US in the Middle East / Middle East in the US

More Than Two Choices in the War on Terror

First published in the DeLand Beacon newspaper in central Florida, November 6, 2001

We are moving beyond shock and into a period of forceful action in response to the horrible terrorism of Sept. 11 and subsequent acts of bioterrorism.  Most Americans feel an urgency to do the right thing.

We keep hearing that there are only two choices: side with terrorists or with a policy of military retaliation.  Is our imagination limited to that stark contrast?  If we keep talking war and making war, that will encourage terrorist responses. But if we treat this as a campaign of intelligence operations to identify and arrest the leaders, of activities to reduce our military footprint and foster good will, and of publicity to discredit terrorist actions in embarrassing and lurid detail, we have a better chance of stopping the support for terrorism before it is fanned into murderous passion.  Read whole essay here….

US in the Middle East / Middle East in the US

Terrorists on Trial: Make Humiliation Not War

First published in the DeLand Beacon newspaper in central Florida, September 21, 2001

As Americans move from stunned horror to cleanup and preparation for retaliation, we need to make sure we hit the right target.

Some fanatical, amoral group has committed mass murder in Lower Manhattan and Northern Virginia.  At first we wanted to know “why?”  Now we need to answer “what next?”…

Recklessness has a power that sheer military power cannot easily conquer.  We learned that lesson in Vietnam when Americans use of staggering firepower could not stop the Viet Cong.  An elusive, low-tech enemy, especially if highly motivated ideologically, can easily slip below radar and inflict terrible wounds, even when not making steps toward military conquest in the conventional sense.

If the United States uses military might against the current terrorist threats, the cure could be worse than the disease.

Making war on fanatics will simply make them more fanatical.  But presenting them in public trial will embarrass them and anyone else who would be tempted to join them.  Read whole essay here….