Friday, March 14, 2008

Follow Turkey's Lead

Turkey's military excursions into northern Iraq to eliminate Kurdish terrorist cells have received much attention from the international community. Their recent decision to invest up to $12 billion in the Kurdish southeast region of the country should receive the same. Turkey's recent Kurdish policy is the model Western nations should follow in counteracting terrorism abroad - a combination of specified force and effective prevention. Prevention comes in the form of heart-winning: economic assistance, greater human rights, more education, etc., all things that prevent young individuals from turning to terrorism.

The West should learn from such a strategy. It is not through military force alone that terrorism can be eradicated - indeed, through such a strategy terrorism will only grow in strength, for it gives disaffected individuals in the Middle East even more cause for violent action. If the United States did more to promote its image abroad, or if it appeared to care even one iota what those beyond its borders thought, terrorism would have a hard time attracting so many willing to give their life in the fight against the supposed "evil empire," to use Ahmadinejad buddy Hugo Chavez's words. Even simple superficial measures such as closing down Guatanamo or preventing Abu Ghraib would have tremendous impact on winning over the hearts and minds of would-be terrorists.

There are those who will say that America should not have to appease terrorists, but arguing on principle rather than reality betrays the principles that those forwarding such arguments rely on so heavily. The policies that America pursues in combating terrorism must be those that are most effective, not those that are ideologically convenient. If policy A is best in protecting Americans, the United States government has a moral and constitutional obligation to pursue policy A, regardless of whether or not it appears that big and badass USA is 'conceding' to the terrorists.

To that end, it has been proven that overt and blunt military action is not effective. The Middle East and Southwest Asia today are not more safe than they were before the War on Terror, and neither is America. No, there have not been terrorist attacks on United States soil in the six and a half years since September, 2001, but nor were there in the eight years between the two World Trade Center attacks (besides the Oklahoma City Bombing, but I admit that because it was conducted by an American citizen) - such a period of time is no effective means by which to judge anti-terror policy. Besides, I'd argue that domestic anti-terror measures are the sole reason why such attacks have been prevented - indeed, there have been no shortage of attempts at terrorist attacks on the United States, they have just been foiled by amped-up domestic security. Think of the shoe-bomber, the anthrax scare, the liquid-explosives plot, and the numerous other terrorist conspiracies that have been prevented. Also, Britain and Spain have been victims of catastrophic terrorist attacks as a result of their involvement in America's crusade. Were there ever so many continued threats before America's initiation of the War on Terror? Indeed, it seems as if Bush's foreign policy escapades serve only to give the Department of Homeland Security more work.

So step away from the smart bomb, USA. Embrace reconcilliation, compassion and education. A good repuatation goes much further than does a bullet.

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