DECEMBER 6, 2013

When President George W. Bush launched his global war on terror, which was quickly adopted by the media through its acronym GWOT, the American public rallied around a new Crusade to rid the world of Islamic terrorism even as the president kept reminding anyone who would listen that Islam is a religion of peace. Initially there were few dissidents brave enough to challenge Washington’s burning desire to obtain revenge on the perpetrators of 9/11, but critics eventually did emerge, noting that a war on terror was itself a contradiction in terms as terror is a tactic, not an enemy. As the focus shifted to Iraq, some noted that fighting transnational terrorists would inevitably involve American soldiers in locally inspired quarrels in faraway lands that in no way threatened the United States. The concurrent Bush Doctrine, which stated that the US would feel free to intervene military in any country or against any group that might be perceived as potentially threatening, reinforced the notion held by some critics that Washington was entering into an open ended conflict that would continue forever and from which there could not possibly be any way out.

The fundamental problem with the war on terror beyond its name is that it has in practice conflated a political objective with a national security program. It de facto identifies terrorism as a “problem” that the rest of us have in dealing with the Islamic world and, more broadly speaking, the Muslim religion. The political objective being sustained by the GWOT is to create a consensus that there is something fundamentally wrong with Islam as both the religion and culture eschew liberal democracy and have instead become breeding grounds for terrorism. That is largely a construct developed by Israel and its friends in the media and academia, including most notably Princeton Professor Bernard Lewis, and it has been used to sustain what has evolved into an unending war against the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims.

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