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Registered: 09/25/00
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We are engaged in a global war
    #1841405 - 08/22/03 06:38 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

We are engaged in a global war

By SALIM MANSUR -- For the Toronto Sun

LONDON, Ont. -- The terrorist bombings during the past two weeks in Jakarta, Baghdad and Jerusalem, and the increasingly visible activity of al-Qaida and Taliban fanatics in Afghanistan, are indicators of one undeniable fact: we are being engaged in a global war of an entirely new type for which the past offers little guidance.

We might say that five summers ago this month, when terrorists engaged in bombing American embassies in east Africa, we should have awakened to this fact. Or, we might say, the first bombing of the World Trade Center in New York five years earlier, in 1993, should have been our wake-up call.

We can go back further, for this war has been long in incubation and has crept upon us even as our politicians, their advisers and others were unaware and unprepared to comprehend the mutation of religious fundamentalism in the Arab-Muslim world into a variant of fascism with global ambitions.

All previous wars, conventional or unconventional, were fought between or among states. The enemy was geographically located within clearly demarcated boundaries, and even when conflicts spilled over international frontiers to involve several states, as in the war in Vietnam, belligerents negotiated and wars eventually were terminated by states involved.

Today's war against international terrorism has none of the features of the inter-state wars of the past.

The enemy may have a face - Osama bin Laden's face on posters serves the minimal purpose of identifying the enemy - but it is hydra-headed and not located in any one state. It does not possess authority in any state. It recognizes no diplomatic niceties and conventions. It is not bound by any rules of engagement. It is contemptuous of international law and the values of our open society.

Moreover, this enemy exploits our political sensibilities and mocks our democratic virtues that recognize limits of what is permissible and appropriate even when we are engaged in defending fundamental rights enshrined in institutions - such as the United Nations - of our making.

In the bombing of the UN offices in Baghdad on Tuesday, the terrorists sent us an unmistakable message of their ambition. They want to drive us out of lands they claim for themselves, and purge them of our civilization's values.

Let us be clear about who "we" are. "We" are a people who share together, irrespective of our faiths and ethnicities, the values at the core of our modern civilization, global in appeal, that make for a society based on the rule of law, a government based on consent of the governed and the protection of individual rights and freedoms.

There are some lessons to be learned from the years 1919-45.

The German Nazis and Italian fascists appealed to a mythologized past, manipulated the real misery and fears of common people, sowed widely their racist doctrine of anti-Semitism, railed against injustices of democracy and built totalitarian dictatorships before launching wars against the values of the modern world.

When all of this was happening in full glare of public knowledge, governments in Britain and France during the interwar years led by parties of the liberal-left, and intellectuals of the same persuasion, engaged in a policy of conciliating the enemies of democracy. This policy, known as appeasement, continued right to the moment when Adolf Hitler was no longer an imminent threat, in our contemporary parlance, but ready to devour all of Europe.

Liberal democracies are always slow in waking up to perils such as those we are now facing.

The members of the lib-left political class, certain of their own virtues and ideological convictions - built on the notion of an inexorable progress of humankind while remaining contemptuous of the idea of evil as real - are generally preoccupied in faulting the vices of their own societies as impediments in the grand march of human history.

Hence, they fail to see the wolves when they emerge from the dark ready to pounce upon them and the rest of us.

We are unmistakably in a global war, and the sooner we realize this, the more effective we can be in defeating an enemy more insidious than any in the past.

Salim Mansur is a professor of political science at the University of Western Ontario. His column appears alternate Thursdays. He can be reached at smansurca@yahoo.ca.


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Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 9,134
Re: We are engaged in a global war [Re: wingnutx]
    #1841417 - 08/22/03 06:42 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

In other words, everyone should be terrified and let George Bush do whatever the hell he wants  :rolleyes:

Don't worry, B. Caapi

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