Friday, March 04, 2005

Zinni Gets It: The War On Terror

During General Zinni's keynote speech at the "The Middle East: Compromise or Conflagration?" conference in Maine this past weekend, Zinni touched upon the fundemental flaw in the neo-con international agenda. I touched upon some of this in an earlier post:
Zinni's keynote speech gave the audience grounding in conceptions and misconceptions that affected what he believes was an inappropriate decision to go to war in Iraq.

He dispelled the idea that Islam and the Arab world are monolithic and said, "The touch-and-go wonks we flew in never understood that."

He described the Islamic world as one that is going through traumatic change and pegged its influence from Africa to Europe and beyond. He challenged the very nature of the conflict, pointing out that it is virtually impossible to have what the Pentagon calls a global war on terror or GWOT.

"Terror is a tactic, not an entity with a center of gravity," he said. He followed with a rhetorical question: "What's next? A war on river crossings?"
Yes, next comes the battle on river crossings, then on flank maneuvers, than on pincer movements, and then the Middle East will adopt Democracy, and world peace will finally be achieved.
Disputing historians such as Samuel Huntington and Bernard Lewis, Zinni said, "The fight is not a clash of civilizations but a generational one and the real battle is to win over the next generation of Islamic youth."
It's hard to win battles of perception amongst the youth when you don't even realize that this truly is a battle "of hearts and minds". It's also pretty hard to win over people to the American side when the images that they see of America on TV and in their papers, are that of a crusading conqueror.

Man, if only we had a high-profile person within the halls of our Government who could explain this to the American People.