Message Received and Understood - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Message Received and Understood

About twenty years ago, Ronald Reagan sent a message to Libyan dictator — and terrorist supporter — Muammar Qaddafi, after it became clear that Libya was responsible for a Berlin nightclub bombing in which several Americans were killed. The message was delivered by a squadron of F-111s that bombed the tent camp the Libyan dictator was thought to be in one night. Qaddafi wasn’t there, but the message was received and understood, if only temporarily. After the heat was off for a while, he sponsored the Lockerbie bombing of an American airliner. We made accusations, but took no action.

Subsequently, and throughout the Clinton years, terrorists and their national patrons were taught to ignore the lesson the Gipper taught. We stood by, debating academically and legalistically how to deal with terrorists. Clinton didn’t even respond to an offer by the Sudan to deliver bin Laden to us on a silver platter because, in the words of then-National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, we didn’t think we had enough evidence to indict him. Now there’s a new sheriff in town, and long before Saddam’s mouth was being swabbed for DNA testing, Qaddafi was waking up and smelling the coffee. Logically figuring he is still high on Uncle Sam’s list, at about the same time Tommy Franks’s ground campaign was launched in March, Qaddafi was calling the Brits asking to negotiate his surrender of his WMD programs. After months of wrangling, the Libyans signed an agreement last week to do just that.

Whether Libya actually will — as announced by Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair — renounce its WMD programs and permit unfettered inspections remains to be seen. One of my intelligence community sources still thinks the Libyans will have nukes sooner than Iran will, by purchasing them rather than developing them, and there is no reason to think they can’t. The EUnuchs’ negotiations with Iran, aimed at ending its nuclear weapons program, resulted in the mullahs’ agreement to allow unfettered inspections of their nuclear facilities. This, too, must be taken with a large grain of salt, because all the terrorists and their national sponsors know that if they stall into 2005, they may not have to deal with the Texan. The Dems are sending clear signals to the terrorist states that if Mr. Bush isn’t reelected, the Qaddafis of the world can go back to the terror business full time, because we won’t do anything about it. Think about the latest from that hopeless naïf, Howlin’ Howie.

Even Vichy John Kerry objects to Dean’s comment that “had the United Nations given us permission and asked us to be a part of a multilateral force, I would not have hesitated to go into Iraq, but that was not the case.” Given us permission? Excuse me, but isn’t the United States still a sovereign nation, entitled to decide on its lonesome to take action in its own defense?

Dean takes the offensive again and again to make the same point. “I believe the United States must exercise leadership by working with allies and partners to advance common interests, rather than advancing our power unilaterally,” he said in an op-ed in the Sunday Washington Post. The man just can’t wait to surrender our security to our betters. “We need a global alliance to defeat terrorism that will draw on the strengths of our allies and partners to destroy terrorist networks. And I will build, with our allies, a $60 billion global fund to combat weapons of mass destruction,” he said in the same op-ed.

Huh? Does the Mad Doctor think we can vaccinate people against the effects of chemical weapons? And just what allies — other than the Brits and the Aussies who are already founding members of the Coalition — have any strengths to draw on? Belgium?

Dean can get away with these unchallenged absurdities until his nomination becomes inevitable. Then, Mr. Bush will make it clear that if the Mad Doctor is elected president, our nation will be less safe than it is now. He will shove these words down Dean’s throat in any debate. Dean speaks as if all he will have to do is ask to get the cooperation of the Axis of Weasels. The man has no idea what motivates nations, and how alliances are built and destroyed. He may have never read history and apparently hasn’t even read a newspaper in the past three years. If there is a Dean presidency, the Bush doctrine of preemption will be dead, and America will have to suffer more 9-11s — or worse — before we can elect a president who will do what has to be done.

WHAT DEAN AND THE OTHERS ARE DOING is encouraging Libya and the rest to buy time. If they can wait out Bush and see the presidency held by one of the U.N.-loving Dems, they can go back to their old ways. And in a very short time, they can have nuclear weapons.

Underlying the announcements from Washington, London and Tripoli is a ten-month secret negotiation during which American and British experts were allowed to visit a number of weapons sites in Libya, and look wherever they pleased. This effort — independent of the IAEA — is the most positive sign to date. What’s positive about it is the U.S. and U.K.’s the independence of U.N. agencies. The IAEA is completely untrustworthy to make decisions on matters such as these.

As Undersecretary of State John Bolton said at The American Spectator dinner only last month, we can’t give any credence to the IAEA inspections and determinations. But if we are committed enough to act without it, and do our own nuclear inspections in places such as Libya, we can do what the U.N. can’t. There is no reason to think that Dean or any of the Dems would do this, committed as they are to U.N. collaboration. Because the U.N. Security Council members — France, Russia and China chief among them — would rather trade with terrorist nations than constrain and defeat them, we can never again trust the U.N. agencies to act seriously to do what needs to be done. We and our real allies need to do it alone, and cannot wait for the 2004 election to determine when to act.

In January the Dems’ nomination process will enter its final stage with the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. It is still possible for Dean to be beaten, but that seems increasingly unlikely. A Dean candidacy will divide America, and that’s good because Americans should have to make a clear choice. A Bush-Dean race will pose one for us, and for our enemies it will pose another: Is it worth the risk to continue in the terror business while America is distracted by the presidential campaign? Surely, most will conclude that it is.

Inevitably the presidential campaign will weigh heavily in the minds of our adversaries. For the next eleven months, the polls will be read avidly not only in the blue and red states. In place such as Tehran, Damascus, and Riyadh, despots will be looking at them the way W.C. Fields looked at the bible. Fields, an avowed atheist, spent his last years in a nursing home. One day a nurse discovered him reading the Good Book and asked what he was doing. “Looking for loopholes, my dear,” was the priceless reply.

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