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Cole's comments on Bush's speech

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posted on Oct, 7 2005 @ 02:40 PM
Juan Cole, professor of history and an expert in Middle Eastern politics, provided the following analysis and comments on the recent Bush's speech:

(site with full text can be found here)

Bush then mentions some of the other terrorist attacks (most of them after September 11 and therefore theoretically preventable if Bush had put real resources into fighting al-Qaeda instead of running off to tangle with Baathists in Iraq.) He says,

"Some call this evil Islamic radicalism; others, militant Jihadism; still others, Islamo-fascism. Whatever it's called, this ideology is very different from the religion of Islam. This form of radicalism exploits Islam to serve a violent, political vision: the establishment, by terrorism and subversion and insurgency, of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom. These extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against Christians and Jews and Hindus -- and also against Muslims from other traditions, who they regard as heretics. Many militants are part of global, borderless terrorist organizations like al Qaeda, which spreads propaganda, and provides financing and technical assistance to local extremists, and conducts dramatic and brutal operations like September the 11th. Other militants are found in regional groups, often associated with al Qaeda -- paramilitary insurgencies and separatist movements in places like Somalia, and the Philippines, and Pakistan, and Chechnya, and Kashmir, and Algeria. Still others spring up in local cells, inspired by Islamic radicalism, but not centrally directed. Islamic radicalism is more like a loose network with many branches than an army under a single command. Yet these operatives, fighting on scattered battlefields, share a similar ideology and vision for our world."

All this is true as far as it goes, but it completely lacks any context or nuance. The Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines is just a small mafia gang of 90 persons that lives on extortion. It could no more overthrow the Philippines government than David Koreish could have taken over Texas. I don't actually think that terrorist analyst Marc Sageman found many, if any, persons engaged in international terrorism from Kashmir. There has been a lot of political violence in Kashmir, but there are two sides to it, and heavy-handed Indian military tactics have killed a lot of Kashmiris. The UN had decreed that a referendum would be held in Kashmir on its future, which India has ever since 1948 refused to allow. Likewise, Chechnya is a rugged area of clannish Muslims that the Russians conquered in the 19th century, and where they committed a sort of 19th century genocide in the course of "pacifying" it. Chechen demands for more autonomy after the fall of the Soviet Union were greeted by Yeltsin with enormous brutality, and Putin has not been wiser. Chechnya and Kashmir are sites of local struggles for more autonomy in a post-colonial context, and just reeling their names off as sites of an "ideology" of "hatred" does not tell us anything useful.

[edit on 7-10-2005 by Aelita]

mod edit to shorten lengthy quote

[edit on 7-10-2005 by DontTreadOnMe]

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