Wednesday, September 29, 2004

A Little Terrorism Perspective Please

Read this excellent commentary for a little perspective on how other countries have defeated 'insurgency' (Terrorism for all the realists out there). Here are a few paragraphs:

More than a dozen countries (Colombia, Peru, Malaysia, the Philippines, Algeria, Egypt, etc.) have experienced similar terrorist movements in recent decades. In every case, the terrorists, having pushed the limits of brutality as far as they could, were ultimately defeated.

It took Peru almost a quarter-century to defeat and destroy the vicious Shining Path. At no time, however, did it manage to threaten the basic structures of the nation or, ultimately, to divert its process of democratization. In Colombia, an insurgency that dates back almost 40 years is now facing certain defeat. It took the British almost 12 years to defeat the so-called "insurgency" in Malaya which, despite massive support from China and the U.S.S.R., was doomed from the start.

The ultimate reason for terrorist movements' failure is the same that constitutes their raison d'etre: Individuals and groups choose terrorism because they know they cannot mobilize popular support.

The terrorist hopes to force history in his direction with the help of bombs and guns. He tries to substitute his will for the will of the people. While claiming to fight in the name of the people he is, in fact, excluding the people from the political process if only because "ordinary citizens" are not prepared to die, let alone kill, for abstract ideas.

History can provide great guidance for nations and people of those nations as long as we are able to filter out all the static and focus on facts of the whole picture. Not a single burning tank or humvee. We have to keep our eye on the prize. A free, democratic Iraq and Afghanistan is going to change the entire middle east. This is going to win the hearts and minds. It is a slow but steady process. Remember that America had to endure a bloody Revolution and Civil War to even begin to get things right. Democracy in the infancy stage is very delicate and needs our devotion and full support.