Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Feb. 9: Fighting Terrorism Isn't Just a Military Issue

By Sylvia Gurinsky

The so-called War on Terrorism was never going to be a "typical" war. It can't be, because of the nature of the targets.

It cannot be fought militarily, at least in the sense that wars had been fought until the last half of the 20th century. The reason? Civilians in free nations and their lifestyles are the targets.

We already know from Israel's experience that military campaigns haven't wiped out Hamas or Hezbollah, or their efforts to kill - and Israel is better at fighting terrorism than most.

We also know that U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan didn't thwart the Nigerian man who attempted to blow up a plane to Detroit on Christmas Day. Other passengers on that plane prevented a catastrophe there.

So it's naive for members of Congress or other politicians to believe simply that terrorists should be tried only by a military tribunal, or that the campaign to eradicate them should only be military.

Eight and a half years after 9/11, the world - and certainly the United States - still hasn't figured out that this unconventional war requires unconventional tactics.

Perhaps President Barack Obama and Congress can come up with the first one by creating a "terrorism court," combining military tribunals and the civilian court system. It would be a better solution than the game of "trial tag" that's going on now.

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