Saturday, February 3, 2007

Mr Bush's Fight Club (Part I)

A recent article in the New Yorker has a lengthy interview with an Australian military officer, on loan to the Pentagon as an advisory, discussing America's inflexibility in adapting the Bush coined "Global War on Terror" into it's smaller ideological buckets. He points out that Bush is helping the terrorists by lumping them all into one group and not recognizing the differences in Somalia compared to the Abu Saif (Philippines), or Hesballa, or most importantly Iraq. By broadcasting that they are all the same their once separate grievances are perceived as one and allows them to be one unified force around the world. Ben Laden knows this and has been successfully using the media outlets to encourage the phrasing "global war on terrorism" as it makes him an iconic figure for all the world's radical Islamic groups. The Australian analyst argues that if we'd deal with each group's issues individually and see them as political groups rather than Muslim/Islamic groups under the same blanket ideology snuffing out each conflict one by one would be much easier.

The author goes on to site a famous psychological operations maneuver that won the hearts and minds of thousands of rebel Muslim fighters in Indonesia just recently. The United States, after the tsunami in early 2005. The US deployed the USS Mercy hospital ship (see pic below) to the region (with military support at the ready) to aid in the disaster relief. Over 61,000 locals over the length of it's tour (mostly Muslim) were treated to top-notch health care free of charge by this vessel. A poll conducted says it all: "87 percent of those surveyed in [the region] said that the activities of the Mercy made their overall opinion of the US more positive." In other words with out a shot being fired the US changed the philosophy of the residents of the area to a favorable view of the US.

If we are as strong as we say we are our greatest challenge is compassion. One solitary Navy vessel, the USS Mercy, has done more for the abatement of terrorism than 5 years of war with Afghanistan and Iraq.

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