UK foreign secretary David Miliband has written an excellent piece in today’s Guardian about why the notion of a ‘war on terror’ is inaccurate and harmful. He argues that:
The more we lump terrorist groups together and draw the battle lines as
a simple binary struggle between moderates and extremists, or good and
evil, the more we play into the hands of those seeking to unify groups
with little in common. Terrorist groups need to be tackled at root,
interdicting flows of weapons and finance, exposing the shallowness of
their claims, channelling their followers into democratic politics.
The "war on terror" also implied that the correct response was
primarily military. But as General Petraeus said to me and others in
Iraq, the coalition there could not kill its way out of the problems of
insurgency and civil strife.
We must respond to terrorism by championing the rule of law, not
subordinating it, for it is the cornerstone of the democratic society.
We must uphold our commitments to human rights and civil liberties at
home and abroad. That is surely the lesson of Guantánamo and it is why
we welcome President-elect Obama’s commitment to close it.