Talking to Osama
I saw the BBC programme "Al Qaeda: Time To Talk?" the other night. One the one hand, it was quite an interesting show as it illustrated just how easily young impressionable European Muslims are lured into terrorist activity. A shame about the last five minutes, when various "experts" explained why we should talk to Al Qaeda. (Here is a video clip from the show .)
The gist of the argument was that after five years, the battle is far from won, and if we haven't won, then wev'e lost, which means we have to negotiate. In fact, Peter Taylor suffers from that fatal condition that afflicts so many in the West, short termism. Peter Taylor and many like him are only able to think in terms of here and now, they are unable to conceive of a war that may drag on for years, decades, generations or even centuries. Unfortunately, the Bin Ladens of this world have a lot more patience, and are willing to drag this out for as long as it takes.
During one part of the show, various clips of Al Qaeda attacks were shown, including the Bali bombings. But what do the Bali bombings have to do with Afghanistan or Iraq? Australian tourists were targeted because of Australia's role in setting up an independent East Timor. Should we have allowed the brutal supression of East Timor because it makes Osama feel better? Maybe we shouldn't intervene in Darfur either for the same reason.
I think Peter Taylor would have been Neville Chamberlain in another life.