Academics and Research / Magazine Feature

Professor says neo-conservatives strengthen jihadi terrorism

Neo-conservatives are unintentional enablers of the jihadi terrorists.

That’s one of many seminal points in a new book by Tom Farer, dean of the DU’s Graduate School of International Studies.

“Neo-conservatives have helped to shape foreign policies that have strengthened the jihadi narrative, a narrative centered on the theme that the United States is leading a war against Islam and is broadly hostile to the aspirations of Islamic peoples,” says Farer, author of Confronting Global Terrorist and American Neo-Conservatism (Oxford University Press, due out April 16, 2008).

Farer says those policies make it easier for terrorists to recruit and harder for the U.S. to secure actionable intelligence from within the Islamic community.

“What we want to do is isolate the terrorists from the broader Islamic community they claim to represent or at least whose interests they claim to be defending,” Farer says.

In the book, which took 18 months to research and write, Farer argues that the U.S. needs “a credible counter-narrative” that depicts a convergence of U.S. values and interests with those of other peoples including the global community of Islam.

This counter-narrative isn’t so much a matter of words as it is deeds, he says.

“In today’s transparent, globally connected world, people induce our policies from our acts and omissions,” Farer says, noting the looting of Iraqi museums and the brutal treatment of detainees in Abu Ghraib.

“By contrast, deeds such as the generous aid we delivered to Indonesia after the tsunami speak for themselves in contributing to a benign view of American policy,” he says.

Among Farer’s recommendations is U.S. and European action to impose a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — to include Israeli withdrawal from virtually all of the territory occupied after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, large compensation payments to Palestinian refugee families and a transitional U.N. trusteeship over the territory yielded by Israel while responsible government and prosperity develop.

In addition to a long and distinguished academic career, Farer has trained an African police force, served as the President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States, advised the U.N., and worked in the U.S. Departments of State and Defense. This is his 12th book.

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