]]]]]]]]]]          THE CONQUEST OF TERRORISM         [[[[[[[[[[[[[[( 
          (We know the important names and addresses)     (1/13/1989)
      by A.M. Rosenthal, The New York Times, 1/10/89

  One day perhaps the West will summon the moral courage to face  the 
truth  about terrorism.  On that day, the conquest of terrorism  will 
begin -- but not until that day.
  It is not that the West is ignorant of the truth. It has been known
for years -- to every intelligence branch, every diplomat, every  na-
tional leader.
  But whenever a plane is hijacked or blown up by a bomb or a hostage
is snatched off the streets, the Western nations mill around as if it 
had  never happened before, swearing to hunt the criminals  down  and 
make them pay.
  It  never happens.  The reason is not the brilliance or bravery  of 
the terrorists,  It is the hypocrisy and cowardice of the West in re-
fusing  to acknowledge the truth -- that we have known all along  who 
the major criminals are and exactly where they live.
  So, for once, let us look at reality squarely:  The important crim-
inals  are not the men  and women who  sneak the bombs on  board  the 
plane,  or chain a hostage to the wall, but the top officials of  the 
states that provide the money, the training, the camps where the ter-
rorists are mustered, the guarded safe houses where they live and the 
platforms  and meeting halls where they are allowed to strut in  tri-
umph.
  Terrorism  makes anybody anywhere a potential victim every time  he 
buys a plane or ship ticket or she enters her own embassy abroad.  It 
would be tatally impossible without the money,weapons and succor that 
these countries and their leaders provide.
  At one time or another,at least 20 states have fostered or promoted 
terrorism:
  * Hafez al-Assad, President of Syria, who has  made his  country  a 
headquarters  and  jumping-off  place for a  variety  of  Palestinian
terrorists. American and other hostages are kept in apartment-prisons
in  Lebanon on streets patrolled by Syrian soldiers.  every time  Mr.
Assad  arranges for one hostage to be released the world swoons  with
gratitude.
  * Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran and the men  trying to squiggle to the
top of the mound of hatred that is the Government of Iran.  It is  in
his name that hostages are taken and in his name that they are held.
  * Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya, paymaster of terrorism in all  parts
of  the world from the Middle East to the Philippines and even  some-
times in Belfast.
  Most terrorist atrocities are carried out in the name of  statehood
for Palestine.  But those Palestinians who yearn for a decent settle-
ment with Israel are not blowing up planes.
  And  the  men psychotic enough to blow them up -- long  before  the
unsolved  Pam Am disaster -- will not call off their  horrors  unless
they achieve the goal to which they are sworn, the death of Israel.
  Nor is Palestinian statehood the goal for the criminals who pay the
criminals.   Mr. Assad, for instance, still dreams of Greater  Syria,
which  would swallow up  not only Jordan, Lebanon and Israel, but the
territory on which a separate Arab Palestine is supposed to be creat-
ed.
  The West knows all this.  But in 1986 President Mitterrand  forbade
U.S.  bombers  to  cross  French territory en route to  Libya.  Prime
Minister Thatcher, brave in the Falklands, exudes nervousness at  the
very idea of American action against terrorist nations.  Bonn  rushes
into automatic denial when Washington says West German companies  are
involved in building a Libyan chemical weapons plant.
  And the United States itself?  So far, mostly whimpering about  how
we cannot go it alone without our allies, as if we were Luxembourg.
  Why  all this evasion of the plain truth about where terrorism  has
its  roots?   Why the refusal to take economic and  political  action
that would hit the terrorist states and their leaders hard enough  to
show them that terrorism does not pay?  Such as:
  A  total economic boycott of states financing or giving refuge  to
terrorists. A total ban on all weapons sales to these states. A total
closing  of Western airports to all traffic to and from any of  their 
cities. A warning that mititary action would follow if economic steps 
were not persuasive enough.
  The reason for Western refusal to act is money [???] -- money to be 
made  from selling weapons, equipment and factories to the  terrorist 
states.
  Maybe  one day we will change our values and decide that  lives  of 
the innocent are more important.  If not, let us at least have enough 
self-respect not to run around whining that we do not know the  names 
and addresses of the terrorists.

                         *       *       *


Return to the ground floor of this tower
Return to the Main Courtyard
Return to Fort Freedom's home page