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The War On Terror Just Won’t Go Away

April 27, 2009

The War On Terror Just Won’t Go Away

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Friday, April 24, 2009

Fighting Terror: It’s a very real threat when people who are our sworn enemies suddenly begin capturing territory at the expense of our allies. And today, that’s exactly what’s happening in Pakistan.

“Taliban Militants Stay In Control Near Pakistan Capital.” That headline should send a chill through you.

Because it means the forces of medieval darkness and terror in Afghanistan and Pakistan are gaining ground — and are perhaps just one leap away from capturing Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, and its nuclear arsenal.

Pakistan’s government made the big mistake a week and a half ago of agreeing to let Taliban-linked groups in the North-West Frontier Province enforce Sharia, or Islamic law, in the Swat Valley.

Since then, the Taliban and its radical affiliates have begun infiltrating members into surrounding areas, especially the Buner Valley — just 60 miles from Islamabad. They smell weakness on the part of the Pakistani regime, and are going to push until they’re stopped.

At this rate, if unchecked, they’ll control Pakistan by year-end — not to mention the Pakistani government’s 24 to 55 nuclear weapons.

We’re glad to see this isn’t going unnoticed.

“Pakistan poses a mortal threat to the security and safety of our country and the world,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last Wednesday, in blunt remarks that took some by surprise.

This, surely, is the “test” that Vice President Joseph Biden warned that President Obama would face early in his presidency.

Now, the question is, recognizing the problem, what do we do?

The answer’s unclear. True, Obama has sent 17,000 added troops to Afghanistan. And pressuring the Pakistani government to “do more” will at least put the heat on it to take the Taliban seriously.

But what concerns us is this administration’s failure to recognize, as the previous administration did, that this isn’t only about Pakistan; it’s about Islamic extremism, a worldwide movement whose ultimate goal is to weaken, subvert, defeat and replace a demoralized West.

Pakistan would be quite a prize for the extremists. As we said, that nation has nuclear weapons

It lies adjacent to India, Pakistan’s most bitter enemy, one of our best allies and the world’s largest democracy.

We agree with Clinton that this is a mortal threat. We wonder, though, how we can defeat our enemies if we can’t even bring ourselves to call them terrorists. How we can win the global war on terror when we downgrade it rhetorically to merely an “overseas contingency operation”?

And how can we defeat them if we’re on the verge of revealing dozens of photographs that purport to show U.S. military personnel mistreating captives in Afghanistan?

Surely, that will inflame Muslims in Afghanistan and Pakistan, making the job of our military now engaged in a life-or-death struggle for Afghanistan with the Taliban all the more difficult.

It will end up costing American lives. And for what? To score a few cheap political points against former President Bush’s policy of pursuing terrorists to the hilt?

The problem is, the only reason Pakistan’s government made a deal with the Taliban in the first place is, frankly, it doubts the bona fides of the Obama administration when it comes to fighting terrorism.

Better to cut a deal with the renegades and hope for mercy later than to have the U.S. sit and do nothing to aid a vital ally, as we did when the shah of Iran fell in 1979.

Worse, if we and Pakistan’s feckless government allow a Taliban takeover, how seriously will Iran take our protestations as it marches toward its own nuclear answer to the West?

Last week, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair called on the world to defeat Islamic extremists, calling them as big a threat as communism was in the 20th century.

“Our job is simple,” Blair said. “It is to support and partner those Muslims who believe deeply in Islam, but also who believe in peaceful co-existence, in taking on and defeating extremists who don’t.”

We agree. But it will take more than pressuring the locals and their governments to do the job.

We have a major problem in Pakistan, and no, contrary to the assertions of the Obama White House, it’s not just al-Qaida. It’s only one part of a multifaceted, international problem, as Blair rightly pointed out.

And while we show an interest in diplomacy, these foes see diplomacy as the last resort of weaklings. At the very least, we must insist that Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani reassert control over the country.

We also must recognize that the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which U.S. forces treat as something real and inviolable, is little more than fiction.

The war on terror has no borders.

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