Pace: World Recognizes Terrorist Threat, Need for Cooperation
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 5, 2006 Talks at a weekend security summit in Singapore moved beyond questioning if terrorism is a threat to discussing how to counter it - a sign that nations are ready to work together, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today.
Marine Gen. Peter Pace said at a news conference that he was struck by how nations have progressed in coming to terms with the terrorism issue.
Gone appear to be the days when people debated whether terrorism is a threat, Pace told reporters during his visit here to discuss U.S.-Indo defense cooperation. The stop followed the chairman's attendance at the Asia Security Conference, known as the "Shangri-La Dialogue."
"It seems to me that the world community has acknowledged that terrorism is a threat" and the fact that extremist groups in various parts of the world "seek to dominate through fear and murder and subjugation," he said. Countering these enemies requires an understanding of who they are and how they operate, the chairman said.
"Terrorists truly know no state boundaries. They don't play by any rules. They can lie, and do lie," he said. No single nation can fight this threat alone, Pace said, emphasizing the need for cooperation and information-sharing. "We need to find a way, as the international community, to share ideas, to share intelligence, to work together," he said.
International cooperation will help ensure that national boundaries don't allow terrorists to slip back and forth to their advantage while hindering efforts to stop them, Pace told reporters.
But achieving this will take "a great deal of work," he acknowledged. "We have probably decades of work to do amongst nations to reduce the threat of terrorism below a level at which all of our societies can function."
Pace equated terrorism to crime - something he said can be controlled but probably never completely eliminated. "All major cities have crime, but the police forces keep the crime rate below the level at which the normal population can live and work and prosper," he said. "And that is really, I believe, the end state for the war on terrorism."
Pace reiterated the need for nations to pull together to achieve this end state. By doing so, they will ensure "we are able to keep the global incidence of terrorism below a level at which free, elected governments can provide the proper governance and the proper kinds of support to the populations of their countries that we expect of ourselves and of our institutions," he said.