Bomb Them With Butter, Bribe Them with Hopeby Kent Madin*
A military response, particularly an attack on Afghanistan, is exactly what the terrorists want. It will strengthen and swell their small but fanatical ranks.
Instead, bomb Afghanistan with butter, with rice, bread, clothing and medicine. It will cost less than conventional arms, poses no threat of US casualties and just might get the populace thinking that maybe the Taliban don't have the answers. After three years of drought and with starvation looming, let's offer the Afghani people the vision of a new future. One that includes full stomachs.
Bomb them with information. Video players and cassettes of world leaders, particularly Islamic leaders, condemning terrorism. Carpet the country with magazines and newspapers showing the horror of terrorism committed by their "guest". Blitz them with laptop computers and DVD players filled with a perspective that is denied them by their government. Saturation bombing with hope will mean that some of it gets through. Send so much that the Taliban can't collect and hide it all.
The Taliban are telling their people to prepare for Jihad. Instead, let's give the Afghani people their first good meal in years. Seeing your family fully fed and the prospect of stability in terms of food and a future is a powerful deterrent to martyrdom. All we ask in return is that they, as a people, agree to enter the civilized world. That includes handing over terrorists in their midst.
In responding to terrorism we need to do something different. Something unexpected... something that addresses the root of the problem. We need to take away the well of despair, ignorance and brutality from which the Osama bin Laden's of the world water their gardens of terror.
* Kent Madin and Linda Svendsen head Boojum Expeditions, a travel business. They have been active as guides, teachers and adventurers for 25 years. In 1984, as China opened up, they organized and led the first group of tourists to visit the Wolong Panda Reserve. Since 1985, when they ran the first horseback trip in Inner Mongolia, they have traveled on horseback with Tibetans, Oroqen, Kazakhs and Mongols.