A combination of efforts needed to root out terrorism

Guest Column
St Petersburg Times
September 4, 2006
Newspaper Version
As Yoda would say, "Three methods to get rid of weeds there are!"

1) Pull the weeds by force, hoping their roots are not so deep that they return with a
vengeance.

2) Use a weed killer, assuming the effect will last a season and not kill the healthy grass near
the weeds.

3) Make the grass grow so healthy and hearty around the weeds that the weeds are choked.

Fighting terrorism is no different. All three ways have to be used - having a ground war to
defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan, endlessly bombing Baghdad in the beginning of the Iraq
war, and showing in Afghanistan how democracy can suppress terrorism.

Throughout the Muslim world, there seems to be a widely accepted and politically correct claim
that the London bombings are the result of the Iraq war and the Israel-Palestine conflict. They
always suggest that an East-West dialogue will solve these problems. Even if the Iraq war is
resolved to everyone's liking and Palestinians and Israelis promise to live in peace until the
end of time, the Muslim world will demand more and more from the rest of the world. The
demands will keep on coming - independence of Kashmir, Chechnya, Southern Thailand, North
Sudan, the Philippines, etc. While we are at it, partition Iraq into three countries, and we
leave them the same gift that the British left for partitioned India.

This reminds me of the Aesop fable of the "Arab and the Camel." The story goes like this. After
a long trek in the desert, an Arab sets up his tent while he ties his camel outside. The desert
nights can get cold, so the camel asks his master if he can put his neck inside. The Arab
agrees. A few moments later, he asks if he can put his hump inside the tent. The Arab agrees.
You get the picture; after awhile the camel is inside and the Arab is thrown out of his own tent.

The connection of the London terrorists to Pakistani madrasas financed by rich Muslim
countries like Saudi Arabia is a clear indication that nothing has changed to stop the preaching
of the hatred. ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence), the secret agency of Pakistan that made the
Taliban a reality, has exported terrorism to neighboring India since 1989. While the Western
world ignored terrorism, Osama bin Laden, with immense help from ISI, built a creative and
nationless terrorist network and brought fear to our front door. In spite of Pakistan's
importance as a military base for the United States in a geographic area that is close to China
and Russia, we still have to reign in Pakistan. Three assassination attempts (and counting) on
President Musharraf are little indication that he is in control. Under his watch, or lack of it, Mr.
Khan, the founder of Pakistan's nuclear weapons, sold the secrets to two-thirds of President
Bush's axis of evil - Iran and North Korea. Saddam Hussein would have been Mr. Khan's
customer, had the former not thought it was a trap.

"So behind our back tied our hands are!"

No matter what method you use to get rid of the weed, first you need to know where the
weed is. So far, we have been treating the outer edges and not the roots of the weeds. As
long as we are complacent with Saudi Arabia because of our dependence on oil and we keep
appeasing Pakistan because of its geographic importance, we will not win this war on terror.
Our only hope now is to first establish democracy in Iraq and continue the rebuilding of
Afghanistan; then anticipate that the combined democracies of India, Afghanistan and Iraq will
be the hearty grass that will choke the weeds of dictatorship and apathy in Pakistan, Iran and
Saudi Arabia.

Inshaalah (God willing)!

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