Sunday, December 05, 2004

Mission Accomplished

The WaPo's ombudsman reports, because the Post won't:

The story that didn't appear in The Post is about a 102-page report by a task force of the Defense Science Board, a federal advisory committee composed of academic, think tank and private-sector representatives who provide independent advice to the secretary of defense. .... Now comes the Pentagon's advisory board with a sharply critical report that says U.S. efforts to separate "the vast majority of non-violent Muslims from the radical-militant Islamist-Jihadists . . . have not only failed . . . they may also have achieved the opposite of what they intended."

Here are some of the key points:

-- "American direct intervention in the Muslim World has paradoxically elevated the stature of and support for radical Islamists, while diminishing support for the U.S. to single-digits in some Arab societies."

-- "Muslims do not 'hate our freedom,' but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf states."

-- Since Sept. 11, 2001, "American actions and the flow of events have elevated the authority of the Jihadi insurgents and tended to ratify their legitimacy among Muslims. What was a marginal network," the report said, is now a community-wide "movement of fighting groups."

-- "Muslims," the board says, "see Americans as strangely narcissistic -- namely, that the war is all about us . . . no more than an extension of American domestic politics and its great game." The critical problem for American public diplomacy, the section concludes, is "a fundamental problem of credibility. Simply, there is none -- the United States today is without a working channel of communication to the world of Muslims and of Islam."

No wonder Rummy got the vote of confidence.

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