I think President Bush believed that there are a fixed number of terrorists in this world. He stated as much in one of his speeches when he said it was better to fight them over there with soldiers than it is to fight them here with firemen and rescue workers. In that every terrorist that we kill makes for one less terrorist in the world.
While I admire Bush’s rhetoric, I question his reasoning. Imagine, for a moment the repercussions when we kill a terrorist in Afghanistan. His siblings have lost a brother, his parents have lost a child and his children have lost their father. Yes, Muslims have feelings too. Do you think any of those family members might be moved to revenge the death of their beloved father/brother/friend?
If you follow Middle Eastern history for any period of time you will see a region continually stuck in cycles of revenge and retribution that go back for centuries. Getting caught into this cycle of retaliation is not a good foreign policy.
In addition to the terrorist motivated by revenge, New terrorists are born every day. Some, children in some Muslim countries are encouraged from birth to become terrorists. They strap on bomb vests the same way America children wear Spiderman pajamas. Except, American kids don’t grow up to be Spiderman.
Sending troops into Afghanistan to kill terrorists is like sending exterminators into Minnesota to swat summer mosquitoes. They may kill many bugs but will have made no measurable change to the overall number of bugs.
Now imagine for a moment that instead of mosquitoes those bugs were bees and we were repeatedly stabbing their nests with a stick. How does that make us safer?