Mixed sig­nals from the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - FRANK J. GAFFNEY JR.

Twoweeks ago, the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion sent pro­foundly mixed sig­nals about its at­ti­tude to­ward the War for the Free World and the en­e­mies who threaten us and other free­dom-lov­ing peo­ples.

On the one hand, there was the pres­i­dent’s com­mend­able re­ac­tion to the mur­der­ous plot to de­stroy as many as 10 pas­sen­ger air­craft bound from Bri­tain to the United States. Ge­orge W. Bush cor­rectly, and coura­geously, de­clared “We are at war with Is­lamic fas­cists.”

This is not the first time Mr. Bush has used such a for­mu­la­tion. But the tim­ing of this state­ment — amidst in­tense me­dia and pub­lic in­ter­est in the break­ing story out of the U.K. — caused his char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of our foes as Is­lamic fas­cists to re­ceive con­sid­er­able at­ten­tion. It also prompted the “usual sus­pects” (such as the Coun­cil on Amer­i­canIs­lamic Re­la­tions or CAIR) to rush forth to de­nounce such a clear and ac­cu­rate de­pic­tion of the to­tal­i­tar­ian char­ac­ter and po­lit­i­cal agenda of our en­e­mies.

Al­though his crit­ics ac­cused the pres­i­dent of mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion, it was they who en­gaged in such a prac­tice. For ex­am­ple, CAIR falsely charged he had “equated the re­li­gion of peace [Is­lam] with the ug­li­ness of fas­cism.” In fact, Mr. Bush did some­thing al­to­gether dif­fer­ent — and laud­able: He made clear that those who use Is­lam to jus­tify and pro­vide po­lit­i­cal cover for their to­tal­i­tar­ian ag­gres­sion are at odds not only with Amer­ica but with Is­lam, it­self. Such dan­ger­ous ide­o­logues can­not be ap­peased. They must be de­stroyed.

Un­for­tu­nately, at vir­tu­ally the same mo­ment Mr. Bush help­fully clar­i­fied what we are up against, his sub­or­di­nates were busily hand­ing Is­lamic fas­cists their great­est vic­tory since they drove the United States out of So­ma­lia in March 1994: an ar­ti­fi­cial and un­sus­tain­able cease-fire be­tween Is­rael and Le­banon. The con­tent and tim­ing of the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion adopted unan­i­mously on Aug. 11 rep­re­sent a de­feat for the Free World — es­pe­cially the United States and Is­rael — and will pro­tect and greatly em­bolden their Is­lam­o­fas­cist foes, Hezbol­lah and its spon­sors, Iran and Syria.

My bril­liant col­league, Cen­ter for Se­cu­rity Pol­icy Fel­low Caro­line Glick, has enu­mer­ated the rea­sons why in a pow­er­ful con­dem­na­tion in the Aug. 13 Jerusalem Post. Among them are the fol­low­ing:

“In prac­tice, [the res­o­lu­tion] makes it all but im­pos­si­ble for Is­rael to de­fend it­self against Hezbol­lah ag­gres­sion with­out be­ing ex­posed to in­ter­na­tional con­dem­na­tion on an un­prece­dented scale.”

“The res­o­lu­tion places re­spon­si­bil­ity for de­ter­min­ing com­pli­ance with U.N. Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Kofi An­nan. [He] has dis­tin­guished him­self as a man ca­pa­ble only of con­demn­ing Is­rael for its acts of self-de­fense, while ig­nor­ing the fact that in at­tack­ing Is­rael, its en­e­mies are guilty of war crimes. By em­pow­er­ing An­nan to eval­u­ate com­pli­ance, the res­o­lu­tion all but en­sures that Hezbol­lah will not be forced to dis­arm and that Is­rael will be forced to give up the right to de­fend it­self.”

“The res­o­lu­tion makes ab­so­lutely no men­tion of ei­ther Syria or Iran, with­out whose sup­port Hezbol­lah could nei­ther ex­ist nor wage an il­le­gal war against Is­rael. In so ig­nor­ing Hezbol­lah’s spon­sors, it ig­nores the re­gional as­pect of the cur­rent war and sends the mes­sage to th­ese two states that they may con­tinue to equip ter­ror­ist armies in Le­banon, the Pales­tinian Author­ity and Iraq with the latest weaponry with­out pay­ing a price for their ag­gres­sion.”

“[The new Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion] puts both the ques­tion of an arms em­bargo and Hezbol­lah’s dis­man­tle­ment off to some fu­ture date when Is­rael and Le­banon agree to the terms of a ‘per­ma­nent cease-fire.’ In ad­di­tion, it places the power to over­see an arms em­bargo against Hezbol­lah in the hands of the Le­banese gov­ern­ment, of which Hezbol­lah is a mem­ber.”

“From a U.S. per­spec­tive, the res­o­lu­tion dras­ti­cally in­creases the threat of a rad­i­cal Shi’ite re­volt in Iraq. Hezbol­lah is in­ti­mately tied to Iraqi Shi’ite ter­ror­ist Muq­tada alSadr. In April 2003, Hezbol­lah opened of­fices in south­ern Iraq and was in­stru­men­tal in train­ing the Mahdi Army, which Sadr leads. Dur­ing a demon­stra­tion in Bagh­dad [two weeks ago], Sadr’s fol­low­ers de­manded he con­sider them an ex­ten­sion of Hezbol­lah, and ex­pressed a gen­uine de­sire to par­tic­i­pate in Hezbol­lah’s war against the U.S. and Is­rael.”

Pres­i­dent Bush is to be com­mended for his ef­fort to make plain the dan­ger posed by Is­lam­o­fas­cists. By so do­ing he has also im­plic­itly un­der­scored the im­per­a­tive of wag­ing this war on the ide­o­log­i­cal level — what Don­ald Rums­feld has called the “bat­tle of ideas.” For far too long, Amer­ica has done far too lit­tle to fight and win on this front of the War for the Free World. We can no longer af­ford to do so.

Trag­i­cally, the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion has si­mul­ta­ne­ously dealt it­self a ma­jor tac­ti­cal set­back — and per­haps a se­ri­ous strate­gic one — in that war. By ne­go­ti­at­ing and sup­port­ing a cease-fire that leaves some of the most vir­u­lent and ag­gres­sive ad­her­ents to the Is­lam­o­fas­cist ide­ol­ogy in busi­ness, it has not only strength­ened Hezbol­lah. It em­bold­ened its state-spon­sors and fel­low-trav­el­ers the world over.

The cease-fire ef­fec­tively ne­go­ti­ated with Is­lamic fas­cists (al­beit through Le­banese and Euro­pean sur­ro­gates), will surely prove an in­ter­lude, not a per­ma­nent sus­pen­sion of hos­til­i­ties be­tween Hezbol­lah and its spon­sors on the one hand, and the Free World on the other. The length of that in­ter­lude and the mag­ni­tude of the dan­ger we will con­front there­after can only be sur­mised at this junc­ture. It seems a safe bet at this junc­ture, how­ever, that if the fight­ing re­sumes on the Is­lam­o­fas­cists’ terms and timetable, the threat to Is­rael, the United States and other free­dom-lov­ing na­tions will be sub­stan­tially greater even than it is to­day.

Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is pres­i­dent of the Cen­ter for Se­cu­rity Pol­icy in Wash­ing­ton and a colum­nist for The Wash­ing­ton Times.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.