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American Successes In the War On Terrorism
By Joshua Wiznitzer
Originally printed in the 03/24/03 issue of the Brandeis Free Press

The past few weeks have been full of victories and advancement for the United States and her allies in the “War on Terrorism”. The most notable event of recent weeks has been the apprehension of Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) in
Rawalpindi, Pakistan on March 1, 2003.

The capture dealt a major blow to Al-Qaeda and provided authorities with a virtual “goldmine” of intelligence information on Al-Qaeda, its past attacks, plans for future ones and the locations of terrorist cells around the globe.
KSM is described as the CEO of Al-Qaeda, and was the one directly responsible for the planning of the horrendous attacks of September 11, 2001, the (foiled) 1995 plot to blow up trans-Pacific airliners, the bombing of the US embassies in Africa and many other terrorist plots.

Writing in National Review Online, Mansoor Ijaz notes that the apprehension of KSM is equivalent to “decapitating al Qaeda’s nerve center” and “could lead to a collapse of its Middle East cells much the same way one intercepted phone call between al Qaeda biochemical czar Zarqawi and one of his Jordanian operatives led to the dismantling of much of the ricin-poison network throughout Europe” Furthermore, as a result of some of the intelligence gained from KSM’s arrest, authorities are now even closer to finally apprehending Osama Bin Laden. Some of this intelligence has also led to federal authorities stepping up investigations into newly discovered Al-Qaeda sleeper cells in eight different cities here in the US.

Another victory occurred on March 1, 2003 in Sidon, Lebanon in the Ein Hilweh “refugee camp” where a car bomb killed the senior Al-Qaeda man, Abu Mohammad al-Masri, in Southern Lebanon. Al-Masri was also on the FBI’s most wanted list.

Another major victory in the “War on Terror” took place here, on our own soil, on February 20, 2003, when Attorney General John Ashcroft announced the indictment of University of South Florida professor Sami Al-Arian and seven co-conspirators in a detailed, 50 count charge accusiing the eight defendants of operating a racketeering enterprise from 1984 until the present that supported numerous violent terrorist activities associated with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). The indictment identified Al-Arian as “not only the leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in North America, but (as having) served as the Secretary of the “Shura Council” — the worldwide governing group of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad” (page 3).
The PIJ is one of the world’s most notorious terrorist groups, responsible for the murder of over 100 people in Israel, including two American citizens:

Alisa Flatow, age 20 (who was a Brandeis University student at the time), and Shoshana Ben-Yishai, age 16.

These successes come at a time when the Democratic leadership and a large segment of the left was attempting to criticize the Bush Administration for failing in the “War on Terror.“ Democrats had claimed that attacking Iraq would distract the United States from the “War On Terror” and that Iraq had no ties to terrorism.

For example, the New York Times, on Feb. 27, wrote of “the Bush administration’s inability to achieve one of the main goals of its anti- terror effort, the capture of al-Qaeda’s leaders.”

However, the events of recent weeks have proven the left wrong on multiple fronts. First off, the claim that the Bush Administration has failed in the “war on terror” have simply been proven false, as the aforementioned examples clearly show.

The second claim that our focus on Iraq will distract us from the “War on Terror” has also been proven false, as the arrest of KSM shows. As columnist Ann Coulter put it, “a Republican administration can walk and chew gum at the same time”
Third, the claims that Iraq has no ties to Al-Qaeda or terrorism are also very far from the truth.
During his Feb. 5, 2003 presentation to the UN, Secretary of State Powell showed the link between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda.

The second part of this claim is laughable, as it appears those making the allegations that Iraq doesn’t have ties to terror, seem to think that Al-Qaeda is the only terror organization in the world that the US is going after. The indictment handed down on Feb. 20 shows that Al-Queda isn’t the only group that our Government is attempting to bring to justice.
It is a known fact that Saddam Hussein provides financial and material support to terrorist organizations, such as Hamas, and the PIJ, both of whom are groups which the US is taking action against as part of the “War on Terror”. Saddam is also known to be providing refuge for terrorists wanted by America, Israel and other allies, such as Abu Abbas, who was behind the hijacking of the Achille Lauro and the murder of American Leon Klinghofer in 1985.

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg and clearly demonstrate that Saddam Hussein does have irrefutable ties to terrorism. It is Saddam’s ties to and support of terrorism that is one of the major reasons that Iraq is the next target in the “War on Terror”.

As Vice President Cheney said in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks: “They have to understand, and others like them around the world have to understand, that if you provided sanctuary to terrorists, you face the full wrath of the United States.”

By removing Saddam from power, terrorist organizations will be deprived of yet another state which previously supported them, and as such, will have one less place to seek refuge, and will suffer from a lack of financial and
material support.

This will deal a serious blow to the terrorists, weakening the threat they pose to the US and her allies. By ousting Saddam and continuing in the successes we have had against Al-Qaeda, we will be sending the terrorists and their ideology into, as President Bush so aptly put it, “history’s unmarked grave of discarded lies”.

Copyright 2003--United We Stand, Brandeis University