Saturday, September 18, 2004

Interesting tidbits from the 9/11 report

Section 12.3 (pp. 374-5)

In October 2003,reflecting on progress after two years of waging the global war on terrorism,Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld asked his advisers:�Are we capturing,killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us? Does the US need to fashion a broad,integrated plan to stop the next generation of terrorists? The US is putting relatively little effort into a long-range plan,but we are putting a great deal of effort into trying to stop terrorists.The cost-benefit ratio is against us! Our cost is billions against the terrorists�costs of millions.�

These are the right questions.Our answer is that we need short-term action on a long-range strategy,one that invigorates our foreign policy with the attention that the President and Congress have given to the military and intelligence parts of the conflict against Islamist terrorism.

The United States is heavily engaged in the Muslim world and will be for many years to come.This American engagement is resented.Polls in 2002 found that among America�s friends,like Egypt�the recipient of more U.S.aid for the past 20 years than any other Muslim country�only 15 percent of the population had a favorable opinion of the United States.In Saudi Arabia the number was 12 percent.And two-thirds of those surveyed in 2003 in countries from Indonesia to Turkey (a NATO ally) were very or somewhat fearful that the United States may attack them.

Support for the United States has plummeted.Polls taken in Islamic countries after 9/11 suggested that many or most people thought the United States was doing the right thing in its fight against terrorism;few people saw popular support for al Qaeda;half of those surveyed said that ordinary people had a favorable view of the United States.

Iraq was the worst battleground in the War on Terror. Before, the threat was managed even though Saddam was sneering at the inspectors. If anything, we could have employed a different strategy that would have kept up support for the US in the Arab world and at the very least, not have 1/6 of the world a breeding ground for terrorists.