- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 28, 2008


Bernard I. Finel makes some vital distinctions regarding “our victories….against easy targets” and the future difficulties we will encounter in defeating jihadist terrorists globally (“Victory over jihadists,” Editorial, Thursday). In that light, the article should be read by anyone making decisions on future components of national security, U.S foreign policy and global counterterrorism strategies.

As the report from the American Security Project suggests, our nation did pick the “easy fruit” in its early victories against Al Qaeda in Iraq and Southeast Asia. And Mr. Finel is correct when he concludes it would be a “delusion” if we believe we have “discovered a strategic concept for victory in the concept of ‘the surge´ and a renewed focus on counter-insurgency warfare.”

Mr. Finel also believes a victory over jihadists in other places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, and East Africa (or other places where weak or failing governments fuel terror´s expansion) will take “a fundamentally different approach, including a larger role for the international community and non-military elements of statecraft”. But this is where Mr. Finel misses a key element that will also be required to defeat jihadist terrorists. We also need a new and comprehensive approach to development assistance. We need new and sufficient funding, as well as a solid commitment of technical and logistical resources to raise the health, education and employment opportunities of would-be terrorists ranks wherever they may be. We are now paying former insurgents to police the streets of Iraq to prevent them from killing U.S. soldiers occupying their country. The same tactic will be just as important in every sector (health, education, judicial, etc.) globally.

As other terrorist experts have said, al Qaeda harbors within itself the seeds of its own destruction. We can fertilize those seeds by following Mr. Finel´s initial suggestion along with the launch of a new global Marshall Plan as outlined in House Resolution 1078.

We helped stopped the spread of communism in Europe after World War II with a bold aid initiative. Europe is now beyond war as a strategic tool for solving its problems. Applying a similar strategy to the world in this era of global interdependence will also address a variety of other threats we face, including pandemics which may be far more dangerous than a dying breed of jihadists.


Rockville, MD

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