When we hear the president talk about the long battle ahead, I wonder if we really understand how long and how complicated this is going to be.
Yes, we must track down Osama bin Laden and his henchmen of hate just as we destroyed Hitler and his gang, and we will.
But that is just the first part. The real enemy is not Osama, it is the ignorance that breeds the hatred that fuels his cause. This is what we have to change.
I realized what an enormous job that was going to be the other day when I heard a young Pakistani student tell an interviewer that everyone in his school knew that Israel was behind the attacks on the Twin Towers and everyone in his school knew all the Jews who worked there had stayed home that day.
What we have all come to realize now is that a large part of the world not only misunderstands us but is teaching its children to hate us. We won't change that through short-term propaganda and spin.
We must take a longer view, financially, philosophically and relentlessly. We must help, encourage, force if necessary, those who control that part of the world to open up, to educate their people and let them connect with the rest of the world, to let them see through an independent press and television what it is like on the other side of the tracks.
Impossible? No. We did it in Japan and Europe in a far more difficult time after World War II.
And, yes, it will be expensive, and, yes, it will take years. But it is in our own self-interest to do it.
Barricades and weapons can make us safer, but only when we conquer the poverty and ignorance that breed hatred can we be truly secure.
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