Democracy and terrorism: Feb 2005 NYT article by Richard A. Clarke. "Following the president's theory, they might assume terrorism cannot grow in democracies and that the best way to deal with it is to create more democracies. Unfortunately, both beliefs may be mistaken. ..
in the greater Muslim world, opposing democracy is not uppermost in the mind of Al Qaeda or the larger jihadist network. (In Saudi Arabia, for example, Al Qaeda wants the monarchy replaced by a more democratic government.) Radical Islamists are ultimately seeking to create something orthogonal to our model of democracy. They are fighting to create a theocracy or, in their vernacular, a caliphate (a divinely inspired government administered by a caliph as Allah's viceroy on earth). They are also seeking to evict American influence from nations with a Muslim majority .. In pursuing these goals, today's loosely affiliated Islamic terrorist groups are part of a trend dating back to at least 1928, when the Muslim Brotherhood was founded to promote Islam and fight colonialism.
This trend hasn't abated with the spread of democracy. In Indonesia, .. the jihadist movement is growing stronger, as it is in other Asian democracies. In Algeria, free elections in 1990 and 1991 resulted in victories for those who advocated a jihadist theocracy. Throughout Western Europe, the jihadists are becoming deeply rooted among disaffected Muslim youth. Free elections, in short, have not dimmed the desire of jihadists to create a caliphate.
Even without jihadists, Western democracies have hardly been immune to terrorism. The Irish Republican Army, the Baader-Meinhof gang of Germany and the Red Brigades of Italy all developed in democracies. Indeed, in the United States, the largest terrorist attack before Sept. 11 was conducted in Oklahoma by fully enfranchised American citizens.
Thus, it is not the lack of democracy that produced jihadist movements, nor will the creation of democracies quell them. .. President Bush's democracy-promotion policy will be appropriate and laudable at the right time in the right nations, but it is not the cure for terrorism and may divert us from efforts needed to rout Al Qaeda and reduce our vulnerabilities at home. The president is right that resentment is growing and that it is breeding terrorism, but it is chiefly resentment of us, not of the absence of democracy. The 9/11 Commission had a proposal similar to the president's, but more on point: a battle of ideas to persuade more Muslims that jihadist terrorism is a perversion of Islam. Most Middle East experts agree, however, that any American hand in the battle of ideas will, for now, be counterproductive. For many in the Islamic world, the United States is still associated with such acts as having made the 250,000 person city of Falluja uninhabitable. Because of the enormous resentment of the United States government in the Islamic world, documented in numerous opinion polls, we will have to look to nongovernmental organizations and other nations to lead the battle of ideas. " 10:44:17 AM
Iraqi Chemical Stash Uncovered: I missed this story from August 2005. I found no updates since then. So we are more exposed to chemical weapons in Iraq today than in 2002. "U.S. troops raiding a warehouse in the northern city of Mosul uncovered a suspected chemical weapons factory containing 1,500 gallons of chemicals believed destined for attacks on U.S. and Iraqi forces and civilians, military officials said Saturday. Monday's early morning raid found 11 precursor agents, "some of them quite dangerous by themselves," a military spokesman, Lt. Col. Steven A. Boylan, said in Baghdad. ..
Boylan said the suspected lab was new, dating from some time after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. The Bush administration cited evidence that Saddam Hussein's government was manufacturing weapons of mass destruction as the main justification for the invasion. No such weapons or factories were found. .. Investigators still were trying to determine who had assembled the alleged lab and whether the expertise came from foreign insurgents or former members of Hussein's security apparatus, the military said. .. A [smaller] lab discovered last year in the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah contained a how-to book on chemical weapons and an unspecified amount of chemicals .. No chemical weapons are known to have been used so far in Iraq's insurgency." 10:36:03 AM