On Monday... some senior members of Mr. Putin’s political party, United Russia, were already suggesting that the government needed to adopt a stern new plan to combat terrorism...Mr. Putin said the organizers of the bombings were hiding but would be captured. He said they needed to be “dragged out of the sewers into the broad daylight. And it will be done.”Putin's talk represents the problem, not the solution. Russia's wars in the Caucasus have created a generation of young people who live with the effects of violence in their land. Dead relatives, unrelenting poverty, and a highly-polluted environment that makes the next generation sick and often deformed does not lead to lasting peace. It leads to lasting war, even if that war can sometimes be contained in the Caucasus. Sound familiar? Think Afghanistan. Think Iraq. War creates enemies- dehumanized others to be "dragged from the sewers." A few years back I spent some time with a young Chechen man who had escaped Russia's war there. The young man was a surgical assistant who operated on both Chechen and Russian soldiers, as needed. The Russians captured him and tortured him. Buried him in the ground and burned him with cigarettes. Surprisingly, this man held no ill will toward the Russian people. In fact, while he was studying English with a young Russian woman, he was shocked to learn that she thought of Chechens as "animals" and "subhuman." He was also shocked by the glee with which young Americans went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. He couldn't understand how anyone could embrace war as a solution. This young man was right. War creates hate. You can subdue your enemy, but they're still your enemy. The Obama administration might or might not be successful in subduing their enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan, but they will never be successful in creating lasting peace with war. This is illustrated by the words of Chechen rebel leader, Doku Umarov:
If Russians think that the war is happening only on television, somewhere far off in the Caucasus, and it will not touch them, then we are going to show them that this war will return to their homes."Sound familiar? It should. It's the same thing anti-American Muslim groups have been promising to do on American soil for decades. What the US needs is a policy of peace, not war. Unless it wants to continue to face the same sort of terror that hit the Moscow metro system yesterday. War does not equal peace. That's the only lesson that can be learned from Russia.