Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Quote du Jour

Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon in a New York Times op-ed today that argues the U.S. is not effectively countering Osama bin Laden and other jihadist blatherings:

Despite so much evidence that the jihadists are winning sympathy, America has provided no counter-story to their narrative. Rather, the president has repeatedly objected to the notion that the Iraq war is having a radicalizing effect by arguing that America was attacked before we ever stepped foot in Iraq.

This, of course, is a non sequitur - douse a guttering fire in gasoline and you will get a bigger fire. A movement that was staggering after the Taliban was toppled has come back with a vengeance. Realistically, we cannot deploy a counter-narrative - one that emphasizes that we are a benign superpower - so long as our troops are in Iraq. That will make it difficult to separate moderates from extremists, as an ideological struggle requires. We must focus more on developing that story and getting out of Iraq with the least damage to our interests and less on the phony truce offers of a guileful enemy.

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