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Jewish World Review April 2, 2002 / 20 Nisan, 5762

Michael Ledeen

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Faster, Please: The war falters | While we dither on and on, the brave and the innocent are being murdered throughout the Middle East by the enemies of freedom and democracy. These deaths, from Israeli hotel dining rooms and public markets, to the Arab and Iranian streets, are our responsibility. President Bush announced we would wage war on the terror network, and then permitted his policymakers to paralyze the war, and rollback his promises to take the struggle to the terrorists' homelands. Thus, the Passover massacres. Thus, the ongoing brutality against the Iranian people. Thus, the ongoing incitement to jihad against Jews and Americans in the Palestinian, Iraqi, Iranian, Egyptian, Jordanian, Syrian and Saudi press. Thus, the incredible lies in Saudi newspapers accusing Jews of draining the blood of young Muslims for festival pastries, and inventing an anti-Semitic Benjamin Franklin to justify the murder of Jews throughout the world. Anyone who believes that Saudi Arabia is a "moderate" country after all this should be forced to read Mein Kampf daily for a year, to perform a comparative analysis of Saudi publications, and to memorize Hitler's peace plans for Czechoslovakia and the Sudetenland.

For those keeping score, the Iranian Islamic Republic's top medical authority, Dr. Seyed-Ali Mahfoozi, announced this week that over 2,800 unidentified bodies have been buried in the last year. This brave proclamation came along with his rejection of government claims that several people killed in recent celebrations of the Iranian New Year, Norouz, were killed by accidental explosions of fireworks. "There are no records at the State's Legal Medicine Administration about any death having resulted due to fire crackers and explosives," he announced.

In other words, they were killed by the secret police.

The most recent victim, Mehdi Kashkouyi, was killed in Djahrom during a celebration of the Norouz Fire Festival, which has been banned by the regime. Kashkouyi was trying to prevent the assault of Bassij (secret police) forces against women celebrating the Zoroastrian holiday.

The violence has spread in recent days to the holiest cities in Iran, including Qom and Mashad and, inevitably, in Tehran itself. In Qom, government forces assaulted Shia holymen, including the children of some of the country's leading ayatollahs, both during the Shia mourning ritual of Ashura (the holiest day of the Shia calendar) and the funeral of the sister of Ayatollah Montazeri, an open critics of the regime who has been under house arrest for years. These Shia leaders consider the Islamic Republic a blasphemous regime, and they, along with their largely youthful followers, intend to continue their public defiance today, as the regime masses ever larger numbers of armed gangs.

These grim developments go unremarked by our "reporters" (even though most of it is available on the Internet, in English), and are greeted with cowardly silence from our leading policymakers. All manner of sensitive information about our military planning leaks from the intelligence community, but not a word about the systematic terror directed against the Iranian people, who look in despair to Washington for the support to which they are so richly entitled. This administration is betraying freedom-seeking people all over the Middle East, just as Bush the Elder did in the last days of the Gulf War, and just as Clinton did for eight shameful years.

Is there no resolve in this administration to right our past wrongs, defeat our enemies, and bring freedom to those who are dying in its cause? Do our feckless diplomats not know that they are writing shameful, terrible pages of autobiography while the terror network plans its next assault against us and our friends and allies?

President Bush has been remarkably consistent and correct: this war cannot be won until it defeats the regimes that sponsor terrorism. Iran is the mother of Islamic terrorism, and it has worked hand-in-glove with Yasser Arafat and the PLO for 30 years. Therefore the only coherent strategy for the United States is one that defeats the Islamic Republic and the PLO, along with the other terror masters in Riyadh, Damascus, and Baghdad.

The talk about peace, and the endless "plans" that emerge from one capital or another, are no more and no less than stalling tactics by those who oppose the president's vision. Peace in this world only follows victory in war. Enough talking, Mr. President. We've given our enemies too much time to plan their next murders. If we continue to dither, we condemn even more innocent people to their graves. Let's roll again. Faster, please.

JWR contributor Michael Ledeen is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of Tocqueville on American Character . Comment by clicking here.


03/26/02: The Revolution Continues: What's brewing in Iran
03/18/02: Iran simmers still: Where's the press?
03/05/02: We can't lose any more ground in Iran
02/14/02: The Great Iranian Hoax
02/12/02: Unnoticed Bombshell: Key information in a new book
01/31/02: The truth behind the Powell play
01/29/02: My past with "Johnny Jihad's" lawyer
01/21/02: It's Munich, all over again
01/08/02: What's the Holdup?: It's time for the next battles in the war against terrorism
12/11/01: We must be imperious, ruthless, and relentless
12/06/01: Remembering my family friend, Walt Disney
11/28/01: The Barbara Olson Bomb: Understanding the war
11/13/01: How We're Doing: The Angleton Files, IV
11/06/01: A great revolutionary war is coming
10/25/01: How to talk to a terrorist
10/23/01: Creative Reporting: Learning to appreciate press briefings
10/19/01: Not the Emmys: A Beltway award presentation
10/15/01: Rediscovering American character
10/11/01: Somehow, I've missed Arafat's praise of the first stage of our war on terrorism
10/04/01: What do we not know?
09/28/01: Machiavelli On Our War: Some advice for our leaders
09/25/01: No Room for the U.N.: Keeping Annan & co. out of the picture
09/21/01: Creative destruction
09/14/01: Who Killed Barbara Olson?
08/22/01: How Israel will win this war
08/15/01: Bracing for war
08/09/01: More Dithering Democrats
08/02/01: Delirious Dems
07/31/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit, cont'd
07/19/01: Be careful what you wish for
07/17/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit
07/05/01: Let Slobo Go
05/30/01: Anybody out there afraid of the Republicans?
05/09/01: The bad guys to the rescue
05/07/01: Bye-bye, Blumenthal
04/20/01: Handling China
04/11/01: EXAM TIME!
04/05/01: Chinese over-water torture
03/27/01: Fighting AIDS in Africa is a losing proposition
03/14/01: Big Bird, Oscar, and other threats
03/09/01: Time for a good, old-fashioned purge
03/06/01: Powell’s great (mis)adventure
02/26/01: The Clinton Sopranos
02/20/01: Unity Schmoonity: Sharon is defying the will of the people
01/30/01: The Rest of the Rich Story
01/22/01: Ashcroft the Jew
01/11/01: A fitting close to the Clinton years
12/26/00: Continuing Clinton's shameful legacy
12/21/00: Clinton’s gift for Bush

© 2001, Michael Ledeen