Al Quaida increases its numbers

Phyllis Gardner writes: "The International Institute for Strategic Studies concludes in its annual report that Al Quaida, in contrast to regressing during the fight on terrorism, is increasing its numbers greatly worldwide, with the "war in Iraq swelling its ranks". tp://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=540&e=3&u=/ap/20040525/ap_on_re_mi_ea/al_qaida
I do remember a rather vigorous debate on just this subject, during which I was accused of having been married to Sadam Hussein, when I suggested the war on Iraq might increase terrorism, not decrease it. I can't help but point out this result".

Jon Kofas writes; "Phyllis Gardner is correct to point out that al-Qaeda is increasing in membership. More alarming, it has decentralized even more after 9/11, it has more popular support among young Arabs and non-Arab Mulsims and Osama is to many Muslims what "Che" was for many Latin Americans. Meanwhile, the western world, and any U.S. ally, lives in fear of terrorist strikes. Given the frequent alerts about rising terrorist threats, we might as well live in garrison communities. The article that Ms. Gardner quotes is interesting in so far as it has the rise in al-Qaeda recruits taking place after the U.S. war in Iraq. A number of Arab leaders warned Washington that invasion of Iraq would entail a rise in al-Qaeda. Now many Muslims and non-Muslims alike see more clearly the comparison between Israel's occupation and treatment of Palestinians and U.S. occupation and treatment of Iraq. Which brings into question the limits of the military solution as the ultimate option, and the Bush administration's failure to appreciate the complexity of terrorism as a manifestation of deeper societal problems combined with adamant opposition to western imperialism. Because terrorism has existed for centuries in one form or another, one would think that intelligent people working in Washington D.C. today would realize that the best method of containing it is to understand its root causes and then to provide a long-term political solution. This does not mean that armed forces should not be utilized, but if that is the only solution, it leads to more terrorism and an endless cycle of political violence that costs the status-quo state more than it costs the terrorists. The reality is that we have a very weak and simple-minded leadership in Washington, and its actions speak louder than any beguiling rationalizations that its right-wing apologists can possibly make".

Tim Brown says: "Jon Kofas' comparison of Osama bin Laden with "Che" Guevara is fascinating. In the case of Che, the popular press, committed pro-revolutionaries and Cuba's propaganda apparatus made Che into an icon - the world's best guerrilla leader and a medical doctor dedicated to everything good for the marginalized of the world. But those who actually served with him in the fields of revolution have a starkly different view of him. Among the former top Marxist guerrillas and revolutionary activists with whom I talk, he is universally blamed for the failure of revolution in Latin America because while he was, in fact, never a guerrilla combat leader and therefore had no first-hand experience in the field, he decided that he was the world's leading expert in the field because so many outsiders told him he was. So he developed his famous theory of the guerrilla foci, and Cuba promoted its application energetically. The consequences were that every single guerrilla effort that attempted to apply Che's theory to real life failed miserably, Angola, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Honduras and, finally, Bolivia, where Che paid with his own life for the folly of his own arrogance, and nonetheless remains a hero of the left". RH: So in Bolivia, Che was a guerrilla leader.

International Terrorism

Clyde McMorrow writes: "Professor Ramirez responded to the old marine with a well-reasoned discussion about the U.S. entry into WWII. Until he got to the last argument "Saddam was an ally of international terrorism" upon which he based his conclusion that the U.S. attack on Iraq was the equivalent to the U.S. entry into WW II. But he offered no proof and, as far as I know, there has been no proof of this. The only evidence offered to date was from the now discredited Iraqi National Congress and the wishful thinking of the neo-conservatives. Do we have an operating definition for "international terrorism" that allows us to unequivocally categorize any given act as "terrorist" or "pacifist" (or whatever the opposite of terrorist is)? If so, is the definition transferrable to all international perspectives? In short, what do we mean by "International Terrorism"?"

RH: There is a web of people around the world prepared to use terror methods against any country, government or individual they dislike. At present it is mostly Islamic, but before World War II it was mostly anarchist or anarcho-syndicalist. Both can be described as guilty of international terrorism.

What are terrorists? Randy Black asks: "Were the hundreds of Germans who continued to fight the Allies after Germany’s surrender, and who killed Americans and other occupiers for a couple of years beyond 1945 considered terrorists?". RH: We have forgotten the post-surrender fighting. Normally Germany is described as being completely prostrate. There are several WAISers, including Jim Tent, who could comment on this.

Ronald Hilton -