Fareed Zakaria, a friend of a friend (so this post is written with the love and the respect and everything), last came into my consciousness when he told George Stephanopoulos on May 20 that Tony Blair would go down in history as the most significant Labor Prime Minister of the UK since Lloyd George. (For the record, Lloyd George was a Liberal, not a Laborite) Now (ht--Kevin Drum) Fareed writes a piece in Newsweek about the reality of the jihadist situation in the modern world:
...The split between Sunnis and Shiites -- which plays a role in Lebanon as well -- is only one of the divisions within the world of Islam... Rather than speaking of a single worldwide movement -- which absurdly lumps together Chechen separatists in Russia, Pakistani-backed militants in India, Shiite warlords in Lebanon and Sunni jihadists in Egypt -- we should be emphasizing that all these groups are distinct, with differing agendas, enemies and friends. That robs them of their claim to represent Islam. It describes them as they often are -- small local gangs of misfits, hoping to attract attention through nihilism and barbarism.
Fine as far as it goes, but doesn't one have to ask: in the face of this reality, what benefit does the Bush administration derive from ignoring such reality-based advice? Would it have something to do with advancing their fear-based argument about "the enemy" coming here? After all, if these were "small local gangs of misfits", they would hardly pose a continuing, unique threat to the homeland that requires war without end, and government without anything except what Dick Cheney wants.