Jihad Vietnam

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These efforts focused on legitimizing to both the American people and worldwide, the Administration's anti-Iraqi policy: it was presented as an example of the new rules governing international relations in the post Cold- War, one super-power era. The result was a. One interesting aspect of this campaign was the manipulation of the historical consciousness of Western society, based as it was on an assumed common cultural heritage and, mainly, on deeply rooted Christian symbols. In this context, expressions such as "crusade" and "Just War" became keywords in describing the American policy, its goals, and means 9.

A week before the UN ultimatum to Iraq expired, Brent Scowcroft, President George Bush's national security adviser, offered, with laudable frankness, a rare insight into the internal deliberations that informed the White House propaganda campaign in the Gulf crisis. Elucidating the options of the Administration, Scowcroft made public the following question: "Can the U.

The dilemma or, rather, the conflict of opinion hinted at by Scowcroft suggests that the Administration was not confident that the American people would regard U. Once the "national interests" argument was dismissed as inadequate for justifying military action, two alternatives came to the fore; namely, an Iraqi provocation and a moral crusade. The hypothesis implied by Scowcroft, that some quarters in the Administration would welcome an "Iraqi Pearl Harbor" as a provocation that would make an American reprisal unavoidable and justify the war, has been dealt with elsewhere n.

Such a provocation could indeed stimulate the President's propaganda campaign in favor of an attack against Iraq. This scenario, however, was completely subject to Saddam Hussein, whose steady "rational" behavior after the invasion of Kuwait sowed serious doubts whether Iraq would supply the necessary excuse Under these circumstances, the remaining option for the Administration's propaganda campaign was to turn its power policy in the Gulf into a moral crusade. It was this alternative that ultimately provided the justification for action. The moral crusade, as a corner-stone of the Administration's anti-Iraqi propaganda, was widely welcomed by significant elements in the American press The White House, presenting the war as being waged for freedom and justice, focused on ethics; the press, cultivating the image of continuous Arab- Western conflict, focused on the crusade.

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The president, explaining the war in the ethical framework of a Just War - the origins of which go back to medieval theology - employed the idea of crusade only in its more abstract, metaphorical sense. The press, in drawing its argumentation and images from the crusader heritage and its representations in popular culture, looked back to the romantic medieval myths of the armed struggle between Christendom and the Moslem world. It was reasonable to assume that the notion of a Just War would appeal to American public opinion.

Since World War II, this concept has played a central role in controversies over American foreign policy, such as the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the nuclear race, and the invasion of Panama and Granada In all these precedents, the hard core of the Just War argument focused on the instrumental rather than on the ethical level: it justified the use of power to prevent the transgression of international law and to bring about the status-quo-ante.

This interpretation excludes, by definition, any war whose aim is to bring about a change of government in a foreign country, be it for ideological or political reasons During the Gulf War, American policy, as explained by its chief architects, involved elements of both the Just War and the crusade. The White House, however, joined the press to a lesser extent, in its use of the rhetoric of the crusade: It presented the war as an integral part of an overall effort to bring about a new world order, dominated by liberal, Western values in foreign and domestic policies. In contrast to the Just War concept, not only the liberation of Kuwait but also the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the democratization of Iraq according to Western models were mentioned as goals of the UN sanctions and the subsequent military operation.

This combination of Just War and moral crusade, served to veil an inherent ideological contradiction: defending a feudal regime Kuwait's while employing liberal democratic discourse. In the short term, this inconsistency proved to be a source of propaganda strength, as it enabled the White House and the press to maintain a united front.

In the long run, however, it proved to be a source of confusion to the Administration, with grave political implications. It was George Bush, who in the framework of the propaganda strategy of the moral crusade, led the transformation of the Gulf crisis into a Just War. By so doing, he deliberately blurred the political, strategic, and economic interests involved in the conflict He presented it as a struggle between good and evil, embodied by the U.

The President's dramatic call to the nation on the eve of the war was actually a culmination of the propaganda strategy of the previous six months: "Tonight", Bush solemnly appealed to his listeners, "as this coalition of countries seeks to do that which is right and just, I ask only that all of you stop what you were doing and say a prayer for all the coalition forces May God bless and protect each and every one of them and may God bless the United States of America" In the context of the Just War argument, President Bush employed universal religious motifs and carefully avoided the use of any specific Christian terminology.

Moreover, he specifically rejected the evolution of his campaign for justice and morality into a religious crusade by Christendom against Islam. He repeatedly emphasized that it was not different religious affiliations that had placed the U. It has, on the other hand, everything to do with what religion embodies: good vs. The use of terms with judicial as well as religious - but not of any specific religion - connotations was, it would seem, not accidental, but carefully selected.

President Bush further asserted that U. Again, in an almost millenarian prophetic tone, he maintained that the campaign was meant to institute an adequate set of rules that would regulate international relations: "The civilized world is now in the process of fashioning the rules that will govern the new world", he rationalized Behind Bush's deliberate attempt to emphasize the moral rather than the crusade nature of the American offensive lay both domestic and foreign policy considerations.

The use of ethical vocabulary with general religious overtones was meant to facilitate the reception of the Administration's policy by a positively predisposed domestic public With the Vietnam trauma ever present in the background 24, Bush's commitment to the status-quo-ante and his avoidance of wider ideological goals hinted to Americans at their president's commitment to keep the conflict within limited, well-defined targets.

Presenting the conflict in terms of a Just War had an important role in American foreign policy, which had to cultivate a supportive public opinion in the coalition countries worldwide 25 - and, indeed, this concept responded to the political limitations imposed by the composition of the anti-Iraq coalition. To bestow on the Administration's anti-Iraq policy a much needed seal of international approval, the White House regarded as vital the participation of Arab and Moslem countries, fragile and complicated as this would make the coalition Consequently, while the use of religious terminology might have been useful in terms of cultivating American public opinion, it was counterproductive for such an international coalition.

By joining forces with the West - and worse still, with the "pro-Israeli" U. Arab masses, particularly Moslem fundamentalists, were highly critical of the pro-American policy of their governments and. Aware of the sensibilities and limitations of his allies, President Bush acted carefully.


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His emphasis on the Just War concept, with its universal moral values, provided a perfect solution to the propaganda dilemma posed by past and present uneasy relations between the West and the Arabs. It enabled the American president to minimize the influence of cultural and religious factors in his anti-Iraq policy and, by so doing, to facilitate the enlistment of Moslem-Arab countries in the coalition. The focus that Bush placed on a status- quo-ante-onented Just War further served to obscure the fact - one that could easily have been turned into a propaganda problem in the U.

In the initial stages of the crisis, the press proved receptive to the White House's propaganda strategy An editorial in The New York Times faithfully voiced the president's creed, establishing that "America, along with most of the rest of the world, are on the right side of this quarrel, and of history" Echoing Bush's argument, Kenneth L.

An easy ‘A’

Woodward instructed Newsweek's readers on the principles and the history of the Just War Maureen Dowd went a step further by depicting Bush's perception of the conflict as a universal struggle of a binary nature, involving contradictory elements: "The President.. James LeMoyne justified this line of argument in light of "the ethos of democratic liberalism" and "the American sensibility of a world divided into good and evil" Rosenthal described how "Mr.

Bush preached for a moral, historic and ethical framework for the war". Making use of a rather rich historical thesaurus, Rosenthal cited the Bible, Abraham Lincoln, and Thomas Aquinas to justify the fighting, and declared: "the U. The vague duality implied in the presidential message, however, did not always satisfy the press.

Indeed, some journalists were not late in pointing to what they believed to be basic weaknesses inherent in the President's reasoning. Peter McGrath argued that "for George Bush, the problem is a lack of available ideals.

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He cannot defend democracy while restoring a feudal order in Kuwait. He spoke at the outset of not rewarding aggression, but the modern. Nor will it work to talk, as he did before Congress in September, of a 'new world order. For the press, the solution to inconsistencies like those to which McGrath pointed was to emphasize, not the element of the Just War in the term moral crusade, but that of the crusade. Accordingly, in clear contradiction to Bush's propaganda strategy, the press made wider use of religious and cultural arguments 35, with the war gradually emerging as another stage in the seemingly ever-lasting conflict between Christendom and Islam, between the West and the Arab East.

In its most extreme form, this trend encouraged the depiction of the conflict in terms of a modern crusade Curiously enough, this anti-Iraq line of argument was fostered by Saddam Hussein and his supporters' abundant use of crusade terminology. Saddam strove to mobilize Arab and Muslim public opinion by emphasizing the long, fundamental antagonism between the Arabs and the West.

The extensive use of the precedent of the crusades was meant as a historical lesson: in the s, like years earlier Battle of Hattin, 1 , there would be a clear Muslim- Arab victory, led by a modern Saladin. The conflicting political goals of George Bush and Saddam Hussein were, therefore, faithfully reflected in their respective lines of propaganda The American press, rather paradoxically, found Saddam's crusade terminology more to its taste Faced with the propaganda challenge emanating from Baghdad, the press responded by readily adopting the more colorful, stimulating terminology of the crusade, with all its romantic, religious, and historical symbols.

When, however, columnists like Howard Fineman and Evan Thomas compared George Bush and Saddam Hussein through this heroic perspective, they portrayed the American president in a somewhat caricaturistic manner: "Saddam sounds like a ninth-century holy warrior preparing to battle the infidel, Bush sounds like a high-school football coach on the eve of the big game Saddam borrowed his ghoulish threat to make the Americans 'swim in their own blood' word for word from Al-Tabari, the Herodotus of the Arab world who chronicled the jihads of the Abbasid Empire..

Bush's declaration to Saddam, 'I've had it! Crispin's Day at Agincourt" The press thus reached the unavoidable conclusion that if Bush. The White House, though, recognized that both political and propaganda considerations made such a strategy unacceptable. Politically, the use of the crusade - with its emphasis on the antagonism between the Arab world and the West as a model for the military campaign in the Gulf - would endanger the cohesiveness of the coalition.

Propagandistically, adopting the crusade analogy would bring Bush closer to Saddam's line of argument, thereby blurring the differences between their respective goals - a difference that was made very clear in the framework of the Just War concept. The history and mythology of the crusades enriched U. Thus, an editorial in The New York Times emphasized in an oxy moronic manner the "shining achievement of the European enlightenment's crusade against feudal monarchies" The eminence of Western culture over the "barbarian" East was further suggested.

In , Muhammad Ali failed the U. Armed Forces qualifying test because his writing and spelling skills were sub-standard. With the escalation of the Vietnam War, the test standards were lowered in November and Ali was reclassified as 1-A in February which meant he was now eligible for the draft and induction into the U. When notified of this status, he declared that he would refuse to serve in the U.

Army and publicly considered himself a conscientious objector.

We are not supposed to take part in no wars unless declared by Allah or The Messenger. In early , Ali changed his legal residence to Houston, Texas, where his appeal to be reclassified as a Muslim minister was denied by the federal judicial district on February He appeared for his scheduled induction into the U.

Armed Forces in Houston on April As expected, Ali refused three times to step forward at the call of his name.

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Once more, Ali refused to budge when his name was called. As a result, on that same day, the New York State Athletic Commission suspended his boxing license and the World Boxing Association stripped him of his title. Other boxing commissions followed suit. He was indicted by a federal grand jury on May 8 and convicted in Houston on June The trial jury was composed of six men and six women, all of whom were white.

The Court of Appeals affirmed and denied the appeal on May 6, That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic [integrisme], having given arms and advice to future terrorists? Brzezinski: What is most important to the history of the world?