by John Hawkins | August 23, 2002 3:04 pm
Terrorism As A Tactic: If you break the ‘War on Terrorism’ down to it’s simplest form, it’s really an attempt to prove that using terrorism as a tactic to change the policies of governments is doomed to failure.
Groups don’t commit terrorist attacks because of hopelessness, poverty, or any of the other root causes that leftists usually site. Groups like al-Queda, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, etc, commit terrorist attacks because they believe the attacks will help them achieve their goals. For the last two decades or so they’ve been right.
We pulled out of Lebanon because of a terrorist attack, al-Queda sponsored a firefight in Somalia and we left, the Palestinians have wrung a lot of concessions out of the Israelis using terrorism, & the Brits are negotiating with the IRA. Furthermore, other than Reagan’s bombing of Muammar Gaddafi’s palace back in the eighties and some ineffective sanctions we did very, very, little to make terrorist organizations pay any sort of price for their actions before 9/11.
Now the Taliban did pay a terrible price for al-Queda’s 9/11 attacks and that undoubtedly convinced some nations that the risks of terrorism were not worth the rewards of supporting it anymore. But other nations like Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and a few others have not learned that lesson yet. In fact, the lesson they may have taken away from 9/11 was that terrorism can do tremendous damage to the US but you BETTER NOT GET CAUGHT.
That risk/reward ratio HAS to be changed. We have got to convince every nation in the world that sponsoring terrorist groups will have such cataclysmic consequences that no nation will continue to do so. In short, we need to put the fear of the United States into these dictators and Islamo-fascists that run the Middle East. So if someone walks up to a thug like Bashar Assad in Syria and says, “We have a terrorist group that is seeking our help. Should we help them?” I want Assad to say something like, “A terrorist group? Are you mad? The United States will kill us all! Exterminate them like rats before the United States finds out they’re on Syrian soil!” Sanctions, aid, and finger wagging are not going to produce that reaction.
In a world where chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons are becoming easier and easier for terrorist groups to access, we are inviting a catastrophe of Biblical proportions if we aren’t willing to do whatever it takes to prove that terrorism is counterproductive. We weren’t serious about proving that you can’t achieve your goals via terrorism before 9/11 and we paid a butcher’s bill for it. That was a hard lesson to learn and if we wobble, if we aren’t willing to step up to this challenge, we will pay with millions of American lives.
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