Terrorism didn’t start on September 11, 2001. For the past 25 years, terrorists have blown up commercial airplanes, blown up buildings, committed massacres of innocent civilians and tried to destroy a World Trade Tower in 1993.
Terrorists don’t operate in a political vacuum. They get training, support, financing and encouragement from long time terrorist states like Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, sections of northern Pakistan and even “pro-western” Saudia Arabia. These terrorist states and radical elements in some “pro western” Arab countries have been playing a deadly game of cat and mouse with western democracies for 25 years. With the exception of Reagan’s attacks on Libya in 1986, terrorists states have never been fearful of reprisals. Therefore, terrorists states were not inclined to change their behavior and the games continued.
The attacks on New York and Washington on 9/11 changed all that. The US could no longer afford to try to avoid attacks any longer. We had to go after the enemy and kill them. Destroying the Taliban in Afghanistan was a good first step, but didn’t hurt the perennial terrorist states.
The invasion of Iraq and capture of Saddam Hussein was a frontal assault on international terrorism. All of sudden, the leaders of these terrorist states realized they could end up like Saddam. The game of international terrorism isn’t fun any more. Now there are serious consequences for supporting terrorism. Iraq - for now at least - is now out of the international terrorism game.
Sanctions did not get Khaddafi of Libya to suddenly decide to get rid of his weapons of mass destruction. The invasion of Iraq and Saddam sitting in a jail cell was the motivation Khaddafi needed to see the light.
Unfortunately, the war in Iraq was not fought to win. Bush allowed Iran to create and arm the rebels in Iraq and lately in Afghanistan without any consequences.
The war on terror can NOT be won until we do two things:
The first is to deal decisively with Iran. We have the ability to destroy the high level officials of the government of Iran. Executing the head of the snake with precision strikes is certainly preferable to a ground invasion or a full scale bombing campaign against Iran.
The second is to win the public relations war. We already broadcast into Iran and it is having an effect. We need 24 hr. a day transmissions into Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. We need to continue and look for better ways to reach these people.