First Published: 2009-01-15

 
Miliband: 'War on terror' was wrong
 

British Foreign Secretary argues only cooperation between states could break up terror networks.

 

Middle East Online

The notion of a "war on terror" was misleading and mistaken



LONDON - British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Thursday the notion of a "war on terror" was "misleading and mistaken", in an outspoken critique of a key policy of outgoing US President George W. Bush.

Writing in the Guardian, Miliband said the phrase gave the idea of a unified enemy where none existed, and also encouraged a primarily military response to problems that top generals admitted the West could not "kill its way out of".

The article appears to be a comprehensive attempt to discard what was a defining mission of the Bush administration, which comes to an end on Tuesday.

"The idea of a 'war on terror' gave the impression of a unified, transnational enemy, embodied in the figure of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda," wrote Miliband, who is currently in India.

"The reality is that the motivations and identities of terrorist groups are disparate."

He added: "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."

Miliband rejected the notion that fighting violent extremism could only be done by military means.

"As (US) General (David) 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," he wrote.

He argued that only cooperation between states could break up terror networks, saying if India and Pakistan could resolve their dispute over Kashmir it would deny extremists in the region one of their main calls to arms.

Miliband added that democratic countries must not abandon their values, citing the US military detention camp at Guantanamo Bay on Cuba.

"We must respond to terrorism by championing the rule of law, not subordinating it, for it is the cornerstone of the democratic society," he wrote.

"We must uphold our commitments to human rights and civil liberties at home and abroad. That is surely the lesson of Guantanamo and it is why we welcome President-elect Obama's commitment to close it."

 

Trump accuses Assad of committing 'horrible' crimes

Tunisia parliament passes bill to 'end all violence' against women

Egypt creates 'national council' to fight 'terror'

Battle on Lebanon-Syria border proves difficult for Hezbollah fighters

Climate change will make wildfires more common

Iran 'successfully' tests satellite launch rocket

Israeli forces attack Palestinians returning to sensitive holy site

Turkish PM tells German execs they are not part of ‘tension’

UAE agent Dahlan attends Hamas-led parliament

Ceasefire deal reached on Syria-Lebanon border

Al-Jazeera rejects Netanyahu's accusations of 'incitement'

A hunt for the missing in the ruins of Mosul

Rights group says Iraqi unit executed Mosul prisoners

Etihad posts $1.87 bn loss in 2016

France to conduct asylum seeker checks in Libya

Palestinians to return to Jerusalem holy site

Subdued atmosphere in Jerusalem's Old City

Britain lifts Tunisia travel warning

Police in Cairo kill 4 suspected in mid-July attack

Bahrain charges 60 in mass trial

Erdogan says Israeli removal of holy site metal detectors not enough

Tripoli asks Italy to send ships in fight against traffickers

Egyptian state seizes land from ‘squatters’

Jerusalem standoff continues over 'advanced' cameras

UN says majority of Yemen children in need of immediate aid

Syrian civilians turn to smugglers to flee Raqa fighting

Clashes erupt in Eastern Ghouta despite Syria truce deal

Isolated Qatar criticises new Saudi bloc blacklist

Top EU court keeps Hamas on terror list

Iran’s deputy FM: US sanctions vote 'hostile'

Two Moroccan UN peacekeepers killed in C. Africa attack

Rival Libyan leaders agree to ceasefire, elections

Palestinians demand removal of Jerusalem 'security' measures

Key challenges in Libya's chaos

Where Afghanistan is heading and what it means for the Arab Gulf

Saudi raises $4.53 bln in oversubscribed bond issue

Jordanian mourners chant 'death to Israel'

14 Saudis face ‘imminent’ unfair execution says Amnesty

Rival Libyan leaders hold talks in France

Amnesty International urges EU to 'reset' Turkey relations

Erdogan urges Muslims to ‘protect’ Jerusalem

US sanctions protecting Iranian tech sector

Air strike kills civilians in Syria despite truce

278 Europe-bound migrants rescued off Libya

Beirut, the upcoming start-up hub in MENA region