September 11 marks the fourth anniversary of the tragic terrorist attacks on the US in 2001 and also the start of the fourth year of the US-initiated "War on Terror."
Although the anti-terror war helped President George W. Bush get reelected, it itself has not achieved much progress since last year. In fact, as the US troops are increasingly bogged down in the Iraqi and Afghan quagmires and as the US people and their allies have been constantly alerted to threats of attacks from Al Qaida and other terrorist groups, the American public and intellectuals could not help but wonder what is the future of this "Anti-Terror War?"
At present, the US is suffering a rising number of casualties and facing more problems in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, the overthrown Taliban and Al Qaida are staging a comeback. Furthermore, they are now recruiting terrorists worldwide, thus making it almost impossible to forestall every terrorist attack.
In Iraq, the post-Saddam era is witnessing an increasingly worsening security situation, fierce power struggle among the political parties, and a difficult start of the reconstruction of the country.
As Michele Flournoy, an expert from the American Strategic and International Studies Center, pointed out, America's "War on Terror" has achieved some progress, but not as much as the US government boasts of.
After "9.11," the US government has gradually pushed ahead with a strategy characterized by unilateralism and preemptive strike, which has become both America's national security strategy and guidelines in the fight against terrorism.
However, the strategy has proved not feasible. Although it easily toppled the Saddam Hussein regime by means of war, the US administration later stumbled in the process of helping build a "democratic and free Iraq." The reason was that it had neither the strong support of the UN and the international community as a whole, nor with the understanding and cooperation of the Iraqi public. As a result, the US administration has to "lower the expectation of Iraq," according to The Washington Post on August 14.
In pressing ahead with its preemptive-strike strategy, the Bush administration first took aim at what he called countries of "the axis of evil," namely Iraq, Iran and North Korea. However, the administration suffered many setbacks while using the strategy against these countries. The reconstruction process in Iraq has suffered twists and turns. Its hard stand on Iran's nuclear issue has not achieved much and it was forced to support the EU's diplomatic negotiations with Iran.
All this proves that in order to win the war against terrorism, it is not enough just to hunt down the terrorists. To achieve its goal, the US administration needs to get to the root of terrorism to find the solution. It is obvious that the war on terror can be won only by relieving poverty, eliminating the political, economic and social conditions under which terrorism and extremism breed and cooperating closely with the rest of the international community under the UN leadership.
(Xinhua News Agency September 12, 2005)