Monday, May 26, 2008

The Only Thing We Have To Fear ...

by Fareed Zakaria - May 24th, 2008 - Newsweek

You know that we are living in scary times. Terrorist groups are metastasizing all over the globe. Al Qaeda has re-established its bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Hizbullah, Hamas and other radical Islamic groups are gaining strength. You hear this stuff all the time, on television and on the campaign trail. Amid the din, it's hard to figure out the facts. Well, finally we have a well-researched, independent analysis of the data relating to terrorism, released last week by Canada's Simon Fraser University. Its findings will surprise you.


. . . U.S.-based IntelCenter published a study in mid-2007 that examined "significant" attacks launched by Al Qaeda over the past 10 years. It came to the conclusion that the number of Islamist attacks had declined 65 percent from a high point in 2004, and fatalities from such attacks had declined by 90 percent.

The Simon Fraser study notes that the decline in terrorism appears to be caused by many factors, among them successful counterterrorism operations in dozens of countries and infighting among terror groups. But the most significant, in the study's view, is the "extraordinary drop in support for Islamist terror organizations in the Muslim world over the past five years." These are largely self-inflicted wounds. The more people are exposed to the jihadists' tactics and world view, the less they support them. An ABC/BBC poll in Afghanistan in 2007 showed support for the jihadist militants in the country to be 1 percent. In Pakistan's North-West Frontier province, where Al Qaeda has bases, support for Osama bin Laden plummeted from 70 percent in August 2007 to 4 percent in January 2008. That dramatic drop was probably a reaction to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, but it points to a general trend in Pakistan over the past five years. With every new terrorist attack, public support for jihad falls. "This pattern is repeated in country after country in the Muslim world," writes Mack. "Its strategic implications are critically important because historical evidence suggests that terrorist campaigns that lose public support will sooner or later be abandoned or defeated."

Why should we be encouraged by this news? The reality is that our strategy is working. We are slowly reducing the threat of the Islamo-fascists in both the middle east and around the world. As in all wars, they will shortly change their strategy and we will have to adapt again. However, at least our current strategy is based on a rational reaction to what is really happening in the world. It is frightening how many on the left are willing to claim the Islamo-fascists have motivations that even the Islamo-fascists reject. This willingness to believe their own propaganda is the truly horrifying concern about Democrats. Leftists hate America so much that they are blinded by their own ignorance of what our real enemies think.


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