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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Creating terrorists

Today the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff signed a new classified counterterrorism. Included in the strategy is an order to the military to focus on terrorist information-gathering systems, personnel and ideology. The strategy will be reported on in the New York Times.

The document is unusual for admitting the negative impact military actions can have

"The way we conduct operations choosing whether, when, where and how can affect ideological support for terrorism. Knowledge of indigenous population's cultural and religious sensitivities and understanding of how the enemy uses the U.S. military's actions against us should inform the way the U.S. military operates."

That has been clear in the situations ranging from disgrace suffered by the United States after revelations of detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib to instances when Arab media emphasized pictures of crosses or rosaries hung from artillery tubes by American soldiers. Such photographs were used to argue that the counterterrorism effort was a war on Islam. Pentagon officials involved in writing the strategy point out that the American military's efforts to aid tsunami victims in southeast Asia and to assist victims of Pakistan's earthquake did more to counter terrorist ideology than any attack mission.

The NYT quotes one senior Pentagon official involved in writing the strategy as saying that the Defense Department had identified more than 30 new terrorist organizations affiliated with Al Qaeda that had sprung to life since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.


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