Colin Powell on the Terrorist Threat

This is eminently sensible. Therefore it will get hardly any play in the media.



[From GQ]

Isn't the new global threat we face even more dangerous?

COLIN POWELL - What is the greatest threat facing us now? People will
say it's terrorism. But are there any terrorists in the world who can
change the American way of life or our political system? No. Can they
knock down a building? Yes. Can they kill somebody? Yes. But can they
change us? No. Only we can change ourselves. So what is the great
threat we are facing?

I would approach this differently, in almost Marshall-like terms.
What are the great opportunities out there - ones that we can take
advantage of? It should not be just about creating alliances to deal
with a guy in a cave in Pakistan. It should be about how do we create
institutions that keep the world moving down a path of wealth
creation, of increasing respect for human rights, creating democratic
institutions, and increasing the efficiency and power of market
economies? This is perhaps the most effective way to go after

So you think we are getting too hunkered down and scared?

COLIN POWELL- Yes! We are taking too much counsel of our fears. This
doesn't mean there isn't a terrorist threat. There is a threat. And
we should send in military forces when we have a target to deal with.
We should also secure our airports, if that makes us safer. But let's
welcome every foreign student we can get our hands on. Let's make
sure that foreigners come to the Mayo Clinic here, and not the Mayo
facility in Dubai or somewhere else. Let's make sure people come to
Disney World and not throw them up against the wall in Orlando simply
because they have a Muslim name. Let's also remember that this
country was created by immigrants and thrives as a result of
immigration, and we need a sound immigration policy.

Let's show the world a face of openness and what a democratic system
can do. That's why I want to see Guantanamo closed. It's so harmful
to what we stand for. We literally bang ourselves in the head by
having that place. What are we doing this to ourselves for? Because
we're worried about the 380 guys there? Bring them here! Give them
lawyers and habeas corpus. We can deal with them. We are paying a
price when the rest of the world sees an America that seems to be
afraid and is not the America they remember.

You can drive up the road from here and come to a spot where there is
a megachurch over here, a little Episcopal church over there, a
Catholic church around the corner that's almost cathedral-size, and
between them is a huge Hindu temple. There are no police needed to
guard any of this. There are not many places in the world where you
would see that. Yes, there are a few dangerous nuts in Brooklyn and
New Jersey who want to blow up Kennedy Airport and Fort Dix. These
are dangerous criminals, and we must deal with them. But come on,
this is not a threat to our survival. The only thing that can really
destroy us is us. We shouldn't do it to ourselves, and we shouldn't
use fear for political purposes - scaring people to death so they
will vote for you, or scaring people to death so that we create a
terror-industrial complex.



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