SANAA, Yemen – The killings of U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and another American al-Qaida propagandist in a U.S. airstrike the other day is being described as a “decisive factor” in the war against terrorism.
What made Awlaki such a serious threat, according to U.S. officials was his ability to reach into the west via the internet and “influence” others, particularly so called “self radicalized” American born Muslims living inside the United States to commit terrorist’s acts. Like, for example the mass shooting incident committed by Major Nidal Hasan an American soldier and self described “Muslim” serving at Ft. Hood that killed 12 people. According to a national Security preparedness group this threat of “self radicalization” of Muslims in America is of major concern (see: http://www.jihadwatch.org/2011/09/national-security-preparedness-group-issues-dismal-assessment-of-us-preparedness-against-jihadist-te.html). Anwar al-Awlaki was an example of what the group says is another aspect of the war on terrorism. His treasonous act as a propaganist help justify in the mind of many the concepts of jihad against the west.
Officials in counter terrorism conclude this is what made Anwar al-Awlaki and the Al-Qaida terrorist group’s Yemen branch one the most dangerous threats to the United States. According to David Taylor of the group “Fight Terrorism in America” (TDA), based in Tampa, Florida which published a monthly newsletter on the war on terrorism, available only to subscibers “Killing al-Awlaki is not going to eliminate the flood of people exposing hate towards America and promoting the twisted logic of the wahabbists in Saudi Arabia and other places on the internet who advocate the muslims need to take up arms and commit brutal acts of terrorism against innocent civilians and non combatants. This is an ideological war in many respect. It has to be fought with more than just bombs and bullets. It has to be fought with words and ideas…”
So in reality, if we look at this thing in terms in practical terms we are only talking about the death of few people.
Others will, undoubtedly just take his place.
Granted it does send a message, but it is far from a “decisive factor” or victory in the war on terrorism, as the AP is reporting it (see article: “With al-Awlaki dead, al-Qaida lacks Western voice” http://news.yahoo.com/al-awlaki-dead-al-qaida-lacks-western-voice-225408268.html).
I would call it a “success” for sure, but a “decisive factor”, as AHMED AL-HAJ – Associated Press calls it? Common now, let us get real here.
The real problem is defeating the message, not so much the messenger in this case.
On the web, there are literally thousands of websites, chat rooms and blogs by people makings anti American statements and urging people to kill Americans and commit terrorism. These people also claim to be “Muslim” (submitters), or represent a Muslim group or organization that is angry about something the United States did or said recently or in the past.
Whether it be American foreign policy in the middle east, which is a complete disaster, the ongoing wars we got going in Afghanistan and Iraq, the mistreatment and torture of prisoners at Gitmo, the CIA renditions program, the funding by the United States of the Jundallah terrorist organization in Iran, the sale of weapons to repressive dictatorial governments around the world, including Saudi Arabia, the hundreds of military bases we have around the world, the killing of thousands of people by the U.S. (and NATO) in Libya and the funding and support of Al-Qaida linked militants and terrorists as part of the takeover of Libya (for what is essentially a war to secure oil rights for major corporations) there are many people who have legitimate (and not so legitimate) complaints against the United States, for one reason or another.
The message of Al-Awlaki and other radical Islamists resonants with people for a reason. Much of that has to do with our actions and statements overseas, most of which are misguided and actually hurt the war effort against Islamic terrorism, meaning, “Terrorism inspired and committed by people who claim to be Muslims and who justify their actions in the name of Islam.”
I have been critical of America’s war on terrorism for a long time, since 2002.
As I look at it, we are our worst enemy in many ways.
I can cite hundreds of examples, but I will only share a few to illustrate the point.
1) Since our invasion and military occupation in Afghanistan, poppy production has increased exponentially. Poppy is a major funding source for the enemy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It enables them to purchase weapons and pay their fighters in cash. When I say the enemy, I am talking about the Taliban and others who target and kill American service members in Afghanistan. Instead of bombing and burning the poppy fields and cutting the major funding source of the enemy in Afghanistan the United States is paying farmers to grow it (see Youtube report: “US Military Helps Terrorist’s Grow Heroin – US Funding Taliban” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElEciFI0Pew see also: Marines grow opium for their masters http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUATfLDiwVA&feature=related).
This insane U.S. policy has the effect of actually getting American service members killed.
I was talking with a counter terrorism official in Russia who said the United States is subsidizing terrorism. I believe that is true!
2) Another example is the US paying the Taliban not to attack military convoys and trucks in Afghanistan bring supplies to the troops we have stationed there? A revelation brought out by Wikileaks in leaked U.S. diplomatic cables (see report: U.S. Continues to Fund Taliban IEDs, Then Says Wikileaks Endangers Troops, http://www.militarytimes.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-1587182.html see also: http://publicintelligence.net/u-s-house-of-representatives-report-warlords-provide-security-for-u-s-supply-chain-in-afghanistan/).
3) We also have the situation of providing transportation and security so Afghanistan can negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban, after we are gone, at the same time we are engaged in armed conflict with that group.
4) The most recent allegations are that the United States has been supporting Pakistan with upwards to $2 billion dollars a month in foreign, economic and military aid going on 10 years now – at the same time that country has been providing safe havens to groups including the al-Haqqani terrorist network, the Taliban and al-Qaida.
Why in the world would you send money to a country as corrupt as Pakistan that is supporting terrorism against the United States?
It makes no sense whatsoever.
People at the State Department tell me it is “complicated” – I do not buy that for one minute.
We also support Saudi Arabia. A country, which advocates a virulent and toxic form of Islam, called “Wahabbism”.
Wahabbism is the ideological basis of much of militant Islam around the world (see: http://www.creedopedia.com/topics/Wahhabism). Could someone please tell me why we do that? Saudi Arabia is also the country that spawned Osama Bin Ladin.
So I have cited just a few examples our funding of terrorism and our support of countries that harbor and sponsor terrorism, as well as provide the major ideological framework and advocacy of wahabbism in the world today. I did so to make the point of how insane US policy is. In many ways its counter intuitive and counterproductive.
Now we want to believe that the killing of Al-Awlaki is somehow a major and decisive factor or victory in the war on terrorism. Well, OK you can believe that if you want to, especially if it makes you feel better about yourself. I guess it also makes for sensational headlines in the United States but in the end, it does nothing to actually cut off funding and support for terrorism around the world.