Tags: Defeat | Terrorism | Will | Require | Precise | and | Sustained

Defeat of Terrorism Will Require Precise and Sustained Action

Tuesday, 18 September 2001 12:00 AM

The members of NATO have rightly rallied promptly behind America. Of great interest is that, despite the fact that other members of NATO have suffered under international terrorism for decades, Article 5 (rendering an attack on any member an attack upon all members) has been invoked for the first time. This clearly binds all NATO members, but it also threatens NATO. For if any NATO members 'jump ship', as both France and Belgium already appear to be edging toward, Article 5 will thereafter be rendered suspect. And it is Article 5 that has proved key to the credibility of NATO these past 53 years.

However, this potentially mortal risk to NATO may be well worth accepting, provided it enables America and its allies to execute long-term effective action against international terrorism. Action is long overdue, but now there exist the essential ingredients of worldwide revulsion and the vital popular support for military action. In this, online TV and the Internet have played a key role.

In the Gulf battle of 1991, hundreds of pundits forecast a multitude of different plans. While they must have kept Saddam Hussein confused, none forecast the actual allied plan. However, locating and eliminating terrorists normally requires much patience and detailed planning. Time and precision are basic requirements not normally associated with mere bombing, but with highly skilled men on the ground in close contact with their targets.

As superpowers, both Britain and Russia had very difficult times in Afghanistan, with heavy casualties and little success. It is likely that any ground operations there will require the establishment of firm bases from which detailed reconnaissance (assisted both from the air and from space) and precision killing power can be launched.

President Bush must be careful not to spill any of the precious popular support he has so successfully distilled. The cup of freedom is in his hands.

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The members of NATO have rightly rallied promptly behind America. Of great interest is that, despite the fact that other members of NATO have suffered under international terrorism for decades, Article 5 (rendering an attack on any member an attack upon all members) has...
Defeat,Terrorism,Will,Require,Precise,and,Sustained,Action
311
2001-00-18
Tuesday, 18 September 2001 12:00 AM
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