The White House, in support of the president's latest speeches on the war, has just released a new National Security Strategy document. It reaffirms preemptive action and - still - relies on the spread of democracy to be the endgame of the war against terrorists and terrorist nations. Here's a few excerpts:
"While the War on Terror is a battle of ideas, it is not a battle of religions. The transnational terrorists confronting us today exploit the proud religion of Islam to serve a violent political vision: the establishment, by terrorism and subversion, of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom. These terrorists distort the idea of jihad into a call for murder against those they regard as apostates or unbelievers – including Christians, Jews, Hindus, other religious traditions, and all Muslims who disagree with them. Indeed, most of the terrorist attacks since September 11 have occurred in Muslim countries – and most of the victims have been Muslims…
"The strategy to counter the lies behind the terrorists’ ideology is to empower the very people the terrorists most want to exploit: the faithful followers of Islam. We will continue to support political reforms that empower peaceful Muslims to practice and interpret their faith. The most vital work will be done within the Islamic world itself, and
"The advance of freedom and human dignity through democracy is the long-term solution to the transnational terrorism of today. To create the space and time for that long-term solution to take root, there are four steps we will take in the short term.
- Prevent attacks by terrorist networks before they occur. A government has no higher obligation than to protect the lives and livelihoods of its citizens. The hard core of the terrorists cannot be deterred or reformed; they must be tracked down, killed, or captured. They must be cut off from the network of individuals and institutions on which they depend for support. That network must in turn be deterred, disrupted, and disabled by using a broad range of tools.
- Deny WMD to rogue states and to terrorist allies who would use them without hesitation. Terrorists have a perverse moral code that glorifies deliberately targeting innocent civilians. Terrorists try to inflict as many casualties as possible and seek WMD to this end. Denying terrorists WMD will require new tools and new international approaches. We are working with partner nations to improve security at vulnerable nuclear sites worldwide and bolster the ability of states to detect, disrupt, and respond to terrorist activity involving WMD.
- Deny terrorist groups the support and sanctuary of rogue states. The
United States/>/> and its allies in the War on Terror make no distinction between those who commit acts of terror and those who support and harbor them, because they are equally guilty of murder. Any government that chooses to be an ally of terror, such as Syria/>/> or Iran/>/>, has chosen to be an enemy of freedom, justice, and peace. The world must hold those regimes to account.
- Deny the terrorists control of any nation that they would use as a base and launching pad for terror. The terrorists’ goal is to overthrow a rising democracy; claim a strategic country as a haven for terror; destabilize the
Middle East/>; and strike America/>/> and other free nations with ever-increasing violence. This we can never allow. This is why success in Afghanistan/>/> and Iraq/>/> is vital, and why we must prevent terrorists from exploiting ungoverned areas."
But do we really mean it? Will we strike at terrorist sanctuaries in Syria and Iran? Will we demand that Islamic leaders condemn the terrorist ideology? Stay tuned.
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