Mitchell Bard 
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© Mitchell Bard 2016

Will This Really Be A War Against Terrorism?

President Bush is to be commended for his handling of our crisis and for mobilizing the whole world for a war against terrorism. The question now is whether this will be a comprehensive campaign or one that simply eliminates Osama bin Laden.

Everyone is falling all over themselves to be politically correct and say that Muslims are not all bad, that most are veritable princes of peace. Let’s look at reality for a moment. After the founding of Islam, Muslim armies moved out of Arabia and proceeded to create one of the greatest empires the world has ever known, one that lasted roughly 1300 years. When bin Laden and others whine about Western imperialism it is not because they dislike imperialism, it is because the West wiped out their own vast empire that they would like to restore. Remember the terrorists themselves say they are mounting a jihad, a holy war.

Let’s be clear about the threat we face. The problem is not just one guy in a cave in Afghanistan. Many Muslims share the views of bin Laden. These views may be a perversion of Islam, but they are not unique. Every week for more than 20 years, thousands of Iranians have chanted, “Death to Israel, Death to America.” Much was made of the fact that last week they didn’t use the whole chant, only the part about Israel, but the fact remains that Iran is a major sponsor of terrorism and many of its clerics are as fanatic as the Taliban.

Many other Islamic groups espouse terrorism, such as Islamic Jihad and Hamas. News reports indicate our Arab “allies” have bluntly told the Administration that they will not support any campaign against “freedom fighters” against Israel. If the U.S. goes along, much of the terrorist network will remain intact.

And it is not just Muslim fanaticism that drives terrorism. Many terrorists still have ideological agendas. Most people aren’t aware that the hijacking of multiple airliners in one day was not an unprecedented act. In 1970, Palestinian terrorists hijacked three airliners. When they tried to take over a fourth, an El Al plane, security guards on board foiled the plan. A few days later, though, the PFLP did hijack a fourth plane. All the planes were blown up after the passengers were taken off the planes. A number of Americans were held hostage and, ultimately, the Western nations that owned three of the four planes (Switzerland, Germany and Britain) capitulated and released all the terrorists who they’d captured. The PFLP is still operating and the terrorist who tried to take the El Al plane lives in Amman.

This raises the issue of the difficulty of finding the terrorists. Yes, bin Laden may be hard to find in the Afghan wilderness, but we know precisely where many of the others are. Ma’ariv ran a story that detailed precisely who ran which Palestinian terror group and where they lived in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. We know that many terror groups are hosted by Damascus. Others are in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley.

Obviously it is wrong to stereotype or harass Arab-Americans and other Muslims, but the fact that most Americans are law-abiding does not mean that all are. In fact, we know now that there are Muslim terrorists in our midst. We know that there are organizations that fund terrorist groups abroad. And some of the Arab-American leaders posing as victims have long histories of supporting the PLO and other Palestinian terrorist groups.

The State Department wants to prevent the war from going beyond Afghanistan. The Taliban regime is an easy hit, only three countries recognize it, and their most important ally, Pakistan, is now on our side. No one will oppose a war on them. It’s also likely we’ll hit Iraq, even if Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the latest attack. We have plenty of other reasons for going after him and few nations will object if we take him out.

A serious war must go after the principal sponsors of terror — Iran, Syria and the Palestinian Authority. If these nations are ignored, then it’s all bluster. Taking action against these regimes, however, will not be popular. The Muslim world that the Administration is fawning over will issue sufficiently dire threats – albeit idle ones — to intimidate the State Department. (As an aside, the President’s speech to the nation was great, but when he talked about bin Laden wanting to overthrow other Arab governments, he made countries like Saudi Arabia sound like citadels of democracy instead of the authoritarian theocracies that they are.)

If the attack against us was really akin to Pearl Harbor we would declare war on all of these nations. Despite the reduction in the size of our military, I still bet the nation that whipped Germany and Japan could take Iran, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. I have no illusion that this is going to happen.

If it were up to me, I’d take the Corleone approach at the end of the Godfather: Send in our special forces and take out all the leaders of terrorist organizations throughout the region all at once.

That’s the way it would be handled in the world of make believe. Let’s just hope the real world war against terrorism is equally unflinching.