The charity has been used as a front for a militant group fighting
for the separation of the Muslim province of Kashmir from the
predominantly Hindu India. The most important element in the whole
investigation is that Jamaat ud Dawa was recently labeled a terrorist
organization by the Bush administration. Could this labeling have
motivated the plot in the first place?
Jamaat ud Dawa has no direct association with al-Qaeda and focuses
its efforts on ousting the army of a non-Muslim state (India) from
Muslim lands (Kashmir)—the key issue that enrages and motivates the most
Islamic jihadist attacks. In fact, jihadist groups battled the Soviets
in Afghanistan during the 1980s, the French and Americans in Lebanon in
the 1980s, the Russians in Chechnya, the Israelis in Gaza and the West
Bank, and the Americans in Afghanistan and now Iraq. In spite of this,
the United States seems to have gone out of its way to pick a fight with
the Jamaat ud Dawa.
And the group has apparently noticed. The organization’s Web site
shows a photo of Mohammed Saeed, the group’s leader, protesting the Bush
administration’s designation of Jamaat ud Dawa as a terrorist
organization in May of this year. If the group was involved in the bomb
plot, occurring three months later, it appears to be no coincidence.
Jamaat ud Dawa is the perfect example of the type of local and
regional insurgent group the United States government continues to add
to the U.S. terrorism list in the name of the “global war on terror.”
Yet, because these groups don’t start out with an anti–U.S. focus, the
U.S. government is endangering its own citizens by making new enemies
needlessly. The United States cannot and should not—for the security of
its own people—help every government put down threats from local
insurgents and terrorists.
India and Pakistan do need to solve the Kashmir problem, and the
United States might even be able to help mediate a settlement, since it
now has a loose alliance with both nations. But labeling Kashmiri groups
as “terrorists” does nothing for any future U.S. role as an honest
broker in the dispute.
Similarly, slavish support for Israel’s “over-the-top” response in
Lebanon to Hezbollah’s attack on Israeli military targets could provoke
Hezbollah to again attack U.S. targets. The group virtually ended its
strikes against U.S. targets when the United States withdrew its forces
from Lebanon in the early 1980s.
Hezbollah, as it has proven before, is a formidable foe, but its main
target is Israel. Why did the Bush administration needlessly shake the
Hezbollah hornet’s nest by stalling the cessation of hostilities in
Lebanon so that Israel could have more time to futilely attack
Hezbollah’s and Lebanon’s infrastructure?
No conflict in the world is apparently too unimportant or irrelevant
to “U.S. security” for the world’s superpower to refrain from
intervening. The first responsibility of any government is to try to
make its people genuinely secure, not to perpetuate empire. Empire does
not generate security, but rather undermines it.
The bomb plot should be a wake-up call to the Bush administration to
disengage from needless meddling in other countries’ wars and conflicts.
Ivan Eland is a Senior Fellow at The Independent Institute,
Director of the Institute’s
Center on Peace &
Liberty, and author of the books
The Empire Has No Clothes, and
Putting “Defense” Back into U.S. Defense Policy.