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Keywords:

  • Islam;
  • Islamist politics;
  • terrorism;
  • just wars;
  • just-war theory;
  • Iraq;
  • Afghanistan;
  • U.S. foreign policy;
  • preventive wars;
  • preemptive wars;
  • imperialism;
  • unilateralism;
  • national-security doctrine

Abstract: The Bush administration's military war on terrorism is a blunt, ineffective, and unjust response to the threat posed to innocent civilians by terrorism. Decentralized terrorist networks can only be effectively fought by international cooperation among police and intelligence agencies representing diverse nation-states, including ones with predominantly Islamic populations. The Bush administration's allegations of a global Islamist terrorist threat to the national interests of the United States misread the decentralized and complex nature of Islamist politics. Undoubtedly there exists a “combat fundamentalist” element within Islamism. But the threat posed to U.S. citizens by Islamist terrorism neither necessitates nor justifies as a response massive military invasions of other nations. Not only does the Bush administration's war on alleged “terrorist states” violate the doctrine of just war, but in addition these wars arise from a new, unilateral, imperial foreign-policy doctrine of “preventive wars.” Such a doctrine will isolate the United States from international institutions and long-standing allies. The weakening of these institutions and alliances will only weaken the ability of the international community to deter terrorism.