January 4 - The United States will complete its victory over terrorism if it continues to adhere to the three principles it has established to win this war.

First is moral clarity. In his historic speech before the US Congress, President George W. Bush boldly declared that nothing justifies terrorism. No grievance, whether real or imagined, can ever justify terror. Terrorism - the deliberate and systematic targeting of civilians, as opposed to the unintentional civilian casualties that are the tragic consequences of justified warfare - must be seen, like Nazism, as an unmitigated evil.

This clarity is essential in fighting terror because it denies the terrorists their main weapon: the moral equivocation of many of their victims who, facing an unremitting propaganda campaign aimed at justifying terrorism, are duped into believing that there is some justice behind terrorist demands and that therefore these demands must be at least partially met.

Second is strategic clarity. Today, the US understands that the best way to defeat terror is not to concentrate on bringing individual terrorists to justice, but rather, to destroy the regimes that support terror. Terrorist organizations are not suspended in mid-air. They train their operatives, indoctrinate their recruits, and hatch their plots from territory sheltered by certain regimes. Take away the support of sovereign states, and the entire scaffolding of international terror collapses into the dust. American power topples the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and the al-Qaida network there crumbles on its own. The United States must now act similarly against the other terror regimes - Iran, Iraq, Arafat's dictatorship, Syria, and a few others. Some of these regimes will have to be toppled, some of them punished and deterred. But all must be made to understand a simple message: surrender terrorism or surrender power.

The root cause of terror is not despair, but a totalitarian mindset that believes that anything is justified to achieve its ideological ends.

Third, the imperative of victory. The United States understands that the best way to defeat international terror is to defeat it. This is no trivial statement, for there are those who believe that the root cause of terror is despair, and that the best way to fight terror is to replace this despair with hope. But the United States has now taken a completely opposite view. The best way to eradicate terror is to sow despair among its adherents, and to destroy all hope that the terrorists will achieve their objectives by resorting to terror. Just as any victory for terror emboldens the entire terror network, the defeat of terror in any part of the network devastates the confidence of potential terrorists everywhere and diminishes their ranks.

Indeed, the root cause of terror is not despair, but a totalitarian mindset that believes that anything is justified to achieve its ideological ends. Worse, the more brutal the means that must be employed to achieve those ends - blowing up children, destroying skyscrapers and, if necessary, annihilating entire cities - the more glorious those ends become in the twisted minds of these fanatics. This is why from Lenin to Hitler to the ayatollahs, terrorism has been indispensable to totalitarianism. That is also why, in countless struggles for liberation carried out by people with a democratic mindset, such as the French resistance against the Nazis or the struggle for civil rights in the United States, terror was never used.

But a totalitarian mindset is only a necessary condition for the practice of terror. What must also be present is hope. The more that hope grows, the more emboldened the terrorists become and the more new recruits will flock to join them. This is why the sense of inevitable victory over terrorism is so crucial to this struggle.

The effect of these three principles has fundamentally changed the geopolitical reality in Israel's favor. Moral clarity will make it increasingly difficult for our enemies to justify the terror unleashed against us in the courts of public opinion. Strategic clarity has given us a freer hand to dismantle Arafat's terrorist regime.

While the threat of his regime's collapse has forced Arafat to take steps to escape imminent danger, this is only a temporary, tactical measure. To fully restore our deterrence and pave a road toward a peaceful future, we must make any potential Palestinian leadership understand that they will pay the heaviest price for waging a terrorist war against Israel. The imperative of victory must teach us that the way to reverse the tide of terror that has engulfed our country is to defeat it decisively. The notion that Israel's war on terror will be served by offering Arafat a state is absurd. Such a step will only create a sovereign terrorist fortress in the heart of the Middle East.

All free societies must continue to adhere to these three principles if we are to prevent the demons that lurk in the dark recesses of mankind from obtaining the power to destroy our civilization.

This article originally appeared in the Jerusalem Post.