Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Jan. 3, 2000 /24 Teves, 5760

Don Feder

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
David Corn
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Arianna Huffington
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Robert Samuelson
Debbie Schlussel
Sam Schulman
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports
Weekly Standard



On Chechnya, U.S. is dumb and dumber -- BORIS YELTSIN is gone; the war in Chechnya is ongoing. If the West isn't exactly repeating its Kosovo blunder in Chechnya, it's only because Russia has a nuclear arsenal. So, instead of bombing Moscow as we blitzed Belgrade, we're standing on the sidelines chanting that the Kremlin is conducting a genocidal war.

The poor Chechens only want to be free -- free to pursue their national pastime of kidnapping for ransom, run terrorist training camps, blow up Moscow apartment buildings and spread Islamic revolution to neighboring states.

Here's the Chechen War, round II, in context.

In June, NATO turned Kosovo over to our narco-terrorist allies in the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). Several weeks later, fighting erupted in the Russian republic of Dagestan. Coincidence?

Moslem guerrillas from Chechnya invaded with the announced intention of establishing an Islamic state. The Dagestanis -- Moslims who would rather not have the equivalent of Afghanistan's Taliban regime forced on them -- resisted. The Chechens destroyed villages, murdered men in front of their families and displaced more than 32,000.

Russia sent in the troops to meet the menace. In retaliation, a series of explosions rocked Moscow and other Russian cities in September, killing more than 300 people. How would America react if terrorists from Mexico started blowing up apartment buildings in Los Angeles?

The government of then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Yeltsin's successor, decided that enough was enough and took the conflict to its source.

Moscow initially lost control of Chechnya in 1996, when Islamic separatists fought it to a draw. Thereafter, what passed for a government in Grozny has proved incapable of keeping order.

In the past three years, militant bands have taken more than 1,000 hostages. Russians and foreigners are seized and tortured. (A 13-year-old Russian girl had two fingers cut off.). Videotapes of the ordeals are sent to relatives with ransom demands. The money raised finances Holy War throughout the Caucasus.

International Islam advances on many fronts -- Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, Dagestan, the Kashmir and the West Bank. These campaigns are connected and coordinated.

Osama bin Laden, the Saudi architect of embassy explosions who also supported the KLA, has ties to Chechnya via Khattab, the Jordanian-born co-commander of the Dagestan incursion.

Yossef Bodansky, director of the Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare for the U.S. House of Representatives and author of "Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America,'' notes that Khattab has been a bin Laden protege since 1987.

In 1994, the Saudi sent Khattab to Tajikistan to aid Islamic revolution there, then transferred him to Chechnya in 1995.

Bodansky says forensic tests show the explosive devices in the Moscow bombings are similar to those used to blow up U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania last year.

While we fretted about the terrorist mastermind attacking America on New Year's, the Clinton administration continued to slam Russia for using excessive force against bin Laden's Chechen allies.

National Security Advisor Sandy Berger urged Moscow to "deal with it (terrorism) within the constitutional framework.'' How? By inviting the terrorists to a parliamentary debate? Resolved: That bombings and torture aren't nice.

Russian forces in Chechnya are waging a brutal war against brutal people. It's true, there have been incidents of indiscriminate shelling and looting. What the '60s antiwar activists who run the Clinton White House fail to understand is that there will always be moral lapses in a counterinsurgency effort. (There were in Vietnam.) But, just as America fought for civilization in Southeast Asia, Russia is doing the West's work in the Caucasus.

Our miscalculation in Chechnya is consistent with a foreign policy that sees the Kosovo Liberation Army as heroes, the Serbs as a threat to European stability, China as a "a strategic ally'' and Israel as the party which must sacrifice its security as the price of Middle East peace.

If providing moral support for Islamic revolution in the Caucasus weren't enough, by condemning Moscow's Chechen offensive, we are signaling Russia that, even after the Cold War, we are still its enemy and driving it into the arms of Beijing. Dumb and dumber.

JWR contributing columnist Don Feder's latest book is Who's Afraid of the Religious Right. Comment on his column by clicking here.

Don Feder Archives

© 2000, Creators Syndicate