Military Strength Alone Will Not Defeat Terrorism

President Bush still doesn’t get it.  The threats from radical Islamic groups that our nation faces are real, but we can’t confront them with the same tired strategies of the past.  As we have learned in Iraq, military strength alone will not defeat a global threat such as terrorism, which is nation-less, decentralized and fighting for the hearts and minds of people in every corner of the globe.  We need more than increased military strength - we need an increase in the power of our ideals, stronger credibility abroad, and a return to a balanced foreign policy that stresses diplomacy instead of ‘preemptive attacks.’  In short, we need a return to the kind of global diplomacy, which not only won the Cold War, but had made our country respected and admired throughout the world.

Unfortunately President Bush has decided to take the easy way out.  Faced with a war in Iraq that he has finally acknowledged we are not winning, he thinks the solution lies in increasing the size of the military, as if just flicking a switch will solve our problems.  The occupation of Iraq will not be won by increasing the number of troops, as an occupation by its very definition cannot be won.  In order to strengthen our country’s own national security, and prevent even further bloodshed in Iraq, we must face the cold hard facts on the ground, and bring our troops home where they belong.

The billions of dollars a year that any increase in the sized of our Armed Forces would cost would be better spent increasing our foreign aid to impoverished nations, or securing loose radioactive material throughout the former Soviet States, or increasing the opportunity for cross-cultural exchanges between our children and their counterparts abroad.  We are fighting a war of ideals, a war that is fought in the hearts and minds of people throughout the world, not on some battlefield against a standing army.  These are new times, and President Bush must recognize that there are smarter ways to make our nation secure.

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