Cause and effect in the War on Terror

The former head of Britain's intelligence agency explains that wars in the Muslim world radicalize domestic Muslims

Published July 20, 2010 12:21PM (EDT)

(updated below)

Britain, unlike the U.S., is currently in the process of Looking Backward, Not Forward, as they investigate both the events that led them to the attack on Iraq as well as their involvement in America's torture regime.  Here is testimony provided as part of the Iraq investigation from Ron Paul Noam Chomsky the former head of MI5, the U.K.'s domestic intelligence agency:

Britain's support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan radicalized many Muslims and triggered a big rise in terrorism plots that nearly overwhelmed the British security services, the former head of the domestic intelligence agency said on Tuesday.

Giving evidence to an official inquiry into the Iraq war, Eliza Manningham-Buller, former MI5 director general, said the U.S.-led invasions had substantially raised the number of plots against Britain.

"It undoubtedly increased the threat and by 2004 we were pretty well swamped," she said. "We were very overburdened by intelligence on a broad scale that was pretty well more than we could cope with.

So if I understand this deeply esoteric and surprising concept correctly, what causes many Muslims to become radicalized and want to mount violent attacks on a particular country is when that country brings war, bombings, and other forms of destruction and interference to the Muslim world.  Who knew?  British Muslims became "radicalized" and "swamped" that country with Terrorist plots only after watching the Government attack two separate Muslim nations.  Add to that things like lawless detentions, Guantanamo, a torture regime, attacks in places like Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen and others -- all on top of two occupations in the Muslim world that will extend for a full decade at least -- and only the densest among us (or those who actively desire high levels of Terrorism threats for their own interests) will fail to see how the very policies justified in the name of fighting Terrorism are the ones most exacerbating that problem.  [And, as always, those who have been told that American interference and violence in the Muslim world began only after 9/11 should read about Mohammad Mossadegh; Joy Gordon's new book on the devastation brought by American air attacks on Iraq in the Persian Gulf War and especially the decade-long sanctions regime that followed; our endless support for continuous Israeli wars and occupation in that part of the world; and our decades-long support for tyrants from Egypt to Indonesia].  The issue is causation, not justification, and it's as crystal clear now as it was in 2003 when the U.S. Government itself recognized it.


UPDATE:  In 2006, Tony Blair said:  "Let us expose the obscenity of these people saying it is concern for Iraq that drives them to terrorism."  It looks like he's going to have to "expose the obscenity" of his own domestic intelligence director (h/t Jonathan Schwarz).

By Glenn Greenwald

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