15 Jan 2009

'War on terror' idea mistaken - Foreign Secretary

3:04 pm on 15 January 2009

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has delivered a powerful critique of outgoing US President George Bush.

Writing in the Guardian newspaper, Mr Miliband says the notion of a "war on terror" was "misleading and mistaken", because it gave the idea of a unified enemy where none existed, and also encouraged a primarily military response to problems that the West could not "kill its way out of".

The article appears to be a comprehensive attempt to discard what was a defining mission of the Bush administration, which comes to an end next Tuesday.

"The idea of a 'war on terror' gave the impression of a unified, transnational enemy, embodied in the figure of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda," Mr Miliband says. "The reality is that the motivations and identities of terrorist groups are disparate."

He adds: "The more we lump terrorist groups together and draw the battle lines as a simple binary struggle between moderates and extremists, or good and evil, the more we play into the hands of those seeking to unify groups with little in common."

Mr Miliband says only co-operation between states can break up terror networks.