Jewish World Review March 24, 2004 / 2 Nissan, 5764

Michael Graham

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The only good terrorist

http://www.jewishworldreview.com | I'm just a simple country boy from Pelion, South Carolina, so maybe I don't understand the nuance and subtleties of international politics. But it seems to me — and I may be going out on a limb here — that dead terrorists are a good thing.

So I thought, in my simple-mindedness, that the conversion of Sheik Ahmed Yassin from murderous Hamas founder to small pile of human remains would be greeted with universal joy. After all, Yassin lead Hamas on one long killing spree, taking the lives of Jewish women and children engaged in such oppressive, Zionist activities as eating pizza and attending a Passover supper. Hamas, like Al Qaeda, openly espoused, practiced and carried out murders, bombings, shootings, stabbings — even disguising bombs as toy cars and planes. Yassin's special gift was using his position as a "spiritual leader" to convince the devout that murdering window shoppers and mall security guards would bring great blessings from Allah.

If there is a G-d currently judging Sheik Yassin's fate in the next life, I have but one request on his behalf: More heat.

But for some reason, the death of this lifelong, soul-poisoning terrorist murderer has not inspired celebration. Instead, the Europeans are calling it "unacceptable and unjustified," and the United Nations is denouncing the execution of Sheik Yassin as "contrary to international law." Even the Bush Administration, who once waved high the "You're with us or with the terrorists" banner, is now saying that Israel's decision to turn Yassin into a sticky puddle of sidewalk scrapings is "troubling."

Troubling? What can possibly be troubling about a dead terrorist? A live one, now that's trouble. But when a terrorist goes from raising money and recruiting murder bombers to fertilizing indigenous flora, that's no trouble at all.

Imagine for a moment that Osama bin Laden had taken a missile in the midsection from an American chopper in Afghanistan or Pakistan or (irony of ironies) Iraq. Would we expect any of our allies to call such a death "troubling?" Would the Europeans denounce the execution of Osama as "unjustified?" If they did, wouldn't we consider bombing them, too?

This is where I fail the "John Kerry European Ally" test for suavity and sophistication. In my simple mind, a terrorist is a terrorist. Osama is Yassin is Arafat is Saddam. They all funded, trained, aided and inspired people to target and kill innocent civilians in the name of their cause.

Not everyone disagrees. People like Michael Moore think that some terrorists — Saddam Hussein, for example — should be left alone to practice their terrorism. They reject the idea of warring against terrorism itself, and prefer instead a "War On Only Those Terrorists Whose Defeat Won't Help George Bush's Poll Numbers."

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So to with the erudite Europeans. They agree that Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda are evil, but Sheik Yassin and Hamas are, well, hmmm….that's a hard question. I don't know why that question is so tricky for the sophisticates of Europe. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Hamas usually kills Jews, I'm not sure. It is interesting that, among French intellectuals, Mel Gibson is an anti-Semite and Yasser Arafat isn't.

That requires a level of mental nimbleness I have yet to master.

President Bush's opponents frequently bemoan his simple-mindedness, and I think they are right. President Bush's war on terror is premised on idea almost Martha Stewart-like in its simplicity: Terrorism, it's a bad thing. And unlike his opponents, President Bush doesn't make distinctions between the terrorists funded by Islamic extremists in Saudi Arabia or the ones funded by secular Ba'athists like Saddam Hussein. The Bush policy, which I support, is that terrorism in and of itself is unacceptable, and it is up to those of us who reject it to kill those who use it. Period.

Or make that "comma," because the Bush White is waffling on the execution of Sheik Yassin. I understand that there are larger political forces at work having to do with balancing the competing interests between Arab nations and Israel and our efforts to negotiate a peace plan, yada, yada, yada.

But that doesn't mean we should challenge the legitimacy of a democratic nation and its freely-elected government whacking a terrorist responsible for hundreds of dead civilians. Those hundreds, measured as a percentage of the Israeli population, would equal 20,000 dead Americans. Would a President Bush or even a President Kerry hesitate for a moment before dropping a GPS-guided bomb on a terrorist responsible for murdering 20,000 Americans? Of course not.

Ah, but it's not that simple, or so I am told. Isn't it interesting that, for those Americans who lack the courage to confront terrorism as inherently evil, nothing is simple? The radicals of the '60s who murdered bank clerks or campus cops need to be "understood in their time," their passion admired. The Palestinians who bomb bus stops deserve our empathy and patience. Saddam's terror wasn't directed at us, only at our allies. And as recently as November 2000, a spokesman for the American Muslim Council stood across the street from the White House and shouted, "We are all supporters of Hamas!"

Now Hamas has declared America to be its next target. Will these people still support Hamas when the suicide bombers hit Ft. Jackson or the Charleston Air Force Base? Will American sophisticates still see greater good or geo-political aspects of a backpack bomb set off in New York or L.A.?

Like I said, I'm a simple sort of guy. The only "good" terrorist I know is Sheik Yassin. In his current condition, of course.

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JWR contributor Michael Graham is a talk show host and author of the highly acclaimed "Redneck Nation: How the South Really Won the War." To comment, please click here.

Up

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06/03/03: War games
05/28/03: A few small reparations
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© 2003, Michael Graham