weighs options following attack
left) Professors John Norton Moore , R.K. Ramazani and Philip
D. Zelikow, Ambassadors W. Nathaniel Howell and David D.
Newsom and Col. Rick Rosen watch the posting of the colors
during the opening ceremonies of a forum on Americas
response to terrorism.
By Matt Kelly
panel of former diplomats, lawyers and academics, convened Sept.
26 in the Law Schools
Caplin Auditorium, were optimistic about Americas response
forum featured five U.Va. faculty members with particular expertise
in very relevant areas: government
and foreign affairs professor David M. Newsom, a former U.S.
ambassador and deputy secretary of state; government and foreign
affairs professor W. Nathaniel Howell, former U.S. ambassador
to Kuwait; history
professor Philip D. Zelikow, director of the Miller
Center of Public Affairs; R.K. Ramazani, Edward R. Stettinius
Jr. Professor Emeritus of Government and Foreign Affairs; and
law professor John Norton Moore, director of the Center for National
admitted Western rhetoric had raised expectations and then dashed
hopes. Many Muslims, he said, live under unpopular, authoritarian
governments, some of which the U.S. support, and it is often easier
to criticize the U.S. than their own rulers. Newsom said Western
popular culture is seducing the young of Islam.
U.S. needs to change the resentment, he said, and understand that
the complex ethnic, cultural, religious and regional differences
must be addressed through long-term, patient effort.
the former U.S. ambassador to Kuwait, noted the media has been
saturated with war talk, which can play an important educational
role, but can also skew perspective because terrorism is not the
only threat, he said.
one can remain on high for a long time, he said.
We will know we have matured when this can take its place
with the other news stories.
said while military action is a necessary arrow in our quiver,
diplomacy can accomplish a lot and the issue could return to a
law-enforcement matter. Small military forces would be needed,
warned that terrorism is different now than in the 1970s and 1980s,
when he helped negotiate with airline hijackers in Algeria. He
said they had specific, limited demands and one eye on their escape
were issues that could be discussed, Howell said. Osama
bin Laden wants us to disappear. There is nothing there to discuss.
We are in this conflict because they want it.
terrorists cannot destroy the U.S., he said; their aim is to destroy
peoples will to continue with their lives.
focused on the point when a criminal act becomes an act of war.
He laid out several criteria for an act of war: foreign enemies
had to attack the nation; they had to be part of large organized
groups or states; and their defeat is only possible with the assistance
of the military.
Laden, Zelikow said, met those standards with the distribution
of video calling on religious Muslims to kill Americans, and with
his being placed on the Federal Bureau of Investigations
10 most-wanted list after the bombings of the U.S.
embassies in Africa. Zelikow said bin Laden has thousands of armed
men harbored in scores of countries more than the FBI alone
said Americans need to understand other people and their problems,
but cautioned that not all problems are in Americans nature
or means to solve.
Ramazani said he has been trying to explain the complex subtleties
of the political, economic and psychological conditions that terrorists
use to exploit and train their foot soldiers, who kill people
in the name of Islam from bases in 60 countries.
advocates a holistic approach, bringing every available instrument
including the military against the nations
enemies, but also warned that the country should learn from the
United Nations must become involved, since the recent attack is
a threat to world peace and security, Ramazani said. He suggested
the U.N. led by the U.S. adopt a declaration of
the sanctity of life.
assured the audience that a military response to the Sept. 11
attack is legal under the U.N. charter. He said there were three
myths circulating on the Internet that any retaliation would be
illegal under the U.N. charter, or that it would require the permission
of the Security Council, or an attack on Osama bin Laden would
violate an executive order prohibiting assassinations.
said the U.N. charter would permit a military response because
there is an inherent right of self-defense against a series of
ongoing attacks. The U.S. is likely to seek U.N. Security Council
support for any action, although it is not necessary, he said.
Nor would killing bin Laden constitute an assassination, since
he ordered the attack on an American installation and thus would
be considered a combatant.
also called nonsense on stilts the contention that
the U.S. brought the attack on itself with its own actions. The
U.S has sent more than $100 million in food aid to Afghanistan,
he said, while several administrations have sought to broker a
peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and have
fought three wars in the past 10 years in defense of Muslims.
Laden and his allies want to bring the world to the Talibans
utopia, which he compared to Pol Pots Cambodia. He said
the U.S, in comparison, is the most powerful democracy in the
world, believing in the rule of law and unprecedented freedom.
agreed that the world was different after the attack, but he said
it is also different for the terrorists. He said democratic people
around the world are coming together to fight terrorism, something
that has been missing in the past.
the question period, the panel was asked if the war on terrorism
would turn into an ongoing failure, such as the wars on poverty
or drugs. Zelikow said the war would be a success if terrorism
were reduced back to the level of a crime. Moore said it was as
winnable as any other war and it should destroy terrorisms
global reach, although he predicted that there will always be
violence in the world.
questioner suggested that several of the countries the U.S. must
rely upon are not stable or democratic. Zelikow agreed that the
U.S. would be choosing allies among a number of authoritarian
regimes, but said U.S. pluralism respects their rights of self-determination.
No countries adjacent to Afghanistan share our particular
values, he said.
noted that fundamentalists are at war with moderates within Muslim
countries. He also noted that the U.S. is pursuing several coalitions
simultaneously, sharing intelligence from one country while having
a political alliance with another.
man asked about rooting out poverty after vanquishing terrorism
and how he was surprised the discussion did not include the World
Bank and International Monetary Fund.
warned that the gap between rich and poor is growing in countries
where people do not have freedom of expression or assembly, but
said the U.S. calls these regimes its friends. He said the majority
of the people in Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia have no love for
the ruling class. He said poverty is only one source of the resentment,
where there is envy for the powerful. He said these grievances
should not be brushed aside.
said studies have not been able to link poverty and war and said
the best route to prosperity is through the rule of law and human