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March 07, 1986 - Image 43

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-03-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

TERRORISTS

"by having people in the field, out there.
tracking things down, uncovering informa-
tion."
But, says Michael Leden, that's not
something the United States can do on its
own. We need the help of our West Euro-
pean allies. Leden, a senior fellow at the
Georgetown University Center for Stra-
tegic and International Studies, says the
problem is that "countries are like people.
They try to ignore things as long as it's
happening mostly to others."
European governments, adds Cohen, are
afraid they'll lose business if they join the
U.S. in fighting terrorism. "They're afraid
they'll make the Arabs mad," he says. "It
reminds me of the story about the guy who
was being kicked in the head but didn't
say anything because he was afraid he'd
make the kicker mad. They're already do-
ing all they can right now. We need to stop
them from doing more."
But stopping them means more tlian
taking steps to prevent terrorist incidents
from occurring. It also means, says Cohen,
retaliating for incidents that do occur.
Doing that, and knowing what and how to
do it, is the hard part, all agree. Which is
why there has been a lot more talk about
retaliation than there has been action.
"We're not eager to pay the price," says
Quandt.. "Words are cheap, action is con-
troversial and messy." "We're afraid,"
says Podhoretz, "that retaliation will
cause civilian casualties, will upset our
allies, trigger protests, cost us the support
of our supposed friends in the Arab

world." There is concern, too, says Cohen,
that to fight terrorism we have to adopt
terrorist tactics.
But, Leden says, those problems must
be overcome because "the only thing ter-
rorists pay attention to is action. They
haven't paid the price until now, so why
shouldn't they do their thing. If they were
dealt a real blow, it is much less likely they
would continue."
And such a blow is possible, Leden says.
"We know a lot more than we say we
know. We can go after individual terrorists
and terrorist leaders without either bomb-
ing massive targets or doing nothing."
"If we've gotten to where we are in a
position to identify theperpetrators of ter-
rorist acts, if we know who they are and
where they are, we must not be squeam-
ish," says former Undersecretary of State
Joseph Sisco. "We must be ready to use
forceful measures. Diplomacy without
force is not enough. It's empty, it won't
work. We must combine power and
diplomacy. We can't be indiscriminate and
hurt innocent victims, but we can no
longer afford to stand by while anti-peace
acts are perpetrated without retribution.
• If we don't do that and if we are afraid we
have no way of deterring this kind of thing
from happening again and again."
"It's gotta cost 'em," says Cohen blunt-
ly. "Right now, they get a great return on
their investment. In 60 percent of the ter-
rorist acts, all or some of the terrorists'
demands are met. Eighty peicent of ter-
rorists escape death or capture. And there

is a 100 percent chance of world publici-
ty. It's a very good business. We need to
do what we can to make it a lousy return
on investment, to make their own cost-
benefit analysis show them that it won't
pay off."
To start, Cohen advocates "tracking
down the people responsible for the TWA
incident, grabbing them and putting them
on trial here. We should also put a price
on the heads of the guys who killed Kling-
hoffer; send operatives in there and get
'em. We would feel good and it would de-
crease terrorism."
Zonis, however, says that while military
action might sometimes be called for,
that's more the exception than the rule.
There are, he says, other ways to strike
back. "We must keep the perspective that
we are at war. And so we have to fight in
all ways we can and the most effective
ways we can." Which usually means, he
says, economic and political retaliation.
"We must tell the key regimes that
assist terrorism that we know what
. they're doing and that we hold them ac-
countable," says Netanyahu. "The mere
act of openly condemning them is very
powerful. We must recognize that this is
a war against the West and so we must
choose the ways and means that are most
effective to combat it. There are political
means that can be employed from sever-
ing diplomatic relations to recalling an am-
bassador. And there are economic means
from boycotts to embargos to withdrawal
of loading rights and docking rights. And
the military option must not be ruled out.
The point is that dealing with terrorists is
not a one-shot deal."
The point also is to aim the shots at the
right target. "In a gang war, we don't
think the only one responsible is the peon
that committed the crime. The issue is not
the peon, but the godfather. With terror-
ism, the issue is not the trigger man, not
the individual terrorist, but the state that
assists him."
We have to remember who we're dealing
with and deal with them accordingly, says
Cohen. "Terrorists don't have the same
mentality as you and me. There is a strong
American norm that if you're nice to peo-
ple they will be nice to you. But these ter-
rorist states see decency as weakness,
courtesy as vulnerability, they don't
understand nice. If you're nice,, they're
mean. If you're nicer, they're meaner."
Which is why to beat terrorism, says
Zonis, we have to show those committing
it in all ways possible and in ways they will
understand, that terrorism simply doesn't
pay. "People expect and are entitled to a
life of minimum threat to their physical
and psychic well-being. At this moment in
world history, terrorism pays and so is a
serious threat to all of us.
"I don't know how long this moment will
last. We can only hope it won't go on
forever."

;4,

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