George W. Bush has been very imprecise when defining who the enemy in his “war against terrorism” really is. It is unrealistic to claim that he aims to go to war on “terrorism” - there are thousands of terrorist factions worldwide and it would take an impossible amount of money to finance. He generally states the war in Christian rhetoric - a “war against evil” and “evildoers”. The truth is the war is against Islamic militants. Islamic Militants have been responsible for more American deaths since Vietnam then any other enemy. He is comprising a list of countries that support or finance terrorism, which include Libya and Iraq. It is not a coincidence that the vast majority of these are Islamic countries.
NATO Secretary General Willy Claes stood up in front of a national assembly prior to September 11th and called Islamic Militants the “most serious threat the west has faced since communism”. He proclaimed the risk might even be greater then Communism because Islamic Militancy encompassed Terrorism, Religious Fanaticalism, and a disregard for Social and Economic justice. Claes was forced to retract his statement then, but I doubt he would be treated in such a fashion after September 11th.
In Bush’s pronunciation of a “War against terrorism” and further qualification with a “war against evil” and “evildoers”, Bush is presenting his war against terrorism as an ideological and moral clash of values. This is exactly what President Truman did in the Truman Doctrine, which he presented to Congress to gain funding for supplying economic aid to Greece and Turkey in an attempt to prevent a Communist uprising. Truman called it a choice between "Liberty" and a free elected government or "Tyranny", and an oppressive, media-censoring state. Black and white are the language of both Presidents, as they define America as the force of liberation, justice and good.
In a Commentary article, Schoenfold attacks the intelligence services as responsible to the 9/11 disaster. Specifically, he attacks an ex-CIA official who proposed legislation that would overturn an archaic McCarthyist law that legalised “lookout lists”. Attorney General Grath had a list of “subversive” organisations, sympathy of which would have government officials investigated. Schoenfold also calls for more stringent immigration laws to stop terrorists “coming into our country”. Many sources - including Newsweek - have been critical of the Intelligence Agencies. During the McCarthy era of the 1950s, many intelligence agencies disregarded civil rights and the “American way” in return for greater security - arresting and prosecuting thousands of people on trumped up charges. The increased pressure on the Intelligence services and fear of the American people today cannot but lead to legislation that sacrifices civil rights for greater security.
In another article in Commentary, Daniel Pipes - a middle east commentator - defined the Militant Islam target for us. In the central core, he said, were the Islamic Terrorists - bin Laden and his network. In the inner ring, were the Islamic protestors and supporters of bin Laden, who support what he is doing but are not directly involved. In the outer ring, are those Muslims who hate Bush and America. According to Pipe’s statistics, approximately half of the world’s Muslim population - 500 million - fall into this category. I liken this article to Attorney General (of the Truman Period) Grath’s statement that communists “are everywhere, in our banks, offices, butchers - even in our private businesses”. Bush has been extremely careful to make it clear he is not attacking Islam, but “terrorists”. Truman’s administration aided Communists such as Tito’s Yugoslavian state, who broke away from Soviet control. There is a distinction between “good” and “bad” communists, just as there is a distinction between good - peaceful - and bad - militant - Muslims. However, when so many Muslims resent his attack on Islamic Militants - and his assumption that he acts on the side of Christian “good” - the borders start to seem rather hazy.
The McCarthy Communist witch hunts saw a great increase in racist attacks as the populace felt their national identity was being threatened by Communism - “reds under the bed”. The fear and insecurity brought on by the September 11th attacks has resulted in an large increase in racist abuse, in England and the United States - with one placard reading “Kill Them All - Let Allah Sort Them Out." With the increasing rise of the right in Europe, and the American Christian Right in response to the 9/11 attack - will the average paranoid nationalist stop to consider whether the Muslim in front of him is a “good” Muslim or a “bad” Muslim before clonking him over the head?