OPINION

Opinion

US President George W. Bush’s recent speech at the Congress did not fully clarify the goals of the nascent anti-terrorist campaign, a fact which seems to confirm that American political circles are divided over the breadth and the aims of the response. Everyone agrees that all means should be used in order to crack down on the terrorist network and all terrorist groups worldwide. Moreover, everyone agrees on a military campaign in order to arrest – or even kill – Osama bin Laden and also to overthrow the Taleban’s totalitarian regime. The chief source of disagreement is mainly over whether there will be air raids and broader military operations against Iraq or even Sudan. In addition, moderate Washington officials emphasize the need to minimize the number of casualties among civilians in Afghanistan while hardliners… stress the need for a harsh response. The disagreement is not only a moral one. It is primarily political. The moderates fear that overstepping the mark could, politically speaking, boomerang. The White House does not wish to present the campaign as a clash of religions or civilizations, yet the danger remains. Such a development would cause the anti-terrorist alliance to unravel. The Europeans would start to grumble. In Islamic countries which have aligned themselves with the USA (particularly Pakistan), political destabilization would be a daily prospect and terrorism could witness an upsurge… The security of major athletic events such as the Olympic Games is not just the responsibility of the host country. It requires the greatest possible international cooperation. For this reason, the Greek side, before the tragic events on September 11, had started to cooperate with security experts from seven countries which have more experience in this area. The impending visit of top IOC officials in Athens will be an opportunity to put all issues on the table and clarify them. The Games’ security has now become an international issue and will require broader participation in undertaking the growing financial burden.