The Wrong Approach

by Wilson Li | 10/26/01 5:00am

To the Editor:

Like Mr. Galemba ("More Than Words," Oct. 24), I understand and support action against the terrorist organization that is responsible for the attacks in Washington and New York. However, I am opposed to the current operation, because I believe that it will not solve our problems and may in fact exacerbate the situation. Bombing will tell us nothing about who these terrorists were and even less about who and where their operatives are within our own country. We need this more than we need burnt Afghani corpses, but we are not getting it.

I was cautiously encouraged in the days before the bombings when I heard President Bush talk about a secret, prolonged war that we would wage against the terrorists. However, we are apparently not taking this approach. A covert war is what we need; this is the method that will produce results and avert future disasters. We should be making alliances with countries that have intelligence networks inside Afghanistan, such as Russia and China, and taking advantage of those networks. We should try to learn how they communicate, acquire resources and recruit followers. If we have this information -- and nothing tells me that we do -- we can excise entire terrorist networks from our society by covert means.

Instead, by bombing, we may sever the head of the group, but there are still undamaged limbs that can do a lot of damage. Furthermore, we cannot even make sure that we will have killed all of the leaders of al-Qaeda. As bin Laden himself proclaimed, even if he is killed, other lesser bin Ladens will spring up elsewhere.

I am angry that President Bush would take such a callous and unthoughtful approach, and I am even more angry that Americans are accepting it. I don't have to be a pacifist to oppose the war.

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