“War on Terror” Damaging Relationships

Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor under President Carter, writes today in the Washington Post about how the “War on Terror” has become a “self inflicted wound” that has created a culture of fear and damaged our confidence, our morale, and our relationships.

He notes the pernicious effect it has had on interfaith relationships:

The atmosphere generated by the “war on terror” has encouraged legal and political harassment of Arab Americans (generally loyal Americans) for conduct that has not been unique to them. A case in point is the reported harassment of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for its attempts to emulate, not very successfully, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Some House Republicans recently described CAIR members as “terrorist apologists” who should not be allowed to use a Capitol meeting room for a panel discussion.

Social discrimination, for example toward Muslim air travelers, has also been its unintended byproduct. Not surprisingly, animus toward the United States even among Muslims otherwise not particularly concerned with the Middle East has intensified, while America’s reputation as a leader in fostering constructive interracial and interreligious relations has suffered egregiously.

It is a sad truth that the events of 9/11 gave provided a new urgency to the need for developing “constructive interracial and interreligious relations.” Since that time we have seen a significant expansion of efforts to reach out to one another. But at the same time, our efforts are complicated and sometimes counteracted by the shadow of “the way on terror” that hovers over daily life in the US.

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