July 20, 2005
London Mayor: Western Policy Caused Islamic Extremism
God, it's like a breath of fresh air to hear someone with real authority speak one of the most obvious truths about the terrorism we've seen unleashed on cities like New York and London. Said Ken Livingston, the mayor of London:
"A lot of young people see the double standards, they see what happens in (U.S. detention camp) Guantanamo Bay, and they just think that there isn't a just foreign policy," he said.
"You've just had 80 years of Western intervention into predominantly Arab lands because of a Western need for oil. We've propped up unsavory governments, we've overthrown ones that we didn't consider sympathetic," Livingstone said.
"I think the particular problem we have at the moment is that in the 1980s ... the Americans recruited and trained Osama bin Laden, taught him how to kill, to make bombs, and set him off to kill the Russians to drive them out of Afghanistan.
"They didn't give any thought to the fact that once he'd done that, he might turn on his creators," he told BBC radio.
Here's a basic truth. You can condemn the terrorists as mindless killers and still examine the responsibility of US leaders for designing a foreign policy that created context where they could recruit supporters around the world.
Military action can't stop a global movement that can recruit previously unaffiliated young people to go kill themselves. You need to win the hearts and minds of the disaffected global population so that first, no one wants to join such a terrorist movement and will turn in anyone who they hear is part of such a murderous conspiracy.
Posted by Nathan at July 20, 2005 01:52 PM