Terrorism Demands Prevention

Article excerpt

Byline: Jose Campion McCarthy, Todd Huffman and Cynthia Smith For The Register-Guard

As health professionals, our golden rule is to `first do no harm." Through the care we provide and the remedies we employ, we strive to leave patients better off than before they sought our counsel.

Similarly, the doctrine of `first do no harm' should be the basis of America's national security policy - especially when war is the recommended treatment.

Most would agree that we must fight terrorism, that we must keep the world safe from the spread and use of deadly weapons, and that we must exemplify and promote the values of democracy. America's foreign policy doctrine must not only be tough, but also smart, moral and healthy for our country and the world.

Yet there's concern that U.S. security policies and actions - in Iraq, in the development of "usable" nuclear weapons, and in turning away from the security of international cooperation and treaties - may be counterproductive or lead to an escalation of dangers. The April 23 Register-Guard quoted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak as saying that Arabs have been driven to a "hatred never equaled" toward America.

We must act from core American values that respect life and resolve adversity without violence. To that end, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning organization, Physicians for Social Responsibility, has developed a new national security platform, called SMART: Sensible, Multilateral American Response to Terrorism.

The SMART legislation (House Concurrent Resolution 392), now before the U.S. House of Representatives, calls for the prevention of future acts of terrorism, for an end to the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and for our government to address the root causes of terrorism and violent conflict.

The SMART proposal aims to prevent acts of terrorism by working more closely with the international diplomatic, judicial and intelligence communities to root out terrorist networks. It would treat terrorism as the horrific crime it is. It would require adherence to the rule of law, so terrorists would be tried in the International Criminal Court. Civil liberties and human rights would be protected.

It would seek to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction, a serious threat requiring aggressive diplomacy. …