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Friday, July 23, 2004

The Seattle Times: 9/11 report: "Terrorism" catchall too vague an enemy

The Seattle Times: 9/11 report: "Terrorism" catchall too vague an enemy: "9/11 report: 'Terrorism' catchall too vague an enemy
By Glenn Kessler
The Washington Post
WASHINGTON - The Sept. 11 commission report offers a broad critique of a central tenet of the Bush administration's foreign policy - that the attacks have required a 'war on terrorism.'
The report argues that the notion of fighting an enemy called 'terrorism' is too diffuse and vague to be effective. Strikingly, the report also makes no reference to the invasion of Iraq as being part of the war on terrorism, a frequent assertion of President Bush and his top aides.
'The first phase of our post-9-11 efforts rightly included military action to topple the Taliban and pursue al-Qaida. This work continues,' the report said. 'But long-term success demands the use of all elements of national power: diplomacy, intelligence, covert action, law enforcement, economic policy, foreign aid, public diplomacy and homeland defense. If we favor one tool while neglecting others, we leave ourselves vulnerable and weaken our national effort.'
In addition to making anticipated findings on the Sept. 11 plot and recommendations for homeland security, the commission offered a series of foreign-policy prescriptions to correct what it suggests is an unbalanced global strategy. The effort is to shift the government away from focusing on what the report calls a 'generic evil,' and toward a more precise definition of the threat.
The report argues that the nation's enemy consists of two parts: al-Qaida, a stateless network of terrorists that is 'weakened but continues to pose a grave threat'; and a radical ideological movement in the Islamic world that 'is gatherin"

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