Sunday, February 18, 2007

Iraq should not block all foreign intervention

Paddy Ashdown"I suspect most ordinary Muslims no more want to see their great civilising religion captured by the forces of fanaticism than we, in the past, wanted our religious fanatics to take over Christianity. Yet Western leaders persist in their language and actions to portray this as a great struggle for 'our Western values', in language which mirrors and strengthens our enemies' concept of a global jihad.

"This is both stupid and historically illiterate. It was Islam and the Arab universities, especially in Baghdad, which absorbed into Islam the Hellenic thought we regard as the foundation of 'European values' and preserved its crucial texts for Europe to rediscover at the start of the Renaissance, while Europe was still sunk in the barbarism of the Dark Ages.

"And so we have chosen the wrong mindset to defeat al-Qaeda. We have chosen to fight an idea primarily with force. We seek to control territory; it seeks to capture minds. This is, at heart, a battle of ideas and values. Unless we realise that and can win on that agenda, no amount of force can deliver victory." —Paddy Ashdown, High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina 2002-2006

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