25 September 2001 | 21:31:50 GMT
September 23rd on NBC it was reported that 81% of Americans want restraint. Perhaps this suggestion is what they've been waiting for:
A military response, particularly an attack on Afghanistan, is exactly what the terrorists want. It will strengthen and swell their small but fanatical ranks. The real criminals will likely escape while the innocent suffer. Instead, why not bomb Afghanistan with butter, with rice, bread, clothing and medicine? It would cost less than conventional arms, pose no threat of US casualties and just might get the populace thinking that maybe the Taliban don't have the answers. After three years of drought and with starvation looming, let's offer the Afghani people the vision of a new future.
Let's bomb them with information, video players and cassettes of world leaders, particularly Islamic leaders, condemning terrorists and terrorism. Carpet the country with magazines and newspapers showing the horrors of terrorism committed by their "guest." Blitz them with laptop computers and DVD players filled with a perspective denied them by their government. Saturation bombing with hope will mean that some of it gets through. Send so much that the Taliban can't collect and hide it all.
The Taliban are telling their people to prepare for Jihad. Instead, let's give the Afghani people their first good meal in years. Seeing your family fully fed and the prospect of food and a stable future is a powerful deterrent to martyrdom. All we ask in return is that they, as a people, enter the civilized world, which means handing over any terrorists in their midst. Our response to these atrocities needs to be something different, unexpected, that addresses the root of the problem. Let's take away the well of despair, ignorance and brutality from which the Osama bin Ladens of the world water their gardens of terror.