Sunday, September 22, 2019

Misunderstood and mis-edited

Aug 23. 2018
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I wish to correct Andy Leitner’s distortion of, or possibly his inability to quite grasp, my contribution on Wednesday. It would seem that I unintentionally touched a nerve while opening up the debate for further discussion.

Firstly, the phrase “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” was posed in the form of a question, not a statement. 

This was done to provoke mature (the operative word) discussion. 

The fact that the editors saw fit to omit the question mark I deliberately added is a sin of omission on their part, not mine. Nor was it meant to be rhetorical. Admittedly that is not Leitner’s fault either, so I’ll cut him some slack on that one.

The “main problem” with fighting terrorism in the 21st century is emphatically not what Leitner erroneously describes as “political correctness”. 

Alluding to Ray McGovern (as but one example for brevity’s sake), a former CIA senior analyst and highly respected authority on this topic, the super-ordinate dilemma remains the burning issue of what McGovern calls “draining the swamp” (which incidentally was not coined by Trump, as CNN asserts). 

I’ll simplify the analogy for Leitner so there’s no room for more misconstruing of what I actually meant: McGovern was referring not to a cleansing of the Augean Stables, for example, but addressing the root causes of terrorism. He likened terrorists to mosquitoes – hence the reference. I will concede, however, that there are many other questions to add, but I would agree with what the former CIA man said.

In order to helpfully allow Mr Leitner grasp the basics of an admittedly complex matter, I would suggest he reads anything on terrorism by Walter Lacqueur and indeed Jason Burke’s excellent work “Al Qaeda: Casting a shadow of terror”. 

Dr Frank

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