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September 27, 2004

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"that Europe has very little to offer": Maybe when it comes to conventional military capability (though it is hardly insignificant). When it comes to counter-terrorism, European countries have much more experience and know-how than the US: read this.
The only difference between Al Qaeda and groups such as the IRA, the ETA or the GIA is that the former is non-national, which means the counter-terrorist effort must be coordinated multinationally (multilaterally), whereas national efforts were sufficient to supress groups like the RAF or the Red Brigades.

I cannot stop marvel at the fantastically humongous psychologic impact of planes crashing into skyscrappers that crumble down, live.
All this "this is a totally new kind of warfare" is a memetic artefact due to media saturation. People hearing and repeating it so often that it becomes considered as a truth.
It doesn't help that this positive feedback has been reinforced by the propaganda machine of a certain government to pursue a pre-9/11 agenda of waging war on certain other countries, mostly middle-eastern.

I think the ESS is more about defence policy than counter-terrorism policy, though obviously the separation is not watertight. Check Arms & Influence for more on counter-terrorism, counter-insurgency and warfare theory in general.

"I think the ESS is more about defence policy than counter-terrorism policy, though obviously the separation is not watertight."

If so they are fighting the last war. Or maybe three wars ago.

If so they are fighting the last war. Or maybe three wars ago.

No, they're following strategies that work, that have been proved to work - rather than diving down the hellhole of neverending war that comes when you try to fight terrorism as if it were a national group.

See the difference between Northern Ireland and the West Bank: reflect on the difference between British strategies in Northern Ireland and Israel strategies in the Occupied Territories, and ask yourself: Which military strategy ought the US to be emulating?

fighting the last war: I suppose you mean '4th generation warfare'. But some things, like for example friction, level of operation, intiative, actions and counter-actions, is common to all kind of warfare.
Actually, Iraq is a good example of fighting the last war: the invasion of Iraq was a school example of 3rd generation manoeuvre warfare. And it is as ineffeficient against 4th generation warfare as the 2nd generation BEF & French Army against the 3rd generation Wehrmacht.

Fighting Al Qaeda is not a "a war like no other". As a form of counter-terrorism, it has its unique traits, but principles that were valid centuries ago (terrorism is much older than people assume) are still valid against AQ.


"See the difference between Northern Ireland and the West Bank"

Which difference? There are many. Not the least of which is that the conflict in Northern Ireland is much older than wrangling about the West Bank.

Furthermore how does the approach you allude to differ from what the US did before 9-11? You may notice that treating Middle Eastern terrorism as a police matter didn't stop Al Qaeda from deciding to attack us. Or you might not.

Still further you don't bother with the hugely important distinctions in goals between the IRA and Al Qaeda. As evil as the IRA is, it at least has fairly limited and understandable goals. Not so Al Qaeda, and not so many other Middle Eastern terrorist groups.

A unified Muslim theocratic caliphate is much greater in scope than a unified Irish catholic republic, but not that different in nature. A good historical parallel would be the Habsburg goal of restauring the Holy Roman Empire as both a political and religious entity. Just replace 'emperor' with 'caliphe' and 'catholic' with 'wahhabi' or whatever sect bin Laden belongs to.

You just have that "evil barbaric islamofascists" prejudice that makes them ununderstandable to you.
Their deathwish, readiness to kill innocents, cruelty, fanaticism, lust for martyrdom and revenge couldn't be more alien to me personally, but they're all too understandable and all too common human traits.

As for wether the fall of the WTC justifies total war against the muslim world, I don't think we'll ever agree on that. I find the mere thought preposterous, and as stupid as the Catholics and Protestants that wanted to extermintate each other during the 30 years war because of the defenestration of Prague.

On my first scan of Barcelona I gathered it was based on experience in peace keeping operations. On this it's not bad, that it been twisted later into a response to terrorism is what buggers the whole thing.

In my own country PIRA's stated goal was a 32 county united socialist Ireland. This was always a fairy tale for the very guilable, some of them friends of mine.

Restoration of the original Caliphate is similar something that Muslims have dreamed about for centuries. It is no more real than world socialism was for Stalinists.

Some idiots mistake PIRA's relatively low kill rates for moral restraint. It's a cause of much cold laughter in Belfast. Bagging 1,800 out of a population of 1,500,000 you'd think was respectable enough. For those of us who lived uner their fire and understand the complexities of the struggle we recognise cynical political maturity, and are rather thankful they operated in times when a small pile of heads would suffice.

At the moment, after being trounced by MI5 and British military intelligence, what is left of the IRA has pragmatically settled for power sharing with their hated Protestant neighbours.

If we do anywhere near as well with the Jihadis it will be a spectacular triumph.

You may notice that treating Middle Eastern terrorism as a police matter didn't stop Al Qaeda from deciding to attack us.

Treating Middle Eastern terrorism shabbily as a police matter didn't stop Al Qaeda from attacking. That the technique was executed poorly (if it all) does not automatically declare the technique faulty, any more than the catastrophe of our Iraqi policy inherently undermines the case for preemptive/preventive war; it merely highlights the peril of enacting this policy badly.

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