In the days since 9/11, we heard a policy stating that the United States would rout out terrorists and terrorist-supporting nations, wherever they may be. We have heard support for the war on terrorism, by most, and a follow-up withdrawal of support by several previous war supporters. We have seen an attack on the Taliban in Afghanistan which resulted in a quick dethronement of the Taliban. We have seen a similar action in Iraq. We have seen the “long haul” battle to grow a strong, pro-west government in those two contries, and, oddly, we have seen acceptance of terrorist-supporting nations, such as Pakistan. Indeed, the course of events continues to move fluidly with the passage of time, changing. The question remains as to whether these changes will benefit the western world and/or the world as a whole. Still others remain mired in a swamp of the past-crying over spilt milk and searching for answers to questions which no longer matter.

It is true that the United States has, thus far, been unable to bring Osama bin-Laden to justice. While it is possible that he may see justice in the future, it is also true that, like many other criminals throughout history, he may evade capture and meet with a more natural demise. The issue of terrorism would not fade away if bin-Laden died natually, was executed, or held in a prison for life. Those who focus on the fact that bin-Laden has not been dealt with, whether for personal, political or other intentions, are diverting attention from the goal of bringing the world together in the belief that terrorism is not an acceptable act in our world.

True, also, is the fact that intelligence information about weapons of mass destruction (WMD’s) in Iraq was a major factor used in determining the necessity for a “pre-emptive” strike against Iraq to remove Sadam Hussein from position. This information may have been accurate and the WMD’s could have been secretly removed from Iraq, as Iraqis in leadership positions claim. Just as likely, the WMD’s could have been destroyed or perhaps they never existed, though many Kurds and Iranians would argue that claim. Once again, focusing on the past issue that no WMD’s were located only harms the goal of western nations. That goal is to ensure the safety of our world against terrorist attacks by bringing the world together in the belief that terrorism no longer belongs in our world. The belief is that we, as human beings with varieties of practices, can evolve to a new level.

A quick view of the partnerships formed prior to the U.S./coalition attack on Afghanistan shows the strength of human evolution of thought. Though the United States and Russia (previously as the USSR) had considered each other enemies, the coutries chose to work together. The United States chose to talk to Pakistan (a known terrorist state) and Pakistan responded by aiding the United States and coalition nations in the war against terror. All questions of intent aside, this is still a strong step away from the support of terrorism. Iraq is attempting to evolve into a nation that chooses by vote rather than tyrrany and it no longer supports terrorist actions through funding. Attitudes toward Hezbollah, Hamas and the PLO are changing around our globe. Tolerance for terrorism is fading away. China took an open stand against North Korean nuclear ambitions, which could seriously reduce the threat level in that region. Bonds are being formed which could strengthen our world.

The next step is always a difficult step to take. Questions arise as to where it will take us and what will happen if we are wrong. Those questions are not wrong, they are, indeed, necessary to ensure we move forward conscientiously. However, using past mistakes for personal, political or other gains results in a focus on past events which prevents us from forward momentum. These tactics cripple the world’s attempt to move forward to a positive existance. We must learn from the past, but we must continue to move forward. Leave “finger pointing” about past events to personal discussions rather than open debates between leaders – nothing is gained. As we look to the future, we should be looking for methods to make terrorism less popular and/or necessary. Threat of military or economic actions are useful tools in this battle, but other tools can be developed. World organizations already in place give voices to political entities throughout the world, encouraging legitimate organization of entities Teachings of anger and hate at the individual level have resulted in circumvention of these avenues of debate and have resulted ina choice to use force. It is at this level, in the locations which espouse teachings of hatred, that matters must be dealt with. The questions of how to replace bigotry with acceptance becomes the issue of the future. The goal of the war on terror is not to destroy anyone with an opposing viewpoint (as the jihad views matters), but to allow viewpoints to be expressed and be used to form a compromise by which we can agree to live.

 

Pallutus served 9 years as a USArmy soldier in combat arms, as a police officer and a high school teacher of social studies and can be contacted at kheilmann@nc.rr.com

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