Jewish World Review March 12, 2003 / 8 Adar II, 5763
Debra J. Saunders
Overblown whistle blowing
IN THE seven-page letter FBI agent/whistle blower
Coleen Rowley sent to FBI Director Robert Mueller --
via the front page of the New York Times -- Rowley
parroted the anti-war corner's oft-made assertion that
a U.S. attack on Iraq "will, in all likelihood, bring an
exponential increase in the terrorist threat to the
U.S., both at home and abroad."
It's an odd argument that Rowley essentially
endorsed: There is no link between Saddam Hussein
and al Qaeda, but if the United States attacks Iraq, al
Qaeda likely will attack Americans.
Will war with Iraq precipitate terrorist attacks? French
President Jacques Chirac said Monday, "War can
only lead to the development of terrorism."
But as White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told a
press gaggle last week, critics made the same
doomsday prediction before U.S. forces went after
the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The anticipated terrorist attacks did not occur.
Alas, the past provides no guarantee that terrorist
attacks will not follow a military invasion of Baghdad.
President Bush is taking a risk -- but the risk is that
a terrorist attack might occur sooner rather than
"Whether or not there's war," White House
spokesman Ken Lisaius noted, "there are still people
who want to attack the United States." Al Qaeda
operatives will still be here if we don't go to war with
As a U.S. intelligence official put it, "If there is an
attack on Iraq, (terrorists) may use that as a pretext,
an excuse. They may think that our focus is
elsewhere. But that's not necessarily a reason to not
take care of our business in Iraq. If you let (the threat
of an attack) deter you from what you have to do,
you'll never do anything."
President Bush can't let a short-term threat hobble a
long-term war. Bush has seen how the short
attention span of the United States and United
Nations emboldened both Saddam Hussein and
Osama bin Laden. Hussein lost the first Persian Gulf
war, then won the diplomatic battles when he
essentially kicked U. N. inspectors out of Iraq in
1998, with little consequence. Osama bin Laden took
heart when American troops pulled out of Somalia
after a deadly ambush.
If attacking Iraq does one thing, it will show Hussein
and others that there are consequences when they
cross the line too often.
Rowley was a heroine when she blew the whistle on
FBI bureaucratic incompetence after the arrest of
(now convicted terrorist) Zacarias Moussaoui. It's sad
that she decided to deflate her own stock with this
letter. She means well. She has a right to express
her opinion, but she shouldn't be surprised if
observers are shocked at her lack of understanding of
For example, Rowley asserted that "the
administration's new policy of 'pre- emptive strikes'
abroad is not consistent with the Department of
Justice's 'deadly force policy' for law enforcement
Wrong on two counts.
As FBI spokesman John Iannarelli pointed out,
Rowley's not even accurate on the law enforcement
side. "Use of deadly force by law enforcement is pre-
emptive by nature. If you're not in a position to do
that pre-emptively, you're probably already dead."
I'll add: Pre-emptive strikes are hardly new. Just ask
folks in Kosovo, Bosnia and Panama.
What's more, Hussein started this mess by
pre-emptively striking against U. N. resolutions
essential to keeping the peace -- over and over again
for 12 years.
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© 2000, Creators Syndicate