The 'War on Terror' Isn't Working by Andrew Bacevich, Los Angeles Times
Here's a question that ought to be at the center of the presidential campaign, but has been strangely absent: What strategy should the United States pursue to counter the problem posed by violent radical Islam?
Sure, several candidates vow, if elected, to escalate the ongoing military campaign against Islamic State. But Islamic State is merely an expression of a much larger and more complex phenomenon. Carpet-bomb Islamic State into extinction tomorrow and the larger problem remains.
To label that problem “terrorism” is to privilege convenience over understanding. It's like calling big-time college football a “sport.” Doing so entails leaving out all the grimy, money-soaked activity that occurs off the gridiron.
Those most deeply invested in the status quo--those benefiting from a condition of perpetual war--dismiss alternatives out of hand, arguing that no choice exists but to press on.
What Americans refer to as terrorism is more accurately this: a violent outgrowth of chronic political dysfunction and economic underdevelopment affecting large parts of the Islamic world, exacerbated by deep-seated sectarian divisions and the pernicious legacy of European colonialism and further complicated by the presence of Israel, all together finding expression in antipathy toward the West and especially the United States. For the “war on terror” to succeed, it will have to remedy the conditions giving rise to that antipathy in the first place…