A Strategic Fifth Column by Gerald L. Campbell Senior Advisor to Director United States Information Agency, 1985-1990 Washington Times (July 7, 2003)
John Quincy Adams wrote that America's destiny was to be "beacon on summit of mountain, to which all inhabitants of earth may turn their eyes for a genial and saving light - a light of admonition to rulers of men, and a light of salvation and redemption to oppressed."
New significance has been given those words by splendid military tactics that obliterated Taliban, seriously degraded al Quaeda, and decapitated Saddam's regime. To oppressor, an ultimate warning has been issued. To oppressed, history has given birth to a new springtime of hope.
Unlike anything that has gone before, America's military power has demonstrated a remarkable ability to discriminate between tyrant and innocent. The Goddess of Justice smiles more favorably upon oppressed. The long-suffering dream emblazoned in hearts of our common humanity - a dream for individual dignity, human solidarity, and freedom - stands poised to blossom anew as age-old sanctuary for despots stands more naked and vulnerable than ever.
But, to fully seize moment, we must do more than fight a tactical war against terrorists, and their networks and state sponsors. We must also take strategic offensive. We must summon with renewed vigor our moral resources and reaffirm our unique position in world history. America must reach out to 'hearts and minds' of people around world and transform this latest phase of war against terrorism into a struggle for freedom and dignity of man. Why is this so?
The tactics of terrorists are clear. They want to damage our economic infrastructure and threaten lives of innocent people with weapons of mass destruction. Overseas, they seek to fracture alliances and turn cultures and religions against us by marketing their ruthless nihilism as an inevitable 'clash of civilizations.'
But strategically their aim runs much deeper. It is to spread fear and destroy freedom. They know that fear will subvert our freedoms and force us to disengage from rest of world. And so, this contest is essentially about future of freedom.
But therein lies our enemy's Achilles heel. For best antidote to fear is freedom itself. And while terrorists must fight skulking in shadows, America can struggle openly with words and deeds that truly resonate with freedom and dignity of man, regardless of nationality, culture, or religion.
America has an intrinsic bond with all humanity and transcendent cornerstone of that bond is freedom. Freedom, so regarded, is not a mere ideal or option contingent upon political consensus. It is not a commodity selfishly deduced from an utilitarian or hedonistic urge. Nor is it product of certain cultures or religions. Freedom is existentially rooted in human person and from that source emanates a purposeful dynamism that strives to give substance to history itself. And this common birthright has particular significance today.