The United States is playing a risky game of cat-and-mouse as it spreads quietly into the Saharan nations of Africa to combat terrorism.
U.S. troops and defense contractors entered into the region last week to seal off the region to Al Qaeda and other terrorists group.
The plan of action involves a $100 million budget administered by the Bush administration to provide tactical training for the nations of Mali, Chad, Mauritania and Niger.
The administration claims it is imperative that these regions learn to track and handle terrorists. However, the concern over terrorists is not regional.
All of the concern is based on influence from the United States. These countries do not fear terrorists, America does.
These countries are being used solely as a tool for U.S. advancement in the war against terrorism. Thry are not the first countries to be used as such, but their predominantly Islamic populations are a cause for alarm.
As the United States continues its move to put an end to terrorism, the countries that are being targeted are largely Islamic.
This may not be an issue to most Americans, but it is appearing more and more like a religious battle.
Bush’s plan deems it necessary to track down and capture terrorists, but social factors are being woefully ignored.
Although, there is a sense by the Bush administration that economic restitution is sufficient to justify U.S. influence in countries, the disregard for cultural issues is dangerous.
Purchasing shiny new uniforms, military training and Toyota Land Cruisers for poor Saharan nations may appease their governments, but the people of the countries and their traditions should not be ignored. America may be able to convince most of the world that the war on terror is a global concern; however, if Islamic nations continue to carry the brunt of the targets, this war on terror can easily begin to appear to be a jihad.
Whether or not the Bush administration is willing to admit it, the U.S. is not prepared to handle the implications of a jihad.
Once that declaration is made, there is no amount of propaganda that the U.S. can spread to control the effects.
It is far better to watch out for the social implications of the nation’s actions now before the war against terror continues to spread into countries that are predominantly Islamic.
Jason E. Hutchins for The Editorial Board