friedman hits the nail right on its head

Friedman Hits the Nail Right on Its Head

Tom Friedman hits the nail right on its head in his latest column for the New York Times. The liberal hawk summarizes recent events in the war on terrorism in the West – several wannabe terrorists were arrested recently at the moment they wanted to kill innocent citizens – after which he explains:

These incidents are worth reflecting on. They tell us some important things. First, we may be tired of this “war on terrorism,” but the bad guys are not. They are getting even more “creative.”

Second, in this war on terrorism, there is no “good war” or “bad war.” There is one war with many fronts, including Europe and our own backyard, requiring many different tactics. It is a war within Islam, between an often too-silent Muslim mainstream and a violent, motivated, often nihilistic jihadist minority…

Third, the newest and maybe most active front in this war is not Afghanistan, but the “virtual Afghanistan” — the loose network of thousands of jihadist Web sites, mosques and prayer groups that recruit, inspire and train young Muslims to kill without any formal orders from Al Qaeda…

Fourth, in the short run, winning this war requires effective police/intelligence action, to kill or capture the jihadists. I call that “the war on terrorists.” In the long run, though, winning requires partnering with Arab and Muslim societies to help them build thriving countries, integrated with the world economy, where young people don’t grow up in a soil poisoned by religious extremists and choked by petro-dictators so they can never realize their aspirations. I call this “the war on terrorism.” It takes a long time.

The war in Afghanistan, Friedman says, was about the “war on terrorists,” while the war in Iraq was a product of the war on terrorism.

So, what President Obama is actually considering in Afghanistan is shifting from a “war on terrorists” there to a “war on terrorism,” including nation-building. I still have serious doubts that we have a real Afghan government partner for that. But if Mr. Obama decides to send more troops, the most important thing is not the number. It is his commitment to see it through. If he seems ambivalent, no one there will stand with us and we’ll have no chance. If he seems committed, maybe — maybe — we’ll find enough allies. Remember, the bad guys are totally committed — and they are not tired.

And this column is why I consider to read the New York Times, regardless of the rather obvious bias of its editorial staff. As far as I’m concerned, Friedman is simply one of the best columnists in the States, perhaps even in the world – when he writes about the war on terrorism and the Middle East, at least.

There are many sides to this war. Unlike most, Friedman understands this and is able to communicate this to the public.

Let’s hope that Obama is willing to do what Friedman suggests.

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  1. Michael Merritt

    October 4th, 2009 at 23:15

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    #1

    What I think Friedman misses is that when you invade a country that doesn’t want to be invaded, your “war on terrorism” quickly turns into a “war on terrorists,” as we found out in Iraq. And those people that insist we invade places like Iran would do well to remember that.

    several wannabe terrorists were arrested recently at the moment they wanted to kill innocent citizens

    I take slight issue with this statement, at least for the guy arrested in Dallas, since the scenario appears to have been set up by the FBI in order to secure his arrest. No one was actually ever in danger there.

    I get your point, but I don’t believe most or all of the terrorist plots stopped thus far (at least in the U.S.) have actually gotten to an execution stage.


  2. Doomed

    October 5th, 2009 at 01:31

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    #2

    I get your point, but I don’t believe most or all of the terrorist plots stopped thus far (at least in the U.S.) have actually gotten to an execution stage.

    Good!

    Obama is going to be president at least 3 more years give or take. I hope he is serious about stopping terror and catching the bad guys. I cheer the FBI for their arrests. I HOPE OBAMA SUCCEEDS!!!! when it comes to this.


  3. Dan Davis

    October 5th, 2009 at 19:40

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    #3

    I believe the nation building aspect of this effort is counterproductive.Even moderate Muslim communities, like the Turks, are offended. I’m not against offending them where necessary but it’s instructive in that if it’s going to fail anyway, why waste resources and lives trying it? The better way would seem to be to disengage economically. Replace their oil with our own and simply walk away leaving intact nothing but our alliance with the Israelis. We could have just as easily attacked the Saudis as the Iraquis. There’s no one over there that isn’t into this murder and mayhem up to their elbows and the voices of so-called “moderates” seems to be too quiet and too weak in light of the behavior of the terrorists.


  4. Michael Merritt

    October 6th, 2009 at 02:07

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    #4

    Obama is going to be president at least 3 more years give or take. I hope he is serious about stopping terror and catching the bad guys. I cheer the FBI for their arrests. I HOPE OBAMA SUCCEEDS!!!! when it comes to this.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m fully with the FBI on catching terrorists. I just pointed that out because Friedman decided to show us a couple of examples of plots stopped well in advance of their activation, then for some reason decided to throw in a plot that succeeded…from Saudi Arabia.

    I mean, because that country is quite obviously a good example to use when it comes to talking about successful police action. It’s not like 15 or the 19 9/11 hijackers came from there or something.


  5. Humanist

    October 6th, 2009 at 09:52

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    #5

    “It is a war within Islam, between an often too-silent Muslim mainstream and a violent, motivated, often nihilistic jihadist minority. Theirs is a war over how and whether Islam should embrace modernity. It is a war fueled by humiliation — humiliation particularly among young Muslim males who sense that their faith community has fallen behind others, in terms of both economic opportunity and military clout. This humiliation has spawned various jihadists cults, including Al Qaeda, which believe they have the God-given right to kill infidels, their own secular leaders and less pious Muslims to purify Islam and Islamic lands and thereby restore Muslim grandeur.”

    — Thomas L. Friedman on Terrorism in NYT on Oct 3, 2009

    Friedman and several intellectuals like him are still laboring under the delusion that Islamic terrorism is somehow not the real Islam; that it spawns due to humiliation felt by Muslim youth of being economically and militarily backward; that a very small group is violent, etc.

    He should go and read Quran and Hadith, basic texts of Islam. These texts openly and shamelessly preach terrorism against all non-Muslims. Just see a few samples of Quran:

    8.39. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism: i.e. worshipping others besides Allah) and the religion (worship) will all be for Allah Alone in the whole of the world.

    9.29. Fight those who believe neither in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

    It is this teaching which motivated Muslims to attack all neighboring countries around Mecca after death of Muhammad and since then it is this criminal ideology which has displayed extreme violence throughout the entire history. Did Islam not fight aggressive war against Turkey, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, India, Spain etc.? What economic factor was there at that time to justify terrorism?

    The fact is that Muslims are doing nothing that their prophet did not do and did not encourage his followers to do. Murder, rape, assassination, beheading, massacre and sacrilege of the dead “to delight the hearts of the believers” were all practiced by Muhammad, were taught by him and were observed by Muslims throughout their history.

    The so-called silent majority of Muslims have a very symbiotic relationship with terrorists. Terrorists fight and kill, while the silent Muslims provide them moral, financial and logistical support discreetly. They call them “freedom fighters” or “fighters against injustices of the West”. Had that not been the case, these silent Muslims would have junked this violent Islam long ago, as some of them have indeed done. Had that not been the case, these majority of silent Muslims would themselves have killed and eliminated all Jihadists by now.

    It is time we stop making distinction between moderates and radicals; they are opposite sides of the same coin – Islam.




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