Terror War Requires Partnership, New Look at Strategy
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
ANKARA, Turkey, Mar. 24, 2006 The war on terrorism is a partnership that will require all elements of international power and the patience of populations, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today.
"There is no nation so large that it can do it all by itself," Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace said to a crowd representing 34 nations at the Global Terrorism and International Cooperation Symposium. "And there is no nation that is so small that it cannot have strategic impact and participate in a very meaningful way."
Good governance, economic development, and education are more important in ultimately choking off terrorism than military might, Pace said at the symposium, which is sponsored by the Turkish General Staff. There is a role for the military in providing security, but economic programs that create jobs will be the long-term solution to terrorism, he said. "Once we have security in place, the other elements of national power will be the keys to the long-term victory in the war on terror," he said.
"Governments that represent all their people and provide for all their peoples basic needs are fundamental to winning the war on terror," he added.
"Good education systems that do not teach hate, but tolerance of various religions, ideas and principles" will also help defeat terrorism, Pace said. "How can any country reach its full potential if it does not include various sectors of its people, whether it be for religious purposes, or color of skin or for any other reason, like gender?" he said.
But these are the long-term goals. In the short run, militaries around the world are going to have to take on terrorist cells, Pace said. "Iraq and Afghanistan will, over time, become stable countries and join the community of nations," he said. "The war on terror will continue long after Iraq and Afghanistan have had success in standing up their own governments."
Pace said old ideas about war are not going to help in the war on terror. The United States once felt safe behind the barriers of two large oceans. In the new global war, small groups of terrorists can launch incredibly destructive attacks. Ideas cross international boundaries and oceans with ease.
Time is a unique commodity in this war, Pace said. "At the tactical level we must have speed of action, but at the strategic level we must have patience," he said. "We are talking about years and years to come of vigilance for all free nations."
Pace said people must understand "that today's tactical victory does not guarantee tomorrow's strategic success." The enemy has a long-term goal that goes out 100 years. Free nations must not repeat a mistake that led to World War II -- ignoring the strategy Adolf Hitler outlined in "Mein Kampf." Terror groups also have laid out their plans, and free nations must not discount what they say they intend to do, Pace said.
Sovereignty is another issue that has changed in this war. "How do we fight an enemy inside of nations with whom we are not at war," he asked. National boundaries are irrelevant to terrorists. Nations of the world are going to have to figure out how to respect sovereignty yet still attack threats, Pace said.
"Truth is a weapon," Pace said. Free nations will use truth to explain policies and strategies. The enemy will use lies to distort truth and build an alternative reality, he said.
"The problem is, with the Internet and 24-hour news coverage, our enemies can tell lies that rapidly circle the globe well before (governments) have the opportunity to get their story onto the Net," he said.
The chairman said free nations must combat fear the enemy seeks to sow. He said fear is a short-term advantage to the enemy that could become a long-term problem for free nations "if we do not come to the aid of those who need it."
Freethinking people understand that the enemy is actively sowing fear, Pace said. And people will stand up against the tactic, but sometimes need help to do so.
Pace noted the nations represented at the symposium do not necessarily all see the terror threat in the same way. "That is not a bad thing," he said. "Diversity in populations ... is a healthy thing for our countries. What is important ... is that we share what we believe ourselves and that we listen to others, and that we find the common threads to allow us to work together for the benefit of our countries."