Jewish World Review Jan. 31, 2003 / 29 Shevat, 5763
Killing the terror regimes
It will not end with Iraq. The toppling of Saddam Hussein will make
the Middle East a better place, free a nation that has suffered
unspeakable cruelty, and shame the illiberal "peace movement" that even
now counsels appeasement and willful blindness in the face of evil.
Iraq should have been liberated during the first Gulf War; it cannot
happen soon enough.
But this is about more than Iraq. We are in a war against terrorism
-- more accurately, against radical Islamist terrorists and their state
sponsors. Saddam's regime is one of those sponsors and its downfall
will mark an important milestone on the road to victory. But there are
other sponsors, and they too must be replaced.
"First and foremost," writes Michael Ledeen in ""The War Against the Terror Masters," an absorbing guide to the war and our objectives in
waging it, "we must bring down the terror regimes, beginning with the
big three: Iran, Iraq, and Syria. And then we have to come to grips
with the Saudis." Those are the worst of the terror sponsors, but there
are others, including North Korea, Sudan, and the Palestinian Authority.
Of course it is important to kill or capture terrorists, to choke
off their finances, and to disrupt their conspiracies. But terrorist
movements are not self-sufficient. They need territory for camps and
safe havens, access to money and financial networks, weapons training,
communication technology, travel documents, and more. None of those can
reliably be had without institutional support -- government support. Al
Qaeda, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and Hamas would not be nearly so deadly
if it weren't for the regimes that sustain them. One of those regimes,
the Taliban dictatorship in Afghanistan, is no more. Only when the rest
of them are defanged will the terror threat be vanquished.
That doesn't mean the invasion of Iraq must necessarily be followed
by other invasions across the Middle East. As President Bush told
Congress in his State of the Union address, different threats call for
For example: Iran, the foremost sponsor of Islamist terrorism,
already seethes with antigovernment anger. The nation that has lived
under radical Islam the longest hates it the most; what the Iranian
people need from Washington is not a military incursion but clear moral
support. Bush's words of encouragement on Tuesday were good, but they
must be followed up by more: repeated condemnation of the mullahs'
repression, pro-freedom radio and TV broadcasts to Iran, and clandestine
support to the opposition.
In Syria, by contrast, public signs of dissent are few. Bringing
down Bashar Assad, the country's dictator, will take more than fanning
the flames of an already-smoldering revolution.
Washington might begin by reversing its long and perverse courtship
of Damascus. Instead of treating the Syrian regime as a partner in
combating terrorism, we ought to be bluntly spelling out the facts of
the Syrians' murderous record. Twenty years ago, they were involved in
the terror campaign against Americans in Lebanon, a Syrian-occupied
satellite. Today they openly support Hezbollah and shelter units of Al
Qaeda. "The Syrian regime must join the Iranians and the Iraqis on the
heap of failed Middle Eastern lies," says Ledeen. International
terrorism will remain a menace until it does.
The terror regimes supply the meat and drink of international
terror, and for that reason must be overturned. But that isn't all they
As it did in the Cold War and the war against Hitler, America is
fighting not just a military enemy but an ideological one. Moscow
commanded armies of soldiers and armies of true believers. Communism
was both a seductive economic creed and a doctrine of totalitarian
control. Islamism -- radical, violent Islam -- offers the terror
masters and their legions much the same thing. Though outwardly a
religious movement, it is as totalitarian as communism was, and no less
bent on conquest.
What broke the Soviet stranglehold on half of Europe and drained its
influence around the globe was more than US military pressure. So long
as the tide of history ran with the communists, their empire appeared
invincible, and that seeming invincibility was a lure to radicals the
world over. But in the 1980s, the tide of history turned. Grenada and
Afghanistan left the communist camp. Soviet dissidents won
international acclaim. An independent Polish trade union, emboldened by
a Polish pope, stared down the dictator in Warsaw. It became
increasingly clear that the communist vision was not, after all, the
wave of the future. The communist cause died, and with it the regimes
that embodied that cause.
Our mission now is to kill the Islamist cause. We can do so only by
killing the tyrannies that sustain it -- by demonstrating that Islamism
leads not to triumph but to defeat, not to power but to degradation.
Crush the Islamists' dream, and we crush the terrorism it feeds. We
made a good start in Kabul and Kandahar. Next stop: Baghdad.
Like this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.
01/29/03: How not to win the war
01/24/03: The UN's moral irrelevance
01/22/03: Musings, random and otherwise
01/17/03: The Sharpton hypocrisy
01/13/03: The fig leaf of 'diversity'
01/10/03: Israeli restraint makes terrorism more likely
01/02/03: The double standard on political hate speech
12/30/02: Good for the spirit, good for the body
12/23/02: The college president who owes a greater duty to a fugitive serial killer than the public or to the law
12/20/02: The death penalty by the numbers
12/16/02: Yes, Virginia, there is (still) a liberal media bias
12/03/02: On the brink of regime change --- in Iran
11/27/02: Light's victory over darkness
11/25/02: A 'Republican' lesson from a Democratic convention
11/22/02: The slippery senator
11/18/02: The campus 'diversity' fraud
11/14/02: MURDER AT A KIBBUTZ
11/01/02: Saddam's shop of horrors
10/24/02: Musings, random and otherwise
10/17/02: Jimma's ignoble prize
10/14/02: New Jersey's bigot laureate
10/11/02: Today it is libs who are most likely to demand the silencing of speech they disapprove of
10/04/02: Learning English from Day 1
09/30/02: The world will follow us to war
09/27/02: The face of antisemitism
09/20/02: Starving time in Zimbabwe
09/14/02: Against moral confusion / 9-12-2002
09/03/02: With 'eternal friends' like these
08/30/02: Enriching survivors was a costly mistake
08/26/02: John Kerry's absent passion
08/23/02: Bonnie, get your gun
08/19/02: A screenwriter's remorse
07/29/02: The real abortion extremists
07/26/02: Another round of Kemp-Roth
07/19/02: Jews among Arabs, Arabs among Jews
07/15/02: Musings, random and otherwise
07/12/02: The new civil rights champions
07/03/02: Riding the rails
07/01/02: The prerequisite to peace
06/24/02: Frisking AlGore
06/17/02: Offense, not defense, is the key to homeland security
06/14/02: Looking at the horror
06/07/02: The cost of a death-penalty moratorium
06/03/02: Executing 'children,' and other death-penalty myths
05/29/02: A real threat?
05/24/02: The message in Arafat's headdress
05/20/02: (Mis)playing the popularity card
05/10/02: Outspoken, Muslim -- and moderate
05/10/02: The heroes in Castro's jails
05/06/02: The disappearing history term paper
05/03/02: Musings, random and otherwise
04/29/02: The canary in Europe's mine
04/15/02: Powell's crazy mission
04/12/02: The slavery reparations hustle
04/08/02: Peace at any price = war
03/26/02: Decency matters most, Caleb
03/22/02: The U.S. embargo and Cuba's future
03/19/02: The keepers of Cuba's conscience
03/15/02: A walk in Havana
02/26/02: Buchanan's lament
02/12/02: What 'peace' means to Arafat
02/08/02: STEVEN EMERSON AND THE NPR BLACKLIST
02/05/02: Antismoking: Who pays?
02/01/02: Turn the Saudis
01/25/02: Making MLK cry
01/21/02: Ted to tax cut: Drop dead
01/18/02: Musings random and otherwise
01/14/02: An ultimatum to Saudi Arabia
01/11/02: Friendship, Saudi-style
01/07/02: Shakedown at Harvard
01/04/02: More guns, more safety
01/02/02: Smears and slanders from the Left
12/28/01: Congress gives to others -- and itself
12/24/01: The littlest peacemakers
12/20/01: How to condemn terror
12/18/01: Greenland once was
12/14/01: Parents who never said ''no''
12/11/01: Wit and (economic) wisdom
12/07/01: THE PALESTINIANS' MYTH
12/04/01: The war against Israel goes on
11/30/01: Tribunals, motorcycles -- and freedom
11/19/01: Friendship and the House of Saud
11/12/01: The Justice Department's unjust monopoly
11/09/01: Muslim, but not extremist
11/02/01: Too good for Oprah
10/29/01: Journalism and the 'neutrality fetish'
10/26/01: Derail these subsidies
10/22/01: Good and evil in the New York Times
10/15/01: Rush Limbaugh's ear
10/08/01: With allies like these
10/01/01: An unpardonable act
09/28/01: THE CENSORS ARE COMING! THE CENSORS ARE COMING!
09/25/01: Speaking out against terror
09/21/01: What the terrorists saw
09/17/01: Calling evil by its name
09/13/01: Our enemies mean what they say
09/04/01: The real bigots
08/31/01: Shrugging at genocide
08/28/01: Big Brother's privacy -- or ours?
08/24/01: The mufti's message of hate
08/21/01: Remembering the 'Wall of Shame'
08/16/01: If I were the editor ...
08/14/01: If I were the Transportation Czar ...
08/10/01: Import quotas 'steel' from us all
08/07/01: Is gay "marriage" a threat?
08/03/01: A colorblind nominee
07/27/01: Eminent-domain tortures
07/24/01: On protecting the flag ... and drivers ... and immigrants
07/20/01: Dying for better mileage
07/17/01: Why Americans would rather drive
07/13/01: Do these cabbies look like bigots?
07/10/01: 'Defeated in the bedroom'
07/06/01: Who's white? Who's Hispanic? Who cares?
07/02/01: Big(oted) man on campus
06/29/01: Still appeasing China's dictators
06/21/01: Cuban liberty: A test for Bush
06/19/01: The feeble 'arguments' against capital punishment
06/12/01: What energy crisis?
06/08/01: A jewel in the crown of self-government
05/31/01: The settlement myth
05/25/01: An award JFK would have liked
05/22/01: No Internet taxes? No problem
05/18/01: Heather has five mommies (and a daddy)
05/15/01: An execution, not a lynching
05/11/01: Losing the common tongue
05/08/01: Olympics 2008: Say no to Beijing
05/04/01: Do welfare mothers a kindness: Make them work
05/01/01: Another man's child
04/24/01: Sharon should have said no
04/02/01: The Inhumane Society
03/30/01: To have a friend, Caleb, be a friend
03/27/01: Is Chief Wahoo racist?
03/22/01: Ending the Clinton appeasement
03/20/01: They're coming for you
03/16/01: Kennedy v. Kennedy
03/13/01: We should see McVeigh die
03/09/01: The Taliban's wrecking job
03/07/01: The No. 1 reason to cut taxes
03/02/01: A Harvard candidate's silence on free speech
02/27/01: A lesson from Birmingham jail
02/20/01: How Jimmy Carter got his good name back
02/15/01: Cashing in on the presidency
02/09/01: The debt for slavery -- and for freedom
02/06/01: The reparations calculation
02/01/01: The freedom not to say 'amen'
01/29/01: Chavez's 'hypocrisy': Take a closer look
01/26/01: Good-bye, good riddance
01/23/01: When everything changed (mostly for the better)
01/19/01: The real zealots
01/16/01: Pardon Clinton?
01/11/01: The fanaticism of Linda Chavez
01/09/01: When Jerusalem was divided
01/05/01 THEY NEVER FORGOT THEE, O JERUSALEM
12/29/00 Liberal hate speech, 2000
12/15/00Does the Constitution expect poor children be condemned to lousy government schools?
12/08/00 Powell is wrong man to run State Department
12/05/00 The 'MCAS' teens give each other
12/01/00 Turning his back on the Vietnamese -- again
11/23/00 Why were the Pilgrims thankful?
11/21/00 The fruit of this 'peace process' is war
11/13/00 Unleashing the lawyers
11/17/00 Gore's mark on history
40 reasons to say NO to Gore
© 2002, Boston Globe