In the lead-up to the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the United States began reviewing history. On August 28, US Vice President Dick Cheney spoke at the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention, and gave one of the most important speeches delivered on this subject.
Cheney talked about terrorism in his speech. Cheney argued that terrorists seek to impose a dictatorship of fear, under which every man, woman, and child is totally obedient to a narrow and hateful ideology. This ideology rejects tolerance, denies freedom of conscience, and demands that women be pushed to the margins of society. He said terrorists have made clear their ultimate ambitions: to arm themselves with chemical, biological and even nuclear weapons, to destroy Israel, to intimidate all western countries, and to cause the death of masses in the United States. They want to end all American and Western influence in the Middle East. They believe that by controlling one country, they will be able to target and overthrow other governments in the region, and ultimately establish a totalitarian empire that reaches across Spain, across North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, all the way around to Indonesia.
America needed to come up with a new strategy, said Cheney, to combat this kind of determined, organized, ruthless enemy. The new strategy has four points. The United States is absolutely determined to prevent attacks and so it must always be on the offensive against terrorists. Cheney deliberately avoided using such controversial wording as "to strike first" at this point.
Unsurprisingly, the United States is determined to deny terrorists a safe haven. Cheney explains the Bush Doctrine dictates that "any person or government that supports, protects, or harbors terrorists is complicit in the murder of the innocent, and will be held to account."
The United States is also working to halt the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and to keep those weapons out of the hands of killers. It must prevent any dangers from fully materializing. Obviously this refers to Iran and North Korea. The United States is determined to deny the terrorists control of any nation, which they would likely use as a base and staging ground for attacks on others. These are the reasons the United States continues to fight what is left of the Taliban and al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan.
In fact, Cheney's is not proposing a new strategy. He is justifying the Iraqi war, for which the US has been heavily criticized. Assessing US anti-terrorism wars over the past five years, the majority of US voters said that the war on terrorism was far from effective and that security is no better. Many people believe that the war on terror has actually helped create more terrorists. More and more people want the US to withdraw from Iraq. In the past year, the anti-war voice has dominated public opinion. Congress members who support the war on Iraq are facing defeat in the election. In fact, Cheney rarely attends such public activities. He went to defend the government's decision to launch the Iraq war and help restore the position of the Republicans before the mid-term elections.
Cheney's new anti-terrorism strategy seems justified; however, it is somewhat biased. The United States tries to enlarge the war on terror, even turning it into a crusade of sorts, a "confrontation between free and democratic Western forces and anti-freedom-and-democracy forces in the Middle East." The fundamental cause of opposition is the hegemony and partial policies that the United States has been pursuing in the region. If the United States cannot acknowledge this point, it would have difficulty getting support in the Middle East, let alone winning the war on terror.
By People's Daily Online