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Voyageur's Best Features of 2006

New York

The danger of negotiation
Terrorists cannot be talked out of attacking us
by Nickole Caspersen |  September 19, 2006

On the fifth anniversary of the last successful terrorist attack on this country, ABC aired a movie, The Path to 9/11, which showed the events leading up to 9/11, starting with the World Trade Center bombing in 1993. The movie, which was shown in two parts, the first on Monday night with the conclusion on Tuesday night, was disturbing to watch. First and most obviously, it was disturbing because it painted a very clear picture of everything that could have been done to prevent the attacks and save nearly 3,000 lives. Second, it provided a window to the mindset of those who wish to kill us.

There were two scenes in particular that caught my attention: a shot of then-president Clinton being lynched and burned in effigy and another of terrorists repeatedly shooting a projected image of Clinton in the face. Now, I am no fan of former President Clinton or the actions of his administration while in office, but watching his simulated death was upsetting. Those scenes showed the barbarity of our enemy, something too many are content to ignore.

In America if we donít like the way things are being run, there are courses of action for us to take: We can oust a bunch of senators in the next election. We can debate and discuss the issues in an effort to get others to see them our way. We can send money to lobbyist groups who support our views. In the global arena if countries have policies we donít like, we can do things like suspend trade with them. If in the terrible event we are forced into war, our targets are military, not civilian, targets. My point is there are civilized ways to bring about change, and we utilize them.

Right now there seems to be restlessness among Americans regarding the War on Terror, particularly the Iraq front. The media buzz line is diplomacy, diplomacy, diplomacy; things arenít going as well as weíd hoped, so itís time to negotiate. It sounds nice, and it sounds warm and fuzzy, but it is dangerous.

People who keep calling for negotiation seem to believe that the terrorists follow the same civilized rules we do, but they donít. Their methods of bringing about change are death and destruction. They fly planes into buildings, kidnap and behead reporters, use the children they havenít strapped bombs to as human shields. If given the chance, they would lynch and burn the president. They do the most sensational things they can think of to instill as much fear as possible. That is why they are called terrorists.

Watching the news every night we are given the impression if we just use more diplomacy, we will be safer. If we reach out and appease our enemy, they will see we are being nice to them, and they wonít want to kill us anymore. It is not true. If we negotiate with the terrorists and then blindly trust them to leave us alone because we are leaving them alone, we will be retreading the path to 9/11.

This article first appeared in the September 19 issue of the Voyageur Press.