The new head of Britain’s armed forces, Gen Sir David Richards, has warned that the West cannot defeat al-Qaeda and militant Islam.
He said defeating Islamist militancy was “unnecessary and would never be achieved”.
However, he argued that it could be “contained” to allow Britons to lead secure lives.
Gen Richards, 58, said the threat posed by “al-Qaeda and its affiliates” meant Britain’s national security would be at risk for at least 30 years.
First of all you have to ask: “do we need to defeat it (Islamist militancy)?” in the sense of a clear cut victory, and I would argue that it is unnecessary and would never be achieved.”
It is a bold statement and he quickly adds: “But can we contain it to the point that our lives and our children’s lives are led securely? I think we can.”
Education, prosperity, understanding and democracy, he argues passionately, are the weapons that would ultimately turn people away from terrorism, although he admitted that to believe that such an undertaking could be achieved “within the time frame of the Second World War would be naive in the extreme”.
He also warns that while the threat from al-Qaeda is currently based in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, it is unlikely to remain so in the future.
What does all of this mean? It’s hard to conceive of any pronouncements, however well-intentioned that could cheer local Islamists and make zombie combatants out of suburban families any better than remarks like these.Why? because they will not read beyond the headline: “al Qaeda Cannot Be Defeated.”
India Everyday emphasized that “Richards said the real weapon in the war against the terror group led by Osama bin Laden was ‘education and democracy.'” That’s fine General, but that takes a long time. The General underscores that.
But can Americans tolerate the truth that we may not only be in Afghanistan longer, we may have to take the war past to Yemen to other countries. Where will patience be then? They have voted for candidates that have promised to get us out of Afghanistan and war in general.And can the states of the west afford it? Part of al Qaeda’s strategy is to bankrupt our countries. That is why their planes hit the heart of the financial district in New York.
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