many of the region and look like the good guys. See this way they can arrest anybody and everybody who they say is linked or associated to the terrorists and get away with murder. Look at how many thousands of boys and men of Arab origin the US has detained without charges in lot of cases and without legal representation since 9/11. That was one of the main ingredients for the big plan for cooking all the evil.
Those planes should not have been allowed to bring down the twin towers, were they all sleeping or were they guiding and coaching the terrorists which side they should hit the building from. Inside job I tell you, it is a gut feeling I have, I hope the inquires into the 9/11 will tell the truth super bowl was for Ms. Jackson not for security and moral conduct of the government

Heres a solution to ending terrorism. Point your WMD straight up in the sky at a 90 degree angle.

Chris, You have just stated that you admit that there are inconsistencies within the bible when you said:
"A careful reading of the Old Testament and New Testament is good for all. There are points that are difficult to understand because they may seem inconsistent but as Jesus said to those that doubted Ye have little faith. I am not suggesting you have little faith only those that would doubt and nit pick. With God all things are possible and all inconsistencies explainable. "

Now....once inconsistency which I believe you are denying is that if you could please bother to continue reading past John 14:16, onwards up...I will explain every verse that carries on which clearly describes the coming of Prophet Muhammad (saaw), who was the only messenger to come after Jesus, and the ONLY one who confirmed the prophethood of Jesus, and also confirmed his return, just as Jesus himself said that this "spirit of truth" (Muhammad (saaw)) would do:

John 14:16-40

16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever--
(This is Prophet Muhammad (saaw) the only one who fulfills this description)

17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[1] in you.
(Spirit of truth...all the pagan arabs before Islam knew Muhammad (saaw) as the most truthful and trustworthy person they ever knew; There is not one painting in the world of what he looks like; he lives in us all b/c of the examples he left with us on how to live, ie. The Sunnah, Ahadith)

18I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.
(This confirms that Jesus was crucified not, that you "will not see me anymore" he will dissappear, raised into Heaven, and that he lives in heaven until he returns to descend upon the Earth)

Mr. Ward
Thank you for inviting us/me to write. It certainly is healthy. However, I have no more to add since you revealed your colour earlier on and now you are just adding more shades of the same colour.

Let me rewrite what you said:
"We do run the world and will continue to run it until the Lord's return."

Thsi implies that you have been given information by the Almighty that America will control the world until re-appearance of Christ p.b.u.h. Question: WHo told you so? Where do you get this amzing information from?

This also implies that America is the chosen race/country to control the world because God said so. Where did you get this inforamtion from?

Indeede you have missed my point either by choice or ignorance.

In my eyes Christian zealots are just the same as the binLadens of this world. It is a shame that the rest of us have to bear the brunt of such rehtoric nosense.

Here is a site that you may benefit from visiting and reading:

and no it is not run by Muslims. It is Christian thro and thro but the kind who deserve utmost respect for their knowledge of the Bible, and Americans too!!

Offcourse it pays to read a little of our Quran but I may be expecting too much here. Still God leads whomsoever HE wishes to HIS light. Glory be to THE ONE AND ONLY GOD.

Good bye and let there be peace.

Ahmed Asgher

I do hope you will continue writing because I enjoy this healthy dialogue. It will make us both stronger!

To Akhan:
Of course Bush is not perfect. We all do things wrong and say wrong things. If he said what he did then he was wrong but that does not mean he has a warped mind. Saddam Hussein has a warped mind and Iraq will be better off with out him. WMD or no WMD what we did was and is correct.
I do not want to join the universal brotherhood of humanity. One cannot trust in himself or man to be his master. I have joined the Lord.

To Mr Khan: Paul said what Jesus said. I am not sure where you stand but it sounds like you may be picking and choosing what you believe in regards to the New Testament. How about John 3:16? Quite a good verse. I do believe in the oneness of God. Many times in the old testament Psalms 110:1 (I think) the Lord shows that he is one but he has different likeness. Quite hard for me to understand, but that does not mean it is not so. A careful reading of the Old Testament and New Testament is good for all. There are points that are difficult to understand because they may seem inconsistent but as Jesus said to those that doubted Ye have little faith. I am not suggesting you have little faith only those that would doubt and nit pick. With God all things are possible and all inconsistencies explainable.

But my real point of the need for a careful reading is to see the overall message: Man sinned, the wages of sin is death, animal sacrifice (death) provided the sacrificer a clean slate, the people would not obey, a pures sinless human sacrifice would then provide the clean slate for all so that none would have to pay for their sin with death. This is the overall theme that is repeated over, and over, and over in the Old Testament. In the ancient manuscripts until the recent ones. This theme has not changed. None is perfect but God and God is perfect. Therefore if one is to believe Jesus was perfect, although difficult, it can be believed he was this God AND the sacrifice. As God he was perfect as flesh he was mor

SO CHRIS...what's keeping you, do you stil deny the points I stated in my previous response as to your mentality and your obvious behaviour of having this complex of, "no one can be better than me! I'm an American after all..."

Jesus Christ (Peace and blessing be upon him) pronounces to YOU CHRISTOPHER WARD in John 14:16, to wait and listen to the message that will be given to the spirit of truth. Stop following the gospels of Paul....and come back ot believing in the ONENESS OF GOD, THE ALMIGHTY AND SUPREME, OMNIPOTENT LORD OF THE UNIVERSE.

To Mr. Asgher:

Your reply has said nothing. Of course I do not believe myself to be God, only his servant. I follow as he has commanded.

Christ certainly was humble and perfect. But do not confuse humility with passivity. The Lord chased those out of the Temple that had made it a din of theives. So will we chase out those who are both material and spiritual thieves. We are commanded to do this WHERVER they may be. So the Shepard did, so will his flock do.

This certainly is scary stuff Mr. Asgher and I am glad you recognize it. All spiritual thieves will tremble in this world or the next. I have no idea if you will tremble, I hope you will not.

PreRebutal: We are not the real thieves, we will not tremble.

Chris Ward wrote...
1."the Bush administration's...twisting of intelligence to hype the Iraqi threat"
Of course we all know that Dr. Kay has said that the adminstration did NOT twist the intelligence to hype the Iraqi threat. President Bush acted intelligence he had and believed it to be true. If there were no weapons and Saddam was bluffing to try and ward off others he is the only one to blame."

Extra! Extra! read all about it. Dr.Kay and Mr Bush has just announced that Aliens are about to attack the US.A true patriot by the name of Chris Ward ran out into the street,rifle in hand yelling "Where are they? Where are they". It is painful to see such blind patriotism especially when you called other people baffoon.Mr Kay was handpicked by Mr Bush to look for banned weapons in Iraq,of course he is not going to slander his old boss.If an idiot like Sadaam could fool the mighty America what does that say about your country.I guess you didn't see the Iraqis before the war started,saying over and over again "We have no WMD" and also invited the CIA to Iraq to verify their claim.Let me give you a little hindsight on your Mr Bush.When he was Gov, Tucker Carlson interviewed him and ask him the question "What would Carla Faye Tucker(the woman he excecuted) say if she was here and Mr Bush mockingly replied "Please Please don't kill me".What makes you think a man with such a warp mind gives a damn about you let alone the Iraqis.Bush has narrow eyes and that is the mark of a man with narrow vision and narrow intelect.The next time you stepped outside grab a handful of dirt in your hand and look at it,reflect upon it.It was there long before there ever was such a place called America and it would be there long after there is a place called America.Nationalism,tribalism,racism are all man made crap used to divide humanity.Come back to ISLAM, and join the universal brotherhood of humanity, of which the Hajj is a prime example and the truth shall set you free.
Salaam (pe

Christopher Ward writes:

"We do run the world and will continue to run it until the Lord's return."

Holy schmuzzle. This is scary stuff! Is he talking on behalf of God or does he really believe he is God. Either, be araid. Be very afraid of such self-righteous people.

Poor me. There I was thinking that God runs this unverse that HE created in the first place. Hell, I must have missed that directive that appointed Mr. Ward tro speak/act on HIS behalf. Can someone send me a copy PLEEEEZ!

The Perisnas have a saying: "An apple thrown in the air turns a thousand turn before it hits the ground". Or as the Anglo-Saxons would say: Don't count your chickens before they are hatched".
Muslims say: The whip of God makes no sound. OR He works in mysterious ways.

Foregive me please for being silly. Can't help it. The point is: Don't count on your might Mr. American for the same Lord that you believe in may very well take it away from you in a stroke of lightening, on account of your arrogance. That is if you believe in HIS Entity.

The Dinosaurs were also very big as were the Greeks, the Romans, the Persians, the Pharos and their empires. Where are they now?? What happened to them that they are restircted to classrooms and the history's bin!?

Here is free lesson in physics: The higher you go the harder the fall. Except I hope and pray the lunatics don't take us all with them.

It pays to be humble my friend for Christ was a humble man and so were all the prophets of God, may peace be upon them all and upon us all.

Ahmed Asgher

Christopher Ward, it is a shame to see you not respond to my originally stated that you will "continue to take the fight there" referring to Afghanistan in order to capture Osama bin Laden....THEN WHY ARE YOUR TROOPS IN IRAQ STILL AND NOT IN AFGHANISTAN??? You seem to be so adamant about capturing Osama, why are your American forces sitting in Iraq still and coming home as well and being replaced with fresh soldiers and reservists?

It is not my response that it tainted, it is your own mind that is tainted into believing that your nation is righteous and above and beyond everyone else...which somehow gives you the belief that you are the only nation that is allowed to posess WMD and not have to answer to anyone - basically you are telling me that you are trying to play police man of the world, because obviously from your response you have no problem in thinking this way. I wonder how many decades its going to take people like you to realize that you have a chip on your shoulder.

If you think I am "trying to say" that the Taliban and Al-Qaeda are not aligned that that is your own assumption and misinterpretation of what I stated. To help you understand what I wrote more clearly since you are adding things to what I stated, I will tell you that I was emphasizing that your government is so preoccupied in creating an image of the Taliban as being oppressors and that they are aligned with Al-Qaeda's views, but this sort of emphasis is not put on Guantanamo Bay, where a Canadian by the name of Khadr and his little brother who is still being held there has been there for almost 3 years, and he was 14 years old when he arrived at that barbaric prison set up by your government.

SEcondly, you did not address the claims of WMD in posession by the most dangerous of nations in the world today that threaten the well being of different parts of the world. Your government and Amreicans like yourself are so caught up in trying to figure--conti

TO Akbar Khan:

Of course I did not say I was judge and jury. I am not, God is. He is holding those accountable right as I write this response. You have a presupposition that I think I am the judge/jury. This taints your response as we know it will be subjective, not objective.

Saying I talk about the Taliban and al Qaeda being alligned sounds like you do not believe they are. Do you believe they are? If they are alligned do you think the USA had a right to invade? And of course I know the Taliban is regrouped and reorganized. The way those people over there fight one has to let them organize and gather so you can bring them all to justice at once. Make no mistake Mr. Khan, the Taliban is not coming back. It is the Taliban that is the comic relief for both the Muslim and Western world.

Much like Mr. Eland, the author, you cannot string a continuous thought together. Witness: "If there were no weapons and Saddam was bluffing to try and ward off others he is the only one to blame." This is what I wrote. Perhaps I need to spell things out. Weapons = WMD. All can see I did address the claims of WMD. I think you were angry and lost your train of thought but that is okay, none is perfect.

The reason we will not sign the NPT or disarm at this point is because there are still many who would do us harm and we must have leverage. We do run the world and will continue to run it until the Lord's return.

I hope we do send troops into North Korea.

I do not live in denial. I know the world to be different than you.

Please respond, intelligently, to the contradictions of Mr. Eland note in my original response #4 and #5.

Please read my words carefully so as to avoid a response that provides evidence or your not being able to read and comprehend.

Take care, Good luck!

bush is fighting islam

Who are the terrorists and what are they different from us. well one would say they are everybody's enemy, they don't care people's life. if that is a terrorist, we have more terrorists than we think. everybody whose responsible for killing civilian is a terrorist right? wrong, Bush is not that stupid, otherwise he would be one for them. so what is a terrorist? well you know if you watch Bush's speech on the starting the war of Afghanistan. and here is what he said "you either with us or with the evils". so what is that mean? it means if you are support with Bush's administration for whatever they do, good then you are the good guys but if you don't you are a terrorist. we are very close to end the terrorist. we just have to kill the ones Bush doen't like to see them around and we are done. the minute we kill all of those, we just have left those who don't support for what he is doing then we done. the would be no more terrorist.

Just responding to Chrsitopher's comments, I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out Bush is waiting until just before the next election to capture Bin Laden. They may already have captured him! From TIME: "We're sure we're going to catch Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar this year." Bryan Hilferty, U.S. military spokesman, making a "prediction" as the Army readies a SPRING offensive to search for the two men. Well 9/11 happened in the year 2001, 2 and a half years later before elections, now were going to perform a real search? As John Kerry said about GW's foreign policy:"I mean, what's harsh about a reckless, arrogant, ideological foreign policy?" You people have to stop being so ethnocentric in your views.

Bulldozing the homes of a dissident population would seem more suitable for snatching land than for suppressing resistance. Actually, resistance would seem rather likely to be perpetuated by destroying the homes of dissidents - which would make the practice of destroying homes seem extremely suitable for snatching land from a population which is presently (or likely to become) dissident. The question would seem to be is the United States committed to: 1) fighting terrorism, or, 2) snatching land?

Christopher Ward, you say that if someone is doing wrong, they will be held accountable? By whom, YOU? You think you are judge, jury, and prosecution all wrapped up into one? You think you are hte police man of the world, sticking your nose into places where it does not belong.

You are totally off your rocker. The one's who are TRULY doing wrong are the people in your own Administration right now, and "those who harbour them" so to speak. You talk about Al-Qaeda and the Taliban being aligned wiht one another, yet you are in such denial and at loss of touch with reality that you do not even recognize that the Taliban has regrouped and reorganized in Afghanistan because your yanky-doodle dandy president and his cronies have sent their forces into IRaq. Speaking of which, I didn't hear you address any claims to WMD. Since I am going there, if you as an American are so concerned about non-proliferation, then why don't you yourself work to disarm your government of Nuclear WEapons and get them to sign he NPT? Of course you won't because you are bent on the old Western model of divide and conquer which your empire has inherited from British colonialists of the past. Iraq was such an imminent threat huh? People like you are the laughing stock of the world now. Why don't you send more US soldiers to hte de-militarized zone between North and South Korea, and overthrow Kim Jong and his open admittance to having a Nuclear weapons programme? Selective of course, naturally you are an American who continually lives in denial about the truth and doesn't even realize that the greatest form of patriotism is to question the actions of your own government. Please get in touch with reality man....

Real Eyes Realize Real Lies

1."the Bush administration's...twisting of intelligence to hype the Iraqi threat"
Of course we all know that Dr. Kay has said that the adminstration did NOT twist the intelligence to hype the Iraqi threat. President Bush acted intelligence he had and believed it to be true. If there were no weapons and Saddam was bluffing to try and ward off others he is the only one to blame. This begins the spin of the article and lets the astute reader know that the rest of the article will be subject.
2."cornerstone of American beliefs and will backfire among the heavily fundamentalist populations of the tribal areas, which already hate the Pakistani and U.S. governments."
Quite true, these people do hate us. However, if you are doing wrong, you will be held accountable. And as many now believe and understand, you must do what is right because the other side already hates and thus appeasing them will do no good.
3."Like the use of aggressive tactics by Israel against Palestinian..radicals, short-term gains can be achieved but...fuel more support for the extremist cause...will..increase support for bin Laden and al Qaeda in the long-term."
And so we should do nothing? We will not be afraid of the increasing support for bin Laden. We will continue to take the fight there. The more that join him the more sorrow there will be. We will not lose.
4."the administration is only now getting ambitious about rounding up terrorists...since the 9/11 attacks. During the war in Afghanistan, the United States concentrated less on neutralizing al Qaeda fighters than on removing the unfriendly Taliban regime."
There is no difference between those that harbor terrorists and terrorists. The Taliban is al Qaeda and vice versa.
5. "This shift in...military efforts from Afghanistan to Iraq took resources away from hunting down people who had actually orchestrated attacks on the United States.
Hold on, I thought we only recently got ambitious? Oh how you spin s

I won't be surprised at all, the least bit, if Bush and his cronies, Republicans and right-wing Democrats try to tell the American people in the next few months before the November elections, that they are the only ones who are "capable" of capturing Osama bin Laden b/c of their so-called superiority in National Security matters...and that in order to stop this so called "terrorist" threat, that he (W. Bush), is the only man (including his administration), who are able to do that (what a load of crap). It is so obvious that this is what they are going to feed American voters, in order to retain his status as head of state, and further monopolize world resources and nations.

The democratic front-runner needs to seriously announce and clarify that the Bush administrations agenda was never to capture bin Laden, but to feed lies to people so that the occupation of Iraq would be justified....
The longevity of Bush's power is dependent on how long long bin Laden lingers on....

..The longer Dubya can delay his capture of bin Laden, and promote his "hunt" for bin Laden by slowly annexing all other Muslim nations piece by piece (and it's populations who seem to be somehow associated with his movement) by feeding people sheer lies and propaganda, then the more power neo-Zionist Christian armageddonists like Jerry Fallwell, Pat Robertson, Billy Graham and their kind, will have... - - - John Ashcroft and his secret dealings of giving bibles to his team and holding evangelical sermons from the bible among his workers is no coincidence...neither is President Bush's reference to the "war on terrorism" as a crusade back in 2001.

This message is for all who sympathize with the Bush adminstration, and this is also for the Bush adminstration itself:

"you can fool some of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but never all of the people all of the time."

Real Eyes Realize Real Lies.