The relentless military crackdown on the Taliban and Osama bin Laden's camps in Afghanistan stands in sharp contrast to the tentativeness of the State Department regarding terror cells elsewhere and those directing their attention towards Israel. Apparently in the interests of coalition building, there is a downplaying of the significance of the roles of Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other states hosting or sympathetic to terrorists. And of course, coalition-building is at the root of the virtual isolation of Israel and the pressure being exerted on Israel to pull its punches in responding to the growing Palestinian violence.
As the days go by, more and more of our coalition “partners” are telling the United States that the response to September 11th must not go beyond Afghanistan, and the direct link to Osama bin Laden. And this has nothing at all to do with Israel.
However, it could not have escaped the planners at the State Department, that given the interconnectedness of terrorist cells around the world, eliminating part of Bin Laden's cell, even a major portion, would still leave what is left to continue the mission of destruction.
What seems to be in play is a version of the State Department's longstanding role of trying to win friends and influence people around the world for the United States. Thus, despite the emerging flaws in the plan, coalition-building they will do.
Unfortunately, this is a luxury we cannot afford. It will soon blunt our anti-terrorism effort and also reassure our adversaries that it will soon be business-as- usual. We must bite the bullet now, declare what we are about and go to it, and let everybody know that they will not be allowed to stand in our way. If we continue with our mealy-mouthedness, then throw-backs to a time long since passed will have figured out how to bring us down.