' Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.

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Jewish World Review April 15, 2003 / 13 Nisan, 5763

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.

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http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | The Bush Administration is obliquely serving notice on Syria that it could be the next country liberated in the war on terror. Mr. Bush's critics at home and abroad are horrified at the possibility that this conflict might take such a turn. If they wish to avoid such a step, however, they should learn a signal lesson from the now-nearly-accomplished liberation of Iraq: War is more likely to be made unnecessary if would-be critics support the President, than by their opposing him.

After all, it now seems clear that Saddam Hussein made the latest -- and probably last -- of his famous miscalculations by believing that the United States would be talked out of, or otherwise forestalled from, launching military operations against Iraq. In the end, he bet his regime on the ability of peace activists and sympathetic veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council to prevent Gulf War II. If all else failed and President Bush actually initiated hostilities, Saddam evidently felt confident of his forces' ability to shed enough American blood to inflame anti-war movement and assure his survival yet again.

With the swift and decisive destruction of the Iraqi regime, things should look very different to the remaining members of the "Axis of Evil" (North Korea and Iran) and other rogue states like Syria. If not encouraged to believe otherwise, these countries' governments --which are no less odious than the one ruled until recently by Saddam Hussein -- have every reason to believe that they are at risk of meeting a fate similar to his, unless they undertake significant and far-reaching changes.

Syria most especially has cause to take seriously President Bush's demands for behavior modification. Like Iraq, it is a long-time sponsor of international terrorism. Most of the world's terror organizations have long been given headquarters, branch offices and/or training facilities on Syria's territory or in Syrian-controlled Lebanon.

Like Iraq, Syria has also been involved for decades in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). In addition to its own chemical and biological stocks, and considerable quantities of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles for their delivery, Damascus may have acquired some of Saddam's WMD spirited out of Iraq.

Lately, the Syrian regime has foolishly offered Mr. Bush several further justifications for the use of force against it. It appears to be granting refuge to members of Saddam's ruling clique; on Sunday, U.S. forces captured his half-brother, Watban Ibrahim Hassan, near Mosul on one of the principal roads leading to Syria. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said other Iraqi officials have been allowed to elude capture by transiting Syria for third countries.

The U.S. government has alleged that Syrians have also provided night-vision equipment and presumably other war materiel to enable Saddam loyalists to attack American servicemen and women. Worse yet, they have permitted another deadly export: "busloads" of non-Iraqi death squads, some of whom have been apprehended with hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and leaflets offering bounties for those who kill U.S. personnel. These are indisputably unfriendly acts.

President Bush has said that, in the war on terror, countries are either with us or against us. While some in the CIA and State Department insist that the Ba'athist regime in Syria qualifies as being among the former insofar as it has provided us with some helpful intelligence, a net assessment suggests that such assistance is more than offset by Syria's ill-concealed efforts on behalf of our enemies.

Should the Syrians fail to end such hostile activity forthwith, the United States and a coalition of the willing should bring to bear whatever techniques are necessary -- including military force -- to effect behavior modification and/or regime change in Damascus, as well. By so doing, freedom stands to get a two-fer: liberating both Syria and Lebanon, the country Hafez Assad rapaciously colonized in the mid-1970s and that Damascus has brutally dominated ever since, despite a formal, international commitment to relinquish it some twenty years ago.

Few steps would do more to create an opportunity for a real, just and durable Arab-Israeli peace than to accompany the liquidation of Saddam's support for suicide bombers and other forms of terror with the elimination of the Syrian/Lebanese base of operations of and much of the support for Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), which Attorney General John Ashcroft has described as "one of the most violent terrorist organizations in the world." The region's transformation -- and its hopes for a more peaceable future -- could be decisively advanced if behavior modification and/or regime change were to follow in Iran and Saudi Arabia.

It should come as no surprise that there will be other fronts in the war on terror. As George W. Bush made known shortly after September 11, 2001, this is a global conflict that will take years to wage. With luck, by making an object lesson of Iraq to other enemies in that war and by garnering the broadest possible support for doing so, we can accomplish the conditions required for the Free World's victory without further resort to large-scale military operations.

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JWR contributor Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. heads the Center for Security Policy. Send your comments to him by clicking here.


04/08/03: Winning the peace
03/05/03: A friend in need
02/25/03: The plot thickens
02/18/03: Who's 'with' President Bush?
02/11/03: Islamists' White House gatekeeper
02/04/03: The Powell report
01/28/03: Bush's finest hour
01/14/03: North Korean scorecard
01/07/03: Nuclear meltdown
12/17/02: Serious about defending America
12/03/02: Defining 'regime change'
11/26/02: With friends like the Saudis...
11/19/02: The Jayna Davis files
11/12/02: Could Israel die of thirst?
11/04/02: Against us
10/22/02: Too clever by half?
10/17/02: 'Drain the swamps'
10/08/02: The temptations of George Bush
10/01/02: Return of the San Francisco Dems
09/24/02: The next crusader?
09/17/02: It is no accident that advocates of coercive inspections have opposed prez's goal of regime change
09/10/02: A model for Iraq
08/27/02: Beware 'consensus leadership'
08/20/02: To Iraq or not to Iraq?
08/13/02: Trading with the 'enemy'
07/30/02: Who's trashing Ashcroft?
07/23/02: Wall Street's 'poisoned apples'
07/16/02: Back on the China front
07/09/02: See no evil?
07/02/02: Rethinking peacekeeping
06/25/02: Political moment of truth on defense
06/19/02: Inviting losses on two fronts
06/12/02: Make missile defense happen
06/04/02: The next 'Day of Infamy'?
05/29/02: Bush's Russian gamble
05/21/02: The 'next war'
05/15/02: Ex-presidential misconduct
05/07/02: When 'what if' is no game
05/02/02: Careful what we wish for
04/24/02: The real 'root cause' of terror
04/02/02: First principles in the Mideast
03/26/02: 'Renounce this map'
03/20/02: The inconvenient ally
03/12/02: Adults address the 'unthinkable'
03/05/02: The Saudi scam
02/26/02: Rumsfeld's 'now hear this'
02/19/02: Where's the outrage?
02/12/02: Post-mortem on 'Pearl Harbor II'
02/05/02: Spinning on the 'Evil Axis'
01/29/02: A challenge for the history books
01/22/02: Who pulled the plug on the Chinese 'bugs'?
01/15/02: No 'need to know'
01/08/02: Sentenced to de-nuclearize?
12/18/01: Missile defense mismanagement?
12/11/01: Is the Cold War 'over'?
12/04/01: A moment for truth
11/29/01: Send in the marines -- with the planes they need
11/27/01: 'Now Hear This': Does the President Mean What He Says?
11/20/01: Mideast 'vision thing'
11/13/01: The leitmotif of the next three days
11/06/01: Bush's Reykjavik Moment
10/30/01: Say it ain't true, 'W.
10/23/01: Getting history, and the future, right
10/16/01: Farewell to arms control
10/05/01: A time to choose
09/25/01: Don't drink the 'lemonade'
09/11/01: Sudan envoy an exercise in futility?
09/05/01: Strategy of a thousand cuts
08/28/01: Rummy's back
08/21/01: Prepare for 'two wars'
08/14/01: Why does the Bush Administration make a moral equivalence between terrorist attacks and Israel's restrained defensive responses?
08/07/01: A New bipartisanship in security policy?
07/31/01: Don't go there
07/17/01: The 'end of the beginning'
07/10/01: Testing President Bush
07/03/01: Market transparency works
06/27/01: Which Bush will it be on missile defense?
06/19/01: Don't politicize military matters
06/05/01: It's called leadership
06/05/01: With friends like these ...
05/31/01: Which way on missile defense?
05/23/01: Pearl Harbor, all over again
05/15/01: A tale of two Horatios
05/08/01: The real debate about missile defense
04/24/01: Sell aegis ships to Taiwan
04/17/01: The 'hi-tech for China' bill
04/10/01: Deal on China's hostages -- then what?
04/03/01: Defense fire sale redux
03/28/01: The defense we need
03/21/01: Critical mass
03/13/01: The Bush doctrine
03/08/01: Self-Deterred from Defending America
02/27/01: Truth and consequences for Saddam
02/21/01: Defense fire sale
02/13/01: Dubya's Marshall Plan
02/05/01: Doing the right thing on an 'Arab-Arab dispute'
01/30/01: The missile defense decision
01/23/01: The Osprey as Phoenix
01/17/01: Clinton's Parting Shot at Religious Freedom
01/09/01: Wake-up call on space
01/02/01: Secretary Rumsfeld
12/27/00: Redefining our Ukraine policy
12/19/00: Deploy missile defense now
12/12/00: Sabotaging space power
12/05/00: Preempting Bush
11/28/00: What Clinton hath wrought
11/21/00: HE'S BAAAACK
11/14/00: The world won't wait

© 2001, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.