Stressing that no amount of force alone can eliminate violent extremism, Pakistans ambassador to the United States has urged the Obama Administration to help create economic opportunities as part of a holistic way to stem militancy from the impoverished areas. If the United States cannot get the people on its side, then any number of bombings from high altitude are not going to change the ground reality, Ambassador Husain Haqqani said in an interview. This is an ideological war, and it is an economic war. You have to create economic opportunities, because somebody who does not have a future is more likely to become a suicide terrorist than somebody who has a chance to earn a college degree, he told The Denver Post, while strongly advocating socio-economic uplift as an antidote to militancy. Haqqani, who delivered a speech on the state of current campaign against terrorism in Denver, pointed out that a lack of focus on the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, failure to win popular support, impatience, and relying too much on military force such as the unmanned Predator drones have limited U.S. effectiveness. Ambassador Haqqani was the featured guest with Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter and counterterrorism experts at an evening public forum in the Denver Art Museum put on by Denvers Center for Empowered Living and Learning, or CELL. The forum drew more than 550 people. We cant lose sight of the threat of terrorism . . ., Ritter said. We must continue to engage Pakistan as a key to stabilizing the entire region. The local deliberation coincides with Obama administration efforts to chart a new course in counterterrorism. Defense officials are weighing a further buildup of U.S. troops already increased by 21,000 since President Barack Obama took office to try to control resurgent Taliban forces in Afghanistan. U.S. officials also are considering legislation that would send $ 1.5 billion a year for five years in non-military aid to Pakistan for improving health care and schools. Haqqani rejected criticism of Pakistan as unfair as he cited the countrys consistent efforts to root out al-Qaeda elements and Taliban militants from its northwestern areas along the restive Afghan border. When the U.S. government says theyve been able to eliminate 13 of the top 20 al-Qaeda leaders in the past 14 months, it hasnt been without Pakistani support, he said. He defended the performance of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. He urged the equivalent of the post-World War II Marshall Plan in Europe to create schools and clinics in Pakistan, where U.S. neglect during the 1990s, after mobilizing legions of holy warriors to fight Soviet occupiers, fostered deep-seated anti-Americanism. Id rather that people had the opportunity to make boxer shorts for Wal-Mart than IEDs for the Taliban, Haqqani said. Pakistan still needs more military technology including helicopters and night-vision goggles that has been delayed by Congress amid concerns that Pakistan could use the weaponry against India, he said. And Predator drones need to be operated by Pakistanis or deployed with Pakistani participation to minimize resentment. Pakistans government also is trying non-military tactics such as running a radio talk show, using U.S. equipment, in the scenic Swat Valley, where the Pakistani forces launced a successful anti-Taliban campaign in recent months. Isnt it sad that the non-military approach is only now starting? Haqqani said. After U.S. forces in 2001 helped topple the Taliban, Americans talked victory and neglected the region again. Today, its much easier to get support for a quick war than a war that helps change people, he said. Its easier to get Americans to support a car industry bailout in this country than a comprehensive campaign to stabilize the place where 9/11 attackers hatched their plot.