The utter folly of playing to al Qaeda

The utter folly of playing to al Qaeda

: In The Australian, Greg Sheridan debunks all the bunk about thinking that we can influence the insane behavior of al Qaeda.

The debate this week over whether having, unlike Spain, gone to war in Iraq makes us a greater target for terrorist attack has had one missing ingredient – the terrorists….

If only we have the approval of the UN, al-Qaeda won’t attack us, this thinking sometimes goes. But al-Qaeda bombs the UN itself. Well, then, if only we opposed US foreign policy, specifically the war in Iraq. But al-Qaeda and its affiliates attack Indonesia, which opposed the war, and Turkey, which refused to let US troops enter Iraq from its soil.

The failure to look seriously at al-Qaeda and what motivates it leads to a repeated analytical failure. Surely al-Qaeda and its affiliates are one of the most extraordinary and important fanatical movements in recent history. Yet our intellectual class is almost entirely uninterested in them. A paradox, no? …

Everyone now repeats the mantra that being an ally of the US increases our risk of becoming a terrorist target. Yet al-Qaeda attacks so many nations that are not allies of the US. Who can possibly say with authority what increases the risk? …