Jewish World Review Sept. 20, 2004 / 5 Tishrei, 5765

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Terror-ble ‘mainstream media’ | What are we to make of the New York Times describing terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as a "Jordanian militant"? I mean this guy is one of the most vicious al Qaeda thugs in the world; right now he's behind much of the violence in Iraq and has been active in the worldwide terror network since at least 1990.

On June 17 of this year, a U.S. intelligence official provided my researcher Nate Fredman with the following information: In early 2000, Zarqawi traveled to Afghanistan to assume a leadership position in an al Qaeda training camp. There, he and his associates trained other terrorists how to develop and distribute "toxins."

Zarqawi stayed in the Al Qaeda area until war broke out after Sept. 11, 2001. He actively fought against U.S. forces and was wounded. After the collapse of the Taliban, he fled to Iran and then traveled to Iraq, where his wounded leg was treated in a hospital run by Uday Hussein.

In the summer of 2002, Zarqawi went to Northern Iraq to train terrorists with the group Ansar al-Islam, which is affiliated with al Qaeda. After the United States invaded Iraq, Zarqawi went underground to organize resistance. The CIA believes Zarqawi personally beheaded American hostage Nicholas Berg, and there is now a $25 million bounty on his head.

U.S. intelligence officials say there is no question that Zarqawi is associated with al Qaeda, but to the New York Times he is a "Jordanian militant." That seems to be a rather benign description of a vicious terrorist killer, doesn't it?

The reason the Times and some other liberal media operations continue to downplay Zarqawi and, indeed, the entire worldwide terror threat, is twofold: First, the liberal press does not want another pre-emptive strike against terrorists like the one the USA launched against Iraq. By denying Zarqawi was an al Qaeda guy, the liberal media can falsely claim Saddam had nothing to do with al Qaeda.

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And secondly, the anti-Bush press believes that terrorism is the president's strongest issue. So keeping the very real danger of coordinated terror down is a good political strategy for those who want to see President John Kerry.

That's why the al Qaeda relationship with the brutal Chechen terrorists was muted. Both Russian and U.S. intelligence say al Qaeda is deeply involved with training and funding the Chechen killers. But you wouldn't know much about that by reading many American newspapers, which described the Chechen child murderers as "insurgents" or, yes, "militants."

The truth is that terrorists do seek one another out and cooperate. The IRA, for example, used PLO training facilities in North Africa and the Middle East. And Zarqawi himself traveled to Lebanon in the summer of 2002 to meet with leaders of Hezbollah, another lethal terror group. The terrorism fraternity is small but determined. These guys know and often help one another.

That's what's happening in Iraq right now. With foreign terrorists infiltrating into that country through Iran and Syria, Iraq has become the battleground for worldwide terror, and that's why the struggle is so important. And Zarqawi is right in the middle of it.

So let's call worldwide terror what it is: a fanatical confederation bent on destroying a variety of targets including the USA. Zarqawi, the Chechen killers, and all the other fascist barbarians aren't militants or freedom fighters. They are all part of the terror club, and the duty of an American president is to somehow render them defeated. And the duty of the press is to tell it like it is.

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JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author of, most recently, "Who's Looking Out for You?" Comments by clicking here.

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