The U.S. air strikes against targets inside Afghanistan are the
beginning of the military phase of the campaign against global
terrorism. The air strikes inside Afghanistan may continue for
days, and military operations to assist rebel forces against the
Taliban regime and to find and destroy Bin Laden's network will
undoubtedly continue for a long time after that. While success of
the military operations inside Afghanistan will be difficult-and
success is by no means guaranteed-these operations will not be as
arduous as what must happen next. We need to look beyond
Afghanistan and to begin thinking about the next phase of the war
against global terrorism. As has been said repeatedly by the
President and his team, this war cannot be won by merely destroying
Bin Laden or the Taliban regime.
Indeed to bring complete victory, we need to finish the job in
Afghanistan as soon as possible--ensuring in the process that
terrorism does not return to that country-and then move on to the
next phase of going after the entire international network of
global terrorism, including the states that harbor terrorists.
To achieve these goals, our next steps should be:
A pledge of humanitarian aid and
other material and diplomatic support to any regime in Afghanistan
that forswears terrorism, respects the human rights of its people,
and agrees to live in peace with its neighbors.
Efforts are already underway to rally internal Afghan support
around the former Afghan King. Some Americans want the U.S. to
throw its political support behind the Northern Alliance. We should
be careful in both instances. The U.S. should do all it can
militarily to assist any rebel group in the overthrow of the
Taliban regime, but it should not throw its political or diplomatic
support at this juncture behind any single rebel group, commander
or political leader, including the former Afghan King. Instead, we
should try to help establish a coalition government that will enjoy
widespread political support. Once this government is established,
we should give it all the help it needs to sustain itself. We
should consider establishing some international oversight authority
inside Afghanistan under the auspices of the United Nations, not
only to ensure the integrity of channels for international relief
efforts but also to monitor and support the new government.
Establish a strategy of
"sequencing" the war against terrorism.
President Bush has said many times that we will go after not only
the terrorists but also those who harbor them. Clearly countries
other than Afghanistan harbor terrorists. We cannot eliminate the
safe havens of international terrorists in all states at the same
time. Indeed we should look at the war against international
terrorism as a series of phases in which we take on one big problem
at a time, using as Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld calls, "revolving
coalitions" to meet our objectives.
Couple the issue of international
terrorism and rogue states acquiring weapons of mass
In deciding the sequence of action against terrorist-supporting
states, we should start with those that are developing weapons of
mass destruction (WMD). Terrorism and WMD are a very deadly
combination. We should consider any terrorist-supporting country
with WMD as posing an unacceptable risk for the security of the
United States. At the top of this list is Iraq, which most experts
believe is still trying to acquire nuclear weapons. A nuclear-armed
Iraq would be a sanctuary not only for Saddam Hussein's evil deeds
but any terrorist he may wish to harbor. Any WMD Saddam may develop
could either be used directly by him or any terrorist he may wish
to support. We should be flexible and imaginative in the means and
timetable we use to remove Saddam from power, but we cannot be
completely safe from terrorism so long as he controls Iraq.
Begin the diplomatic preparations
for a campaign to remove Saddam Hussein from power.
The President needs to make the case that the world could never be
safe from international terrorism if Saddam Hussein develops
weapons of mass destruction. He should begin an educational
campaign showing the consequences of Saddam's acquisition of
nuclear weapons for world peace and stability. At the appropriate
time, he should begin consultations with key allies in Europe and
the Gulf in arranging their support for a campaign to remove Saddam
from power. At the same time, work should begin supporting
opposition groups that could take over power after Saddam is
removed from power. Our policy should be to use any means necessary
to remove Saddam from power and create a new government in Baghdad
that respects the human rights of its own people, and does not
threaten the U.S. or the world with weapons of mass
Begin preparing the ground for the
final phase of the campaign against global terrorism.
The last phase in this sequence-after the Afghan/Bin Laden and
Iraq operations are nearly complete--is to put other
terrorist-supporting states on notice that they will not escape
America's wrath if they continue to support international
terrorism. Any terrorist-supporting country that takes immediate
concrete and effective steps to stop aiding and abetting
terrorists-empty declarations will not do--may be given some time
to prove that its reformation is irreversible. But our patience
will not be endless; after a reasonable period of time, if we are
not convinced that the regime is serious about eliminating
terrorism, we will reserve the right to take any action necessary
to stop their support for terrorism.
We should be confident that decisive and successful action by
the United States against Bin Laden, the Taliban and Saddam Hussein
would make a very strong point about the seriousness of U.S.
resolve and determination. Such action should make any further U.S.
statements against other states harboring terrorists all the more
credible. The goal of U.S. policy should be to show countries like
Iran, Syria, Sudan and Libya that support for terrorism is not only
unproductive and unprofitable, but even potentially dangerous.
America need not promise to attack every country supporting
terrorism to put them on notice. There are many ways other than
force the U.S. can use to help isolate, pressure and even overthrow
regimes that continue to support terrorism. But the use of military
force should not be ruled out.