Apparently, they believed hundreds of thousands of Muslims all around the globe would flock to the banner of their Jihad against America and (rarely omitted from their list of grievances) against the very existence of the State of Israel. A pitiably weak and decadent America was supposed to "cry uncle," abandon its policy of recognizing the sovereignty of Israel, pull back its military and commercial presence from anywhere in the Arab/Islamic world and ... well, who knows what else they dreamed.
Indeed, a few thousand misguided young Arab men do seem to have headed for Afghanistan (from places as unlikely as London) to help support the Taliban in its attempt to guard Osama bin Laden from the repercussions of his terrorism.
The real-world results? Most of those foreign mercenaries are now dead or on the run, and America has demonstrated the military and political might--and, most importantly, the will and the resolve--to topple even the most remote and landlocked Islamic fundamentalist regime in a matter of weeks, killing or capturing thousands of enemies with fewer "friendly-fire" casualties than you can count on one hand.
And President Bush says we're just getting started.
Those not suicidally blinded by their own hatred can only stand in awe at this point, hoping their faces weren't recognizable on all those September 11 videos that showed folks celebrating in the streets of Ramallah.
But instead of lying low, a gang of Palestinian murderers appears to have made an equally large-scale miscalculation in recent days, deciding this would be a really fine time--what with a huge American military presence in the Middle East, coincidently "looking for something to do" as the conventional war in Afghanistan winds down with unexpected ease, and America in a mood to "get rolling" and mop up its terrorist enemies once and for all--to shout to the world, "Hey, what about us"
Palestinian suicide bombers killed at least 26 people in Israel over the weekend. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declared his own "War on Terrorism" Monday, as the U.S. White House tried one more time to press Yasser Arafat to crack down on the suicide bombers.
But that's a dead horse. Mr Arafat has been handed his heart's desire ever since he signed the Oslo peace accords in 1993. In exchange for nothing more than a promise to remove the "Jews into the sea" clause from the PLO's charter and some work around the edges to curb terrorist bombings, he's been handed millions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer money and set up as virtual dictator over the West Bank and Gaza, even allowed to turn his personal gang of hoods into the area's uniformed "official police force."
The result? Not a single Palestinian terrorist under Arafat's jurisdiction has been sentenced to a prison term of any length. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer warned Monday that "The President thinks it's very important that the Palestinian jails not only have bars on the front, but no longer have revolving doors at the back."
Meantime, eight years later, the "Jews into the sea" stuff has still not been excised from the PLO charter, nor has Mr. Arafat ever been willing to make a clean break with the militant wing of Hamas nor its terrorist partner, Islamic Jihad. His spokesmen say he couldn't take on these terror gangs without touching off a Palestinian civil war.
So, we are left with a pointless debate. Whether Arafat has the power to stop the suicide bombers and refuses to do so, or whether he lacks the power to do so without himself being overthrown, what good is he, and why should he get another American tax dollar?
Mr. Arafat has done nothing to advance the cause of democracy, liberty, or pluralism anywhere he holds sway. In fact, it benefits him and many another Arab strongman to keep "the Palestinian problem" permanently simmering, since peace would only allow their subjects to refocus their attention on the failings of these homegrown Fascist regimes.
As Yosi Klein Halevil, senior correspondent for the Jerusalem Report, notes in The Los Angeles Times, Arafat has used his millions in "international funds" (read: U.S. tax dollars), "not to build schools and hospitals, but to arm a dozen security services, which, in the last year, have become support systems for terrorism."
The same old argument--that whoever replaces Arafat would only be worse--is now trundled out again. But has America refrained from overthrowing Al-Qa'ida or the Taliban out of fear their next leaders will be "worse" after the current bunch are burried in their caves?
Ever the hang-wringing defeatists, the Washington Post warns that "The past few months demonstrated that tactics such as the invasion of Palestinian cities and the assassination of Palestinian militants, while weakening Mr. Arafat, do not stop terrorism or make Israelis more secure."
But that's precisely because these have been limited "demonstrations," from which Israel has always pulled back under pressure from the United States, while continuing to recognize the PLO's legitimacy--precisely the kind of symbolic and ineffective half measures long favored by the Clinton administration, creating an appearance of ineffective vacillation which may have contributed to the murderers' miscalculations on September 11.
Shall we also conclude the destruction of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan has "done no good"? That we might as well not have bothered leveling Berlin or Hiroshima or Nagasaki because "New Waves of German and Japanese terrorists will only rise again to take their vengeance"?
Do the Palestinian Arabs have legitimate grievances? Sure! Many of those grievances, however, would be better directed against the Palestinians' own Arab brothers, who find their ongoing plight so politically useful. While Israel has happily accepted Jewish refugees not welcome in the vast reservoir of Arab nations that surround her, have their Arab brethren invited and welcomed these Palestinian Arabs to settle down and make new homes in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Kuwait? Far from it. They have been expelled from most of these nations, in part for making another disastrous blunder when they sided with Saddam Hussein of Iraq a decade ago.
Do Americans and Israelis now care to make another effort to understand and work to solve whatever grievances motivated this weekend's suicide bombers?
No. Time's up.
Mr. Sharon is right to declare a "war on terrorism." And U.S. State Department Philip Reeker seemed to indicate Monday, December 3, that America would no longer play traffic cop, halting the Israeli response before anything effective can really be accomplished, when he announced "This is not a game of green light, red light."
Let's hope he means it. Time to roll.
Islamism & Jihadism -- The Threat of Radical Islam
Page Three Page Two Page One
War & Peace in the Real World
Page Two Page One
Islamist Terrorist Attacks on the U.S.A.
Terrorism & U.S. Homeland Security
Osama bin Laden & the Islamist Declaration of War
Against the U.S.A. & Western Civilization
Islamist International Terrorism &
U.S. Intelligence Agencies
U.S. National Security Strategy
Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL.
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