Bush's war on terrorism must have a second front
President Bush remains firm in his declaration that the United States will go after international terrorists and their sponsors wherever they may exist. That unfaltering stand has endeared him to the American people.
But Bush must know that fighting terrorism isn't the same as eliminating it. While one can be accomplished with bullets, the other requires the use of this nation's vast resources to eliminate the root causes of terrorism, especially poverty and disease.
Indeed, the president's point man on foreign policy, Secretary of State Colin Powell, talks in terms of putting "hope back in the hearts of people," while another influential leader, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, likens the world to a crowded boat.
"None of us, I suggest, can afford to ignore the condition of our fellow passengers on this little boat," Annan told participants at the World Economic Forum in New York City. The forum began Thursday and ended Monday. "If they are sick, all of us risk infection. And if they are angry, all of us can easily get hurt."
This message of opening a second front in the war on terrorism was also heard from such prominent American business leaders as Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates, who said, "People who feel the world is tilted against them will spawn the kind of hatred that is very dangerous for all of us."
Military might: As the lone superpower in the world, the United States has the ability to make its military might felt anywhere it chooses. The success of the Afghanistan campaign, in which the pro-terrorist Taliban government was crushed by America's iron fist, stands as a clear warning to other nations that play host to global terrorist organizations, especially Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaida network.
Sept. 11, 2001, will forever be a rallying cry for President Bush and his successors in the fight against terrorism, but bloodshed alone won't guarantee our safety. It would simply serve to confirm what many around the world now believe, that the United States has little interest in addressing such deep-rooted global problems as poverty, disease and women's rights.
To his credit, President Bush seems to recognize that it is not enough to bomb a country such as Afghanistan back to the stone age and that the United States has an obligation to actively participate in the rebuilding effort.
The world is waiting for the promises of financial assistance and other aid made by the United States and its partners in the war in Afghanistan to be kept. Therefore, humanitarian efforts to rebuild the shattered country must not be derailed. There is too much at stake.