War must turn psychological - Greg Gelpi

As a war like no other, I've declared that there are three ways to fight the war on terror.

We, as a country, can sit back and fortify every nook and cranny of this vast nation or in the president's words we can take the fight to the enemy.

A third option, though, must be considered.

When we think of terrorist targets, immediately images of the Statue of Liberty, the White House and other symbols of America appear in our minds.

As witnessed by events of the past months and years, terrorist targets are limitless, though. From financial buildings, as we were just alerted to, to symbols of American culture to any large gathering of people, such as mass transit, anything and everything is fair game to those who play by no rules and revel in blood lust.

Deputize every citizen in the country and post people shoulder to shoulder up and down every street in America and there still won't be enough homeland security.

There are far fewer people that hate this country, albeit there are quite a few, than there are potential terrorist targets in this country, so we take the fight to them.

But, bomb every terrorist training camp, sweep every Afghan cave and invade every country that fosters and breeds hate and there will still be terrorism.

Both elements and facets of the war on terrorism remain essential, but one crucial factor has been neglected.

I won't pretend to have the answers because I don't.

The war on terror has raged for almost three years, and the end will not come in my lifetime or yours. It's foolish to think otherwise.

People don't decide on a whim to kill countless mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters whose only crime is being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In the same way, terrorists won't hang up their suicide bomb belts on a whim either.

A psychological thread must be woven in and through any plans to stymie or cease terrorism.

Cultures of hate suffocate children from birth to prime fighting age and then they are released from the culture to act on their training.

To counter this culture, something, anything must penetrate the mind of the terrorist and not just the body.

The best image I can conjure is that of cooking. Zap your steak with a quick burst of high heat and the outside is scorched, while the inside remains untouched.

While erasing the lifetime of programming, we must replace the programming with something to fill the void.

Working with basic human nature, saying "no" alone only results in more hostility. Along with the "no," somehow a new image, a new understanding, of America must be implanted convincingly.

Just as we accept our views of America and the West without second thought because we were born here and eat and breathe American culture all of our lives, those outside of this culture are bound to their beliefs just as strongly for similar reasons.

Until mindsets change, nothing will change.

Greg Gelpi covers education for the News Daily. He can be reached at ggelpi@news-daily.com or (770) 478-5753 Ext. 247.