NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Toppling Terrorist Regimes

October 4, 2001

President Bush has laid out the strategy for waging the long, patient and difficult struggle against both those who attacked us so brutally on September 11 and those who support global terrorism, says Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., a senior Defense Department official in the Reagan administration.

In his address to a Joint Session of Congress, Bush said:

"From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.... We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism."

Without the support of entrenched, tyrannical regimes, terrorist networks would function, if at all, only at far greater risk of detection, interception and preemptive action before they are able to launch their deadly attacks.

In order to be successful in the fight against international terrorism, the U.S. must be prepared to topple hostile regimes, says Gaffney, and this requires:

  • A clear and unequivocal commitment to act against regimes that sponsor terrorism.
  • A concerted effort to delegitimize the ruling cliques of terrorist states -- as President Reagan did by identifying the Soviet Union as the "Evil Empire."
  • An effective use of economic measures that weaken the ruling elite, and wherever possible empower the opposition.
  • And military action -- including arming freedom fighters, and where appropriate taking more direct military action.

Bringing about the downfall of even one terrorist state might cause a ripple effect elsewhere in the fraternity of terrorist-sponsoring states.

Source: Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. (president, Center for Security Policy), "Waging the New War on Terrorism," Brief Analysis No. 374, October 4, 2001, NCPA.

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