Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Fareed Zakaria: Prevailing over terror

Juan Cole linked to this article by Fareed Zakaria, Prevailing over terror that puts the London Bombing in what I consider to be a proper perspective:

THE London bombings have failed. Barbarous in intent, brutal for a few hundred people, unsettling for all who watched in horror, they have nonetheless failed. In one day much of the cityÂ?s transport system was up and running again, its Underground stations busy and its buses crowded with passengers. [...]
To realise victory, we have to understand this struggle is more complex than we have been led to believe. Simple slogans telling us we fight terrorists in so that we will not have to fight them here in US, are just that: slogans, not comprehensive policies. [...]
In the years after 9/11 we have wasted much time, effort and money on other priorities rather than engaging in the massive investment in the systems of response that we need. Our leaders remain unwilling to speak honestly about the world we live in and to help people develop the mentality of response that is essential to prevailing.

The bombs were meant to show that the terrorists were strong and we were weak. In fact they have shown the opposite. But to realise victory fully, we must know what victory means.

The Brits are so much more experienced with living with and prevailing against a terrorist threat. During 9/11 I was working with an Irishman and he immediately made the point that we in the U.S. need to learn to live with terrorist threats—that Europeans have been living with this for many years and have learned how to carry on and live their lives in spite of the risks. Unfortunately, our leaders still believe in simplistic notions of Good triumphing over Evil. They believe that a military solution is both possible and preferable. How much blood and treasure do we have to waste on this counter productive world view? How long until the foolishness is exposed?

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