September 13, 2004
The U.S. is not really fighting terrorismBy Rachel Neuwirth
Claims that America is engaged in a total war against terrorism are greatly exaggerated. President Bush cannot selectively fight some terrorists, while ignoring or even supporting other kinds of terrorists, and still claim to be fighting a War on Terror. Bush cannot declare that we oppose all who practice terrorism, including all their supporters, in theory, and then employ a double standard in practice. We cannot say that the 9/11 bombers are terrorists, but that those who blow up busses in Israel are not terrorists because they are engaged in a political process, as was claimed by Secretary of State Colin Powell. This double standard has been a long— term element in U.S. policy, and is not limited to the current Bush Administration and the equivocation in its so—called war on terror.
President Bush is seeking Osama bin Laden, dead or alive, primarily because he is accused of having attacked us on 9/11, not because he is a menace in general. But at the same time President Bush is protecting Yasser Arafat, the father of modern terrorism, by demanding that Israel not harm him or even exile him. On 9/11 bin Laden caused the death of 3,000 Americans plus the wounding of many more. Since the Oslo Accords of 1993, Arafat has killed about 1,300 Israelis and wounded upwards of 7,000. In proportion to population, this is the U.S. equivalent of 70,000 dead and 380,000 wounded, many of those horribly so.
And yet Arafat's Palestinian Authority receives some $200 million in American aid annually plus the promise of another Arab state at Israel's expense, if it only he pretends to favor peace for a short while. This appeasement of terrorism harms America's national security as well as being wrong in principle.
American double standards are clearly revealed in the history of Yasser Arafat and his consistent coddling by U.S. officials, which began in the 1960's.This practice involves over—solicitousness, on the part of American officials and American agencies such as the State Department, the CIA, the FBI, and the NSA, for Saudi Arabia and the other terror—fostering Arab regimes, which can truly be described as enemies.
Arafat officially began his terror career in 1959 when he formed the Fatah organization, with its "constitution" explicitly calling for the destruction of Israel. In 1968, he succeeded in taking over the Palestine Liberation Organization, an organization set up by the League of Arab States, whose "covenant" also declared the destruction of Israel to be its goal. These declarations of total war were made years prior to the 1967 Six—Day War and Israel's acquiring those territories now in dispute. During the 1960's he was already hijacking airliners. In 1970 he tried to seize control over Jordan and was only driven back after a bloodbath known as Black September, in which thousands were slaughtered. He then moved to Lebanon where he instigated a long 'civil' war in which over 100,000 were killed in a country of only about three million. His thugs attacked inside residential neighborhoods using women and children as human shields, a tactic he used later in his intifada against Israel. Lebanese Christians suffered greatly and many were forced to flee to other countries.
Forcible U.S. opposition to Arafat's crimes was notably absent, but when Israel responded to cross border attacks with a counteroffensive against the PLO and Syrian occupiers of Lebanon, the U.S. suddenly found its voice and demanded an Israeli withdrawal. The U.S. intervened to rescue Arafat when Israel was close to defeating him, bringing him to safety in Tunisia, where he continued his war of terror against Israel.
In 1972, Arafat's PLO slaughtered 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, marring international games dedicated to world peace, without generating aan adequately forceful response from the U.S. Perhaps Arafat was becoming confident about U.S. tolerance towards terror, because in 1973 he got away with the kidnap—murder of two American diplomats in Khartoum, Sudan. Ambassador Cleo Noel and his Charge d'affairs George Curtis Moore were murdered on direct orders from Arafat. The CIA even taped Arafat giving the order to his thugs to carry out the murders of these innocent diplomats. Yet U.S. did nothing, not even publicly fingering Arafat for this act of aggression and murder against the United States, carried out on the grounds of a supposedly sacrosanct diplomatic mission. Over the years this 'father of modern terrorism' has continued to enjoy respect and support from the U.S. government. About 1978 Jimmy Carter's Administration began writing speeches for Arafat to give, containing expressions such as 'no more terrorism' and 'peace with Israel," in return promising U.S. recognition for the P.L.O. Even then, it took Arafat ten years before he overcame his distaste and reluctantly muttered the soothing words demanded of him by his State Department speechwriters. Immediately, the U.S. began pressuring Israel to begin negotiations with the P.L.O. During the Clinton years Arafat was the most frequent foreign guest at the White House and received some $100 million in annual aid, even while he continued his terror campaign against Israel. He received the Nobel Peace Prize for simply signing his name to the Oslo Accords—— after which he violated every one of its provisions, and launched a massive new terrorist intifada against Israeli civilians. George W. Bush stopped the visits, but doubled the aid to $200 million, again sending mixed signals.
About a year ago three American representatives were slaughtered in Gaza by terrorists linked to Arafat. They were traveling to a refugee camp to recruit candidates for an education program in the U.S., an act of American generosity. Under U.S. pressure Arafat went though the motions of looking for the killers but refused genuine cooperation with U.S. authorities. The killers were never identified or brought to justice. The latest word seems to be that Arafat has won out again. He defied the U.S., allowed the killers to go free, and suffered no reprisals at all from the U.S. —— not even a cut—off of aid. His popularity among his depraved followers has been boosted by his success in committing aggression against the U.S. and getting away with it.
According to a news report in World Net Daily, the FBI is finally opening an investigation into the 1973 case of Arafat's killing of American diplomats. See a copy of an original diplomatic message at the time of the murder. If this is true, why have they waited so long? Will Arafat be tried for killing these two Americans? Don't bet on it, because he has already killed over 100 Americans with impunity. But these Americans were mostly American Jews visiting Israel, and that counts for nothing with the U.S. State Department. And after killing thousands of Christians and thousands of Muslims, plus more Jewish civilians than anyone since Hitler, Arafat was still celebrated as the 'President' of the Palestinian Authority and lavished with all manner of material aid and diplomatic support by America and the European Union.
Continuing U.S. support and funding of Arafat — that alone makes a mockery of Bush's claims to be fighting terrorism. But there are many more instances of U.S. hypocrisy. Here are A few more examples:
By now the word is out that the Saudis have long supported terrorism by their funding of Madrasas, which are Islamic schools that teach an extreme form of Islam. They also funded terrorist cells in other countries. Egypt, too, supports terrorism, but mainly against Israel. Egypt has long been complicit in allowing Arab terrorists to smuggle weapons into Gaza via tunnels between the Egyptian side of the boundary into the Gaza side. This violates Egypt's peace treaty with Israel, which has enabled Egypt to receive about $2 billion in annual military and economic aid, along with U.S. weapons and training since 1978. There are also U.S. personnel in the Sinai to monitor Egyptian compliance with their peace treaty, who are partly funded by Israel. How come these American monitors are blind to these flagrant violations by Egypt? Meanwhile, the government—controlled Egyptian media spews a constant torrent of anti—Israeli, anti—Jewish and even anti—American invective with impunity while Egypt continues to receive billions in U.S. aid.
Egypt under dictator Gamal Abdul Nasser, during the 1960's, used poison gas in Yemen in his attempt to expand his power in the region. The U.S. was busy courting him and other dictators as part of our cold war policies, and it was easy to ignore flagrant human rights violations. (We also ignored Saddam's gassing of the Iraqi Kurds in the 1980's.) And even then Nasser was sending suicide murderers from Egypt into Israel. Then they were called fedayeen or 'self—sacrificers.' They carried mostly knives and guns in those days, but their mission was the same as today's shaheeds (Suicide bombers/martyrs).
The above represents but a tiny part of American double standard in facing terror, and that double standard has existed for many years under both Democratic and Republican Administrations. Our moral inconsistencies have allowed the terrorist infrastructure to develop over time into the threat it now poses to America and to western societies.
In our so—called war on terror we also lack the intellectual honesty and the courage to even name the enemy, although there are small signs that this may finally be changing. The enemy is not some abstract concept that we call 'terrorism' Rather it is Islamism, Jihadism and Islamic extremism. We cannot be politically correct and still be honest with ourselves about the true identity of the enemy.
Why does the U.S. refuse to seek a U.N. declaration against Islamic terrorism? The likely excuse is that it would be opposed in the U.N. by the large Islamic block and their supporters. If so, it is still worthwhile to expose the U.N. for the morally worthless gang that it is. Yes, let the U.N. members go on record as opposing a clear statement against Islamic terrorism. But the State Department prefers to perpetuate their pretense of the U.N.'s moral credibility.
We also fail in two other respects. First, we have not properly defined what we stand for. The Islamic enemy cites examples of Western decadence as justification for their 'holy war.' Simply saying that we stand for 'freedom' and 'free enterprise' has limited value because for many religious Muslims those terms may seem foreign. It suggests that we are simply imposing our system upon them by force.
And second, we have failed to cultivate the truly moderate and responsible Islamic clerics and intellectuals. Those Muslims understand very well the sickness that prevails in so many Islamic societies and how the extremists have twisted the Quran to breed terrorists. It is their voices that need to be heard, boldly challenging the extremists on a religious basis, point for point, to demonstrate to the Islamic masses just how they have been hoodwinked and led down the path to destruction. They must show the way out of this dead end and back towards an enlightened form of Islam. Such actually existed for a time centuries ago, before this current extremism, when there was true creativity and a lively interchange of ideas across different cultures. Once Muslims hear from devout and learned men and women of their own faith that human rights, the rule of law, and respect for other religions and cultures are not incompatible with their Islamic heritage, most will eventually reject the teaching of the extremist hatemongers among them. Why not use our information forums and financial resources to help the courageous and lonely Muslim moderates to get their enlightened message to their own people?
However, our own leaders act as if they are unaware of this battle of ideas, and instead allow the extremists to have access to the highest levels of our government. Grover Norquist is a conservative activist who used to be involved in economic issues, but recently has been using his influence to help Muslims with radical and even pro—terrorist ties to gain access to high Administration officials. This in turn has allowed the Council on American Islamic Relations (C.A.I.R.) to help place Islamists among those selecting clerics for Muslim inmates in our prisons, selecting clerics for Muslim soldiers in our military and to demand all manner of rights and concessions for Muslims in America while playing the role of victims of discrimination.
The final question is what have we gained by our compromising on terrorism in the interest of expediency? We have betrayed and weakened our loyal ally, Israel, while pandering to Israel's Arab enemies. And what benefit has it bought us? Except for Israel, how many countries in the world can we count as true and staunch allies? When Tony Blair leaves power, Britain may become like Germany. The same is true for allies such as Italy and Australia, where the current political leadership faces strong public opposition to support of the war in Iraq. We betrayed our principles to pander to the nations and yet we are still hatred and distrusted in much of the world. Playing a double game on terrorism has not bought us friends. Perhaps it is time for us to try some moral consistency.
Defending ourselves effectively requires moral clarity. We can at least draw the boundary line between civilized conduct and outright barbarism, and not hesitate to insist that others observe this basic standard. We must reject the thinking expressed by the unfortunate words of our very own Secretary of State, Colin Powell, that 'one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.' We must clearly define right and wrong and apply it fairly to all parties and to all situations, and be consistent, even if it is embarrassing to ourselves at times. By being honest we will astonish our enemies, amaze our friends, and win grudging respect for our integrity. We can then speak more effectively and directly to the peoples of the world and over the heads of their governments and the biased media.
America should at least declare moral clarity even if we cannot actually undertake the impossible task of being the world's policeman. We, as a superpower, are even more free than other nations to at least speak the truth without having to fear reprisals from powers stronger than ourselves. Unfortunately we have consistently failed to even speak the moral truth, and so we are seriously compromised in our self—declared war on terror.