Wins And Losses Against Al Qaeda What Is The Score?
A section of this article on the "War On Terrorism" is reproduced from Toronto Star columnist, Linda McQuaiq:
"It's long been forgotten, but in the weeks immediately following 9/11, the Taliban government in Afghanistan actually offered to hand over bin Laden if the U.S. provided proof of his involvement in the terrorist attacks.
Washington instantly rejected the offer. What right did that primeval, two-bit country have to demand proof from America?
But the Taliban had a point, as Michael Mandel, an Osgoode Hall law professor, points out in a provocative new book, "How America Gets Away With Murder". Mandel notes that the Taliban's request for evidence was simply standard practice that any nation would follow when asked to extradite a criminal to another country. Oddly, then, it was the primitive leaders of the Taliban who, in this case at least, were following the rule of law.
Mandel also insists that the U.S. had an obligation under international law to seek a non-military solution. And the Taliban, for all its well-known defects, was keen to negotiate.
By the following month, with U.S. bombs falling on them, the Taliban leaders even dropped their demand for proof of bin Laden's guilt, and offered again to hand him over -- for trial in a country other than the United States. Clearly, the U.S. could have negotiated whatever terms it wanted.
But again Washington flatly rebuffed the offer, and all hopes of a non-violent solution.
Instead, the U.S. decided to go get bin Laden itself, launching a war that killed thousands of Afghans, including civilians who simply happened to be in the wrong place or be the wrong height. Mandel argues that this was illegal under international law. "(O)ne is not allowed to invade a country to effect an arrest."
And, of course, the U.S. failed to get bin Laden. Which brings us back to the question of whether following international law would have been such a bad option.
Of course, it's possible that the treacherous Taliban would never have surrendered bin Laden. On the other hand, maybe it would have. If so, the world's most apparently dangerous terrorist might have been behind bars and out of commission these past three years. Such an approach would have also sent a message that the U.S. respects international law, which, ironically, would have undermined Al Qaeda's recruitment efforts.
Nothing would dampen Al Qaeda's campaign to turn the Islamic world against America more than an American government that not only preached democracy and the rule of law, but was also seen to practise these things."
In the realm of power politics, threat of force can often be more successful than the actual force itself.(e.g. When JFK threatened Krushchev with nuclear annilation during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, he started pulling missiles out of Cuba. Similarly, when threatened with coalition forces from 1995-2002, Saddam Hussein dismantled his weapons of mass destruction.)
It isn't enough to engage in anti-terrorist rhetoric and platitudes about democracy. One has to actually succeed against the enemy(Al Qaeda).
You fight terrorists smart and you win. You fight stupid and you lose.
The Cuban Missile Crisis
Posted by qualteam
at 10:30 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 19 September 2004 10:55 PM EDT