Sunday, September 11, 2011

Jeff Jacoby - The war on terror is a war of ideas

In my book, many Americans, indeed many around the world don't understand the underlying premise of Jeff Jacoby's column. That is,
The war on terror, Bush accurately foretold, would be a long struggle fought on many fronts. But ultimately the only way to prevent al-Qaeda and its allies from imposing an "age of terror" was for America to sustain an "age of liberty, here and across the world." While Bush would get plenty of things wrong after 9/11, this ideological insight -- that the root of Islamist terrorism was the lack of freedom in the Middle East -- was one of the big things he got right.
While others claimed terrorism was driven by poverty or lack of education, the "fruit of US arrogance," and the reliable old standby, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In reality, as Princeton economist Alan Krueger demonstrated in a 2007 book, What Makes A Terrorist?, the best predictors of terrorism are "the suppression of civil liberties and political rights, including freedom of the press, the freedom to assemble, and democratic rights."
[Looking at Palestinian terror alone should dissuade anyone that terror is born out of a lack of education; the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad is populated with physicians and PhDs.]

The struggle against terror is not over, but we are, according to Jacoby beginning to engage its purveyors on the right battlefield. Read the full column, The war on terror is a war of ideas. And while you are at it, sign up for Jeff's email distribution list.

Well, that's what I think.

Stephen M. Flatow

alisa flatow israel

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