Jewish World Review Sept. 25, 2001 / 8 Tishrei, 5762
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- IT is sometimes said that the cunning, when dealt a setback, or "lemon," often try to turn it to advantage by making lemonade. Thus we see three groups whose positions and equities were endangered in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks equities poised to transform their disaster to strategic benefit -- to the distinct detriment of the United States and its security.
First, the leaders of various Muslim-American organizations were right to be concerned that they would be tarred with the same brush as those responsible for the hijackings and the death and destruction they caused. After all, some of the most prominent of these groups have over the years sympathetically viewed Hamas and/or others who employ terrorism against America's ally, Israel, the Jews more generally and, in some cases, the United States, itself.
Two courageous observers of these organizations, JWR contributors Daniel Pipes and Stephen Emerson, have documented myriad examples of intolerant, and intolerable, behavior on the part of entities like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the American Muslim Alliance (AMA) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). (Many of Mr. Pipes' published, superb writings on the subject can be reviewed at DanielPipes.org). Other, even more virulently anti-American Islamic groups freely operating in this country featured prominently in a powerful one-hour documentary called "Jihad in America" which Mr. Emerson produced in 1994 and, amazingly, managed to get the Public Broadcasting System to air. (This film is now circulating in the halls of Congress and should be rebroadcast in its entirety as a public service.)
The evidence amassed by Pipes and Emerson confirms that most Muslims in this country should not be considered guilty by religious association. Yet, the Bush Administration risks being manipulated by some whose past associations are troubling. For example, the President's much-publicized visit to the Washington mosque last week was in the company of representatives of CAIR, AMA and MPAC. Extraordinary care must be exercised to ensure that Mr. Bush's laudable desire to avoid inflaming public attitudes against followers of Mohammed and to enlist Muslims here and abroad in his anti-terrorist campaign does not wind up legitimating people who have been part of the problem -- let alone giving them influential access to him and other top officials.
A second group working aggressively to obtain advantage from the President's war on terrorism includes many of the nations that the United States has long regarded as state-sponsors of terrorists and their activities. To be sure, National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice did say on one of the Sunday talk shows that, "There are no good terrorists and bad terrorists; that, in fact, support for terrorism is support for terrorism."
Still, Pakistan, Syria, Iran and Libya are said to be eligible for the U.S. government's Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval because they have, to varying degrees, responded positively to the United States' plight following the 9/11 attacks. Iraq -- which many believe was implicated in the first attack on the World Trade Center and may have been involved in the second, and final one, as well -- has clearly been taken off the target list for at least the "first stage" of the war on terrorism.
Meanwhile, Yasser Arafat is receiving more U.S. political support for his efforts to extort via terrorism additional, dangerous concessions from Israel than at any time since Bill Clinton left office. And the White House has reportedly rewarded Sudan -- one of the most odious, terrorist-sponsoring regimes on the planet -- for its "cooperation": The White House is said to have prevailed on Congress not to even finish work on the highly critical Sudan Peace Act, let alone to adopt terms that would "cut off" Khartoum's part of the terrorist network by shutting down its funding sources in the U.S. capital markets.
For their part, Russia and China -- who regard every one of these terrorist-sponsors as "clients" have their hands out for American rewards in exchange for "cooperation." Russia clearly hopes President Bush will now relent on his determination to withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and allow it to continue to garrote any effective missile defense program. China wants the United States to give it a veto in the UN Security Council over military action or at least turn a blind eye as Beijing wages its own war on "terrorism" in the form of aging Falun Gong practitioners, Tibetan monks and freedom-minded Taiwanese.
If President Bush allows such lemonade to be made by those who really remain on the other side in this nation's fight against terror, he risks undermining the moral grounds necessary to maintain popular support for his war effort. By relying on intelligence and other forms of cooperation from such bad actors, moreover, he risks the very success of that effort and the lives of those charged with conducting it.
Thirdly, one would have thought that those who contended that arms control and other multinational arrangements would provide for our security might have had the good grace to stay out of public sight at least for a decent interval after their world view blew up along with the terrorists' targets in New York and Washington. Instead, they have begun to surface again -- notably, on the op.ed. page of Monday's New York Times in the form of 1,000 word essay by Robert Wright. In this article, Mr. Wright argues that American sovereignty must be "surrendered" so that international monitoring regimes can mitigate the danger of biological, chemical or nuclear weapons being added to the terrorists' kit for future attacks.
Like the notion that terrorist-sponsoring nations can be our allies in the war on terrorism, the idea that such nations will honor arms control agreements they have already massively violated is dangerous foolishness. While one must admire the audacity of this school of lemonadery, if ever there were a time to be more mindful of the necessity of preserving and strengthening our sovereignty (whether to control our borders, to enable us to use force unilaterally if necessary or to deny access to our capital markets and other funding sources to those who would do us harm), this is it.
President Bush has his work cut out for him in this war on terrorism
and deserves our strong support as he prosecutes it. He will only make his
job tougher and endanger the support of our countrymen, however, if he lends
credibility or otherwise expiates those who have long had coming to them the
JWR contributor Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. heads the Center for Security Policy. Send your comments to him by clicking here.
09/11/01: Sudan envoy an exercise in futility?