Calling for more
Our security, both now and in the future,
will take more than bombs and troops
By Tony Staley
America and our western allies must do more than drop bombs and send ground forces into Afghanistan to defeat Osama bin Laden and Muslim terrorists.
SojoMail (10/25) offered some solid proposals in columns by David Batstone, executive editor, and John le Carré, the author of 18 novels, who formerly served in the British Foreign Service. (SojoMail is an e-mail publication of SojoNet, the publisher of Sojourners magazine. Free subscriptions are available by e-mail at [email protected] or on the web at http://www.sojo.net/sojomail/index.cfm.)
Batstone warned that "we can never eradicate every budding terrorist cell. But we can confront the culture of poverty and corruption that breeds terrorism" by embarking "on a major campaign to win over the hearts and minds of the Muslim world."
It would include taking a firm stance "for justice in the conflict that is tearing Israel and Palestine apart" and implementing major campaigns for economic development in impoverished Arab countries, including literacy, health care and nutrition efforts that would contrast the West and terrorists.
Batstone advocates a major media effort to turn the Muslim world against bin Laden, al Qaeda, and fundamentalist terrorism. He suggests hiring a Muslim journalist to do several in-depth personal-interest stories on the many Muslims who died in the 9-11 attacks for broadcast on CNN International and Al Jazeera.
He also says we "should give a microphone to every Muslim who promulgates the wisdom of Islam as a way of peaceful living, exposing the path of al Qaeda as a perversion of their religion, a path of heresy. Finally, we should isolate the Taliban and other radical fundamentalists in the Muslim world by featuring their horrific treatment of women, their totalitarian laws, and disregard for human life."
The column by le Carré first appeared in the Toronto Globe and Mail (10/13). He says after the war we need to send to Afghanistan the Peace Corps, Britain's Voluntary Service Overseas and their European equivalents, as well as people of vision who can structure a just society. Otherwise, we will assuredly deliver the country and the West to the next group of zealots.
These times call for bold measures, both for now and the future.