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Jul-09-2007 12:52printcomments

Op-Ed: War on Terror Breeds a Need for Public Relations

U.S. Must Keep Terror Threat 'Real' to Other Nations, Official Says.

Afghan National Army soldier with his AK-47
Afghan National Army soldier with his AK-47
Photo by: Tim King

(SALEM, Ore.) - An American diplomat is concerned that the United States "war on terror" is not being taken seriously in the world, and that the American effort is falling flat in some areas.

Lawless retired last week as
deputy assistant secretary for
Asian and Pacific affairs

"If we don't keep people's attitudes and eyes focused on the threat, they tend to drift away to other subjects," Richard Lawless said. "And keeping people focused on that issue has been very tough."

Lawless retired last week after almost five years as deputy assistant secretary for Asian and Pacific affairs.

Shouldn't it be a good sign if entire nations are missing the boat? Americans are made to run scared by the Presidential administration's dire warnings and "color coded" terrorist alerts, but other people in other places don't seem to take the bait.

This leaves Lawless nervous; he appears to be more concerned over finding ways to make people disturbed, than to simply thank their lucky stars that this whole "terrorism" thing appears to be blown a thousand times out of proportion by the American media.

We spend thousands of precious young American lives attacking a country that did not strike first, and we forgot where the terrorist threat originated from; a bunch of Saudi Arabian misfits.

In the process of building this campaign on terror, our President and national leaders also seemed to forget for a time, that Americans were already fighting a war in Afghanistan, where the terrorists trained.

Bush's quote over terrorist Osama Bin Laden, "I just don't spend that much time on it, to be honest," stole away the last bit of confidence from many Americans, who no longer believe that Bush in his ultimate ego, has this country's best interests at heart, if he ever did in the first place.

While the administration touts what amounts to the dwindling international support for their wars in the Middle East, they don't like to talk about how many Coalition nations in Afghanistan are there for entirely different reasons.

While there are many Coalition nations in country, the only ones really into the fight are England, France and Canada, and they too are losing popular support as the death toll continues to rise. Other countries with soldiers in Afghanistan are not in combat roles with few exceptions.

This is a part of the world long plagued by death and war. The Mid East, SE Asia, they know terrorism like we know McDonald's. Other countries have endured thousands of terrorist attacks. Most Americans have not seen anything close. We have seen a terrorist attack from a distance on TV, but tend to misplace the fact that the Oklahoma City federal building bombing was detonated by a former U.S. soldier named Timothy McVeigh, a real right winger for that matter, lest we forget.

Richard Lawless acknowledged that some Asian-Pacific countries "are just simply not impacted by terrorism," and says others have gone so long since experiencing a terrorist attack within their borders that they have shifted their attention elsewhere.

"Many countries don't recognize just how big the U.S. commitment to fighting terrorism is or how much that commitment demands," he said.

Lawless points to recent terrorist activity in Great Britain as an example of why this new attitude is troubling. What he does not talk about is how the U.S. invasion of Iraq has multiplied the number of terrorists in the world by several times.

Lawless noted several major exceptions, including Singapore. Singaporeans "are hugely focused on the terrorism threat and devote a lot of time and a lot of attention and a lot of thought to managing that and managing it very aggressively," he said.

But he doesn't talk about the fact that Singapore is largely dependent on the Americans for military hardware, or how we train their primarily Caucasian, non-indigenous pilots in American F-16's at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, etc.

Like all things, trace Singapore's support of George W. Bush politics by simply following the money trail, once again.

Lawless said, "I don't think the scale of our commitment to the international war on terrorism is necessarily appreciated or understood by a lot of the countries in the region which have no threats, at least immediately, upon them that they can discern."

He hopes other countries will understand just how much this country, now trillions in debt, has invested. "We have to explain that we are hugely committed and have to commit our resources and our troops and our national wealth to this fight," he said. "It's something we have to keep reminding them about."

Personally, I think it really begins with September 11th, 2001, when commercial airliners struck New York, the Pentagon and another location in Pennsylvania.

Amidst the tragedy, we are expected to believe that the flight recorders in the planes that struck the twin towers

Tim King at a U.S. firebase in the
Kunar Province of Afghanistan '07

disappeared, yet a passport of one of the alleged terrorists, made of paper, simply floated to the sidewalk below within minutes.

Maybe PR firms have been running this show all along.

Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with almost twenty years experience as a television news producer, photojournalist and reporter. He has worked for network affiliate stations on the west coast, earning a number of distinguished awards for reporting and photography. Today in addition to his roles as a war correspondent, reporter and photojournalist, Tim serves as's Executive News Editor and is available via email at:

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Henry Ruark July 11, 2007 6:25 am (Pacific time)

Oso et al: Cognitive scientists in recent years have discovered and defined some striking ways in which brains are governed by personal bias and learning experiences. This specific group are no doubt just so motivated, with added momentum by huge dollar gains bestowed by their "leadership".

Osotan; July 10, 2007 5:36 am (Pacific time)

they've got a whole department of these clowns, we never hear of them till the white house gets in over their head..,like the last five years, they march these extras out to reinforce the "parrot syndrome". Remember bushman declaring victory and the end of the war in '03?, wearing flight gear while standing on the deck of an airraft carrier in San Diego! Great balls of fire huh? What integrity! like the present congress too, just full of honest integrified people telling us that looking out for America's interests is thier only purpose. Right.

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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