]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]       THE WEAPONS OF HELL      [[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[
                    (Where to put the blame)             (5/23/1989)
                        by A.M. Rosenthal
          The Op-Ed Page of The New York Times 5-12-89

          [Kindly uploaded by Freeman 07656GAED]

   At  least we will know where to put the blame.  If the  day  comes
when  the  terrorist nations use the weapons of hell  against  us  or
other enemies, at least we will know that.
  At  first, we will try to evade the truth.  We will say it  is  the
fault  of our friends and allies who sold those madmen  the  material
for the chemical weapons, the missiles and the nuclear technology.
   But eventually we will have to face reality:  the blame belongs to
us,  the  Government and people of the United States.  We  knew,  and
could have stopped it, but did not.
   About  40  West German companies are suspected  by  Washington  of
shipping  chemicals and technology for chemical warfare to  a  Libyan
plant  and other Middle Eastern countries.  German  companies  helped
Libya, Syria, Iraq and possibly Iran build missile capability.
   China  is sending missiles to Libya.  A Swiss  company  negotiated
with Iran to build a poison gas plant.
   We know Pakistan, and probably India too, has received clandestine
help from abroad in preparing its nuclear weapons capability.  Pakis-
tan is an American ally and India a democracy important to us.
   But  perhaps  someday  far  less friendly  regimes  will  rule  in
Islamabad or New Delhi.  Then we would live in fear that nuclear wea-
pons capability could be transferred to bitterly hostile nations.
   The  principle target for the chemical weapons--the  Libyan  plant
alone  will  produce 40 tons a day for warfare--of  course  would  be
   But  the terrorist nations showed, during the Iran-Iraq war,  that
they  will  use  chemical weapons against each other  and  their  own
   So it is easily conceivable that countries that deliberately  blow
up  civilian  airliners  might  one day raise  the  terror  level  by
planting and exploding a chemical weapon somewhere in the West.   The
Ayatollah would regard it an act of special piety.
   Americans  look  on drowsily.  Is the danger  on  another  planet?
American specialists on terrorism and weaponry are astonished at  the
public passivity.
   American Governments have not provided leadership.  The Reagan Ad-
ministration sent more than 250 polite complaints to the West Germans
about  nuclear  aid  to  Pakistan and  chemicals  to  Middle  Eastern
   But  the protests were usually secret.  Our German  allies  either
buried or routinely denied them.
   Now,  that Swiss company finally agrees that helping Iran build  a
poison gas plant would not be a delicate thing to do.
   The  West Germans got around to arresting the former  director  of
the  company that built the Libyan plant--the same company  that,  in
January, Bonn indignantly denied was doing anything of the sort.
   Well, that's nice.  But all those other complaints Washington made
to Germany, what happened to them and how were investigations carried
   But  it  is not useful to blame the Germans or Swiss  or  Chinese.
Obviously  they do not consider selling chemical weapons or  missiles
to terrorist nations that bad; matter of values.
   It is this country's job and moral obligation to stop friends  and
allies from sending terror weapons to terrorists.
   First,  the Government must stop wrapping the record  in  secrecy,
stop  putting  "classified"  stamps on our  protests,  stop  covering
evasions  and denials.  The "secrets" are kept not from suppliers  or
receivers--just  the  American public.  President Bush can  end  that
with a telephone call to the State Department.
   Then we should cut off from the U.S. market every foreign  company
we  believe is sending materials or technology for these  weapons  to
terrorists; cut them off very fast, for very long.
   Legislation  to  do  this  is before the  Senate  and  the  House,
introduced by members of both parties.  The Administration wants  the
decisions to cut off trade left to the President.  No; they should be
automatic by law.
   We must tell the Chinese Government that we happen to have our own
little  cultural  sensitivities  and that they  must  choose  between
missiles to Libya and business with us.
   Then we must say much the same thing to our allies.  Most of  them
are  as worried as we--and as clean.  As for Germany, perhaps we  may
find  that  more Germans will agree with us than  with  the  grossly,
unforgivably  insensitive German companies on the list of traders  in
   Of  course,  we have to make absolutely sure we are  not  in  that
trade in any way ourselves--as we and Israel were so shamefully  when
the missiles were sent to Iran.   It is part of waking up and looking
in the mirror--better now than waiting until just one day too late.

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