Skip to comments.Be warned: drawing a single tooth will not stop a mad dog
Posted on 09/12/2001 6:18:33 PM PDT by dighton
YOU dont eliminate malaria by swatting mosquitoes. And the violence unleashed on America yesterday will not be contained, let alone eradicated, by measures taken against individual terrorists. Tough action is now required by the West not just against groups of politically motivated criminals but against the causes of the worlds greatest single crime.
The fingerprints of Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda group have been detected amid the wreckage of yesterdays attack and there has been a widespread demand for immediate retribution. But the West should not delude itself that the removal of bin Laden would eliminate the threat.
Not only is bin Ladens organisation capable of withstanding the removal of its figurehead, it is itself only one arm of the totalitarian Islamist terror now directed against the West. Tackling this threat at its root will require resolute action against those states which sponsor, facilitate and organise Islamist terror: Syria, Sudan, Iran and, above all, Iraq.
Action against Iraq is, if not the most urgent, certainly the most important step the free world can take to safeguard its security. No other regime can equal its combined potential for chaos; the technological advances in weaponry, the international espionage, subversion and terror network, the history of totalitarian radicalisation, the sustained sense of grievance against the West and the ruthlessness of its elite and leader.
There is already formidable evidence linking Saddams regime to bin Ladens organisation. And there is already proof that Saddam has been subordinating all other goals to the creation of weaponry with which he can hold the world, and not just four aircraft, permanently hostage.
In calibrating an appropriate response, the US and its allies should bear three factors in mind; the nature of the terrorist networks now operating, the pre-eminent threat from Saddam Hussein, and the wider circumstances which allow Islamist totalitarianism to flourish.
Firstly, it must be recognised that bin Ladens organisation, Al-Qaeda, is far more sophisticated than its association with the plimsolled mountain warriors of the Taleban suggests. In May of this year devastating details of Al-Qaedas modus operandi were laid bare when a US jury returned guilty verdicts against four terrorists responsible for bombing American embassies in East Africa.
The trial evidence showed Al-Qaeda involvement in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre. The court also learnt that bin Ladens organisation is an umbrella grouping which co-ordinates activities among Hezbollah in the Lebanon, Islamic Jihad in Egypt and the Armed Islamic Group in Algeria as well as other terrorist networks across the Middle East. It may be emotionally satisfying for the West to demand of the Taleban, bring me the head of Osama bin Laden. But drawing a single tooth will not stop a mad dog.
What would begin to impede Al-Qaedas activities is a long-overdue crackdown on its operations in the West. Al-Qaeda operates through business interests and religious groupings in the US and UK. Moreover, bin Laden has had known cells in America for some time now, including operatives in New York, Florida, California and Virginia.
The whole apparatus of support on which bin Laden and his confederates rely must be removed, and the ideological poison on which they rely must be drawn.
Which brings us to the second key factor the centrality of Saddam.
Painstaking research by the American Enterprise Institute scholar Laurie Mylroie has established a web of connections between Saddam and Al-Qaedas terrorists. Not only was the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing mastermind, Ramzi Yousef, an Iraqi intelligence agent, but recent reports have confirmed a growing closeness between Baghdad and bin Laden.
A senior Iraqi intelligence official, Farouk Hijazi, visited bin Laden in Afghanistan in December of 1998. The CIA has been in receipt of several reports indicating that Saddam was forging links at every level with bin Laden. And the Iraqi opposition figure Ahmed Allawi has warned the West that there is a long history of contacts between the Mukhabarat (Iraqi secret service) and Osama bin Laden. Al-Qaeda and other allied Islamist terrorists need the help only established states can give them. Sudan and Iran have both played a part, with the Sudanese President, Omar Bashir, waiving tax and import duties for Al-Qaeda organisations. But it is Iraq which is at the apex of these atrocities.
And it is important to remember that deployment of Al-Qaeda is only one of Iraqs instruments of terror. Iraq has continued to develop its stockpile of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction. The failure of President Clinton to back Unscoms work in Iraq has allowed Saddam to develop an arsenal which, whether delivered by suitcase, suicide bomber or missile, could transcend even yesterdays death toll.
Saddam has made no secret of his aim to use Islamist terror as a weapon to develop not just regional hegemony but the humiliation of the West and its allies. Although he came to power as a secular Baathist he is, in truth, the most cynical of dictators for whom any totalitarianism will do.
Tempting as it may be, in the search for a solution, to believe that removing Saddam would bring salvation, even that would not be enough. Like Hitler before him, he has presided over what the German historian Ian Kershaw has identified as the cumulative radicalisation common to totalitarian regimes. Tyrants need to keep an oppressed people at a pitch of fervour against an external enemy in order to maintain power. But what starts as an instrument of power becomes the defining feature of society. Terror moves from being a regimes means to its end.
Which brings us to the third key point. The only way to end malaria is to deprive the mosquitoes of their breeding ground. To drain the swamp.
The marshland in which Islamist terror, including Saddams prospers, is a consequence of the wetness of the West. As the Middle East scholar David Wurmser has pointed out, Islamism was never weaker than after the Gulf War.
But that authority was squandered when the West failed to back democratic forces ready to topple Saddam. Weakness, not least Clintons desertion of the Iraqi National Congress in 1995, sent a clear signal to the Middle East. The vigorous waving of the White Flag.
The West has failed to realise that Islamism, as exploited by Saddam and his allies, is a totalitarianism just like communism and fascism, with its leaders drawn from technical elites and its ideology equally utopian and implacable. That failure has led us to appease the unappeasable.
We have long known that Iraq has been bent on terror, that bin Ladens organisation was its main agent and the US was its prime target. After such knowledge, what forgiveness? The only answer now has to be the draining of the marsh from which this whole contamination has sprung.
Copyright 2001 Times Newspapers Ltd.</font color>
Fine, that is as it should be. I think George Bush has the right characteristics to build such a relationship, which could be enormously beneficial for both nations, and for the world.
I learned a useful saying while traveling in the Mid-East:
When a caravan leaves the village all the village dogs bark -- but caravans do not stop for barking dogs.
The British author of this posted article is a barking dog and his supporters on this thread are its fleas.
The great majority of the British public will support Prime Minister Blair's determination to participate -- militarily -- with the United States.
So will the people in the rest of NATO. So will the people of Russia, China, India and France, countries headed by rational intelligent leaders who will (I predict) support or even assist our military in its anti-terroristic efforts.
As those events unfold in coming weeks, this barking dog and its fleas will be remembered, if at all, as irrelevancies
I closed with a link to this thread.
Maybe it will bring some people over here.