Evil Men Appease Terror
Part A
Wall Street Journal
Thursday, February 28, 02

    As the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) fled the country's "demilitarized" zone over the weekend, they left behind terror training camps worthy of al Qaeda. Advancing soldiers and reporters found instructions on how to down aircraft, threats against "gringos," libraries of Marxist theory, and even a printed Web page from the American Embassy in Bogota. The U.S., it said, will not make concessions to kidnappers and will help its allies fight terrorism.
    Let's hope so, and let's not repeat past mistakes. For Colombia's peace process was based on an idea so stupid that it could only have been the culmination of a U.S.-led decade of appeasement that saw terrorists installed in the governments of Palestine, Northern Ireland and Sierra Leone, and butchers like Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic and Kim Jong II using negotiations as cover for the pursuit of aggressive aims.
Safe Haven
    In Colombia, President Andres Pastrana decided three years ago that giving the FARC license to rule in a safe haven the size of Switzerland would somehow convince it to give up its decades-long struggle to replace the democratic government with a Marxist dictatorship. He was apparently surprised that this gesture only whetted the FARC's appetite for more -- surprised that it terrorized the local population and conscripted local youth, surprised that it turned to narcotrafficking to finance its war, surprised it used the area as a base from which to attack the rest of the country, and surprised that Colombians formed self-defense groups when their government declined to protect them. Surprised above all that after committing to work toward a cease-fire, the FARC killed about 120 people, sabotaged a dam and hijacked airplanes.
    At least Mr. Pastrana's decided enough's enough. But the FARC now melts back into the countryside numerically stronger and richer than ever, and holding about 800 hostages -- including a Colombian senator and one of the candidates vying for the president's job.
    In this case, thankfully, there were no Clinton photo-ops to tie the U.S. directly to the fiasco. But we have hardly been helpful. Thanks to congressional Democrats, the government has been prohibited from helping Colombia in its fight against terrorism due to often dubious allegations of human rights abuses by the military. President Bush, whose cabinet discussed the matter this week, surely understands now that such a fight will never be squeaky clean. If the U.S. doesn't want a terrorist international located in South America, it needs to get serious about helping Colombia defeat the FARC. Last August, three bomb specialists from the Irish Republican Army were caught training the group.
    The instinct to appease terrorists and belligerent states is hardly a new one. But it was never the consistent theme of American foreign policy until the 1990s, when President Clinton committed the U.S. to Shimon Peres's vision of a "New Middle East" and to delivering Northern Ireland's Catholics from the oppression of one of the world's oldest democracies. The few who pointed out the risks of effectively legitimizing decades of murder by bringing groups like the PLO and the IRA into government were largely written off as enemies of peace.


    But in Israel, at least, the "enemies" could not have been proven more right. After a year and a half of low-intensity war, most rational observers understand that Yasser Arafat is the biggest obstacle to the creation of a viable Palestinian state and a just settlement of the conflict. And in Northern Ireland, the freeing of hundreds of killers ("political prisoners") from jail and the de facto destruction of the Royal Ulster Constabulary have only exacerbated sectarian divisions and undermined faith in the rule of law. Government policy is seen to be for sale to whoever causes it the most trouble. The IRA is still sitting on tons of armaments it received from Moammar Gadhafi in the 1980s, which will surely be deployed by some so-called splinter group whenever concessions from the British government stop.
    For sheer lunacy, however, no "peace process" can match the one we imposed on Sierra Leone in 1999 after its elected government had captured rebel leader Foday Sankoh and was finishing off the civil war. President Clinton and his Africa envoy, Jesse Jackson, not only persuaded the government to release Sankoh but to make him vice president and put him in charge of the country's diamond mines. Within a year Sankoh was back to hacking off limbs and was even selling cut-price diamonds to al Qaeda. He succeeded in taking 500 U.N. peacekeepers hostage before being captured again.
    Do the world's thugs take notice of whether civilized nations respond to violence with the carrot, the stick or simple fear? You bet. Exhibit A is Osama bin Laden himself, who has said repeatedly that the U.S. decision to flee Somalia after the loss of 18 soldiers in 1993 is one of the main reasons he believes he can change U.S. policy through terror.
    But perhaps no one has put it more bluntly than Leila Khaled, one of the Palestinian terrorists who hijacked five planes (four successfully) over the course of two days in September 1970, and then used the passengers to win the release of PLO terrorists from European jails. Though the operation led to the bloody expulsion of the PLO from Jordan, she maintains to this day that it was a great success because it showed "that governments could be negotiated with and that we could impose our demands . . . [That] gave us the courage and the confidence to go ahead with our struggle."
    One of the few recent governments to resist the lure of negotiations was Turkey's. Faced with a seemingly intractable guerrilla war led by the Damascus-based Abdullah Ocalan and his Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the Turks decided in 1998 simply to mass their troops on the Syrian border and demand that Ocalan be expelled -- or else. He was, and was soon captured. One lesson was that terrorists don't last long without state sponsorship. Another was that it's simply not true that new terrorists will always replace the old until the grievance at hand is addressed. Deprived of its charismatic leader, the PKK has appeared simply to fade away.
Test of Time
    In short, while history affords numerous examples of force successfully solving the problem of terrorists, rebels or rogue states, there are scarcely any examples of agreements with undefeated belligerents that stand the test of time. Even in cases where there are legitimate complaints of injustice -- say the Israeli occupation of the West Bank -- governments would be best advised not to negotiate under fire. Saudi Arabia's latest proposal to normalize Arab relations with Israel, even were it sincere, would amount to just one more tenuous deal reached at gunpoint.


    The collapse of Colombia's peace process, therefore, is not a setback but an opportunity. Terrorists do respond to incentives. And if the world's governments can not only say that they don't negotiate, but also appear to mean it, they should have less to fear in the future. No more peace processes, please.
The following was excerpted from "How Clinton team blew chance to hit bin Laden"
By Robert Novak, Chicago Sun-Times - Monday, September 1, 2003
    On Oct. 12, 2000, the day of the devastating terrorist attack on the USS Cole, President Bill Clinton's highest-level national security team met to determine what to do. Counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke wanted to hit Afghanistan, aiming at Osama bin Laden's complex and the terrorist leader himself. But Clarke was all alone. There was no support for a retaliatory strike that, if successful, might have prevented the 9/11 carnage.
    This startling story is told for the first time in a book by Brussels-based investigative reporter Richard Miniter to be published this week. Losing bin Laden relates that Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Secretary of Defense William Cohen, Attorney General Janet Reno and CIA Director George Tenet all said no.
    Sheehan, now with the New York City Police Department, did not blame Cohen. ''It was the entire Pentagon,'' he told Miniter, adding he was ''stunned'' by the lack of Defense Department desire to retaliate. After the meeting, Sheehan told Clarke, prophetically: ''What's it going to take to get them to hit al-Qaida in Afghanistan? Does al-Qaida have to attack the Pentagon?''

Evil Men Appease Terror
Part B
Wall Street Journal
Friday, March 1, 02

    Otto Reich , President Bush's new Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, sat down with me on Tuesday and talked about the administration's vision for Latin America and the Caribbean. What emerged was clear: after eight years of drift, serious policy makers are back in charge. "Dialoguing" with gun-toting power seekers and propping up corrupt regimes is out, which may help explain why the Reich nomination ran into so much political flak from the Senate left, forcing the president to put him in office through a recess appointment.
    What remains murky, however, in light of domestic protectionist pressures on the administration, is whether Mr. Bush will have the nerve and political skill to deliver on the centerpiece of his hemisphere policy, which calls for freer trade. Without rapid trade liberalization, the rest of the administration's goals for the region become exponentially more difficult, maybe even impossible.
    After a rather promising start to the 1990s decade, Latin America and the Caribbean steadily slouched toward chaos, partly because there was no meaningful leadership from the U.S. When Bill Clinton announced in 1994 that there would be a Free Trade Area of the Americas, unilateral trade opening stopped dead, with Latins preferring to hold all tariffs as chips for future negotiations. Institutional and economic reform ground to a halt in most nations. Then the trade agenda stalled.
    The Clinton sleaze factor also came into play, making some of the most decadent of Latin American governments seem not so bad by comparison. Today the region is mired in crime and characterized by financial instability, trade protectionism, economic malaise, political upheaval, terrorism, and now, an officially recognized war in Colombia.
    Fortunately none of this seems to discourage Mr. Reich, who goes about his new job with Reaganesque optimism and a love of liberty born of his early life as a Cuban subject to Fidel Castro's tender mercies. He wants to be tough on terrorism and he speaks passionately about free trade. Mr. Bush's March visit to Monterrey, Lima and San Salvador, he says, is a signal to Latin America that despite the heavy attention to the war in Afghanistan, helping the region advance ranks high on the Bush agenda.
    Mr. Reich began his remarks by noting that in the president's priorities for the Western Hemisphere "the common denominator is freedom." That might sound like political boilerplate, but Mr. Reich is really talking about an essential for economic development. "Political and economic freedom," he says, "translate into economic opportunity, and the vehicle we plan to use to drive that is the Free Trade Area of the Americas. For that, of course, you need Trade Promotion Authority."
    "We want security. This is the fight against terrorism. And we want governmental integrity. That's the fight against corruption and the proper use of governmental resources. Not just avoiding malfeasance but being efficient and utilizing market forces, less government intervention in the economy and more attention to private enterprise and individual initiative."


    "Supporting democracy," he says, "is not just having an election every four years and forgetting what happens in between. We want to try to support the strengthening of democratic institutions." And "governmental integrity is a very important component because corruption is one of biggest obstacles to economic development. . . the problem with corruption is that not only does it steal resources from the people but it corrodes the confidence of the people in their institutions." He says that one of the administration's tools to fight this will be a practice of the revoking of U.S. visas of government officials who have stolen from the public purse.
    Freedom, trade openness and good governance, these ideas are hardly new. But they were not advanced much during the Clinton years. Besides equivocation on trade, there was a remarkably close relationship between the U.S. administration and some dubious regimes, such as the Menem government in Argentina. Mr. Clinton's "Special Envoy to Latin America" was Thomas "Mack" McLarty, a close crony who spoke no Spanish. In Haiti, Joseph P. Kennedy II and former Democratic National Committee finance man Marvin Rosen went into business with Haitian President J.B. Aristide, whose Lavalas party was noted for its ruthlessness toward any political opposition. For whatever reason, Mr. Clinton never could make a very good case against corruption to Latin leaders.
    Thankfully for 7 million Haitians, the Bush policy with regard to Mr. Aristide, whose style of government has been condemned by both left- and right-of-center figures, is markedly different from the Clinton policy. "We are trying to use our resources to bring about political and economic reforms from the government of Jean Bertrand Aristide," says Mr. Reich, "although, frankly, I have to admit, very unsuccessfully so far. He doesn't seem to be responsive to almost anything, any outside pressure or inside pressure. He wants to put pressure on us to give him more money without maintaining reform."
    Secretary of State Colin Powell went to Haiti as a private citizen to help in the U.S. effort to return Mr. Aristide to power. "He has said he has a right to be disappointed at what has happened there," Mr. Reich says. "There isn't democracy, there isn't economic development, there's a great deal of crime, a great deal of corruption and allegations of narcotics trafficking."
    On Colombia, Mr. Reich says, "We've asked for $98 million dollars to defend the Cano Limon pipeline because it represents such a large amount of income to the government of Colombia. They lose $40 million a month from the sabotage of the pipeline." Congress has not yet approved that request but Mr. Reich detects a mood of realism among members he has met with since Colombia's decision to end the "peace process" a week ago. They "understand that there's no daylight between narcotics traffickers and the terrorists in Colombia; that these are not insurgents, these are terrorist groups; that they represent a danger to the region."
    It's refreshing to hear a U.S. official condemn Mr. Aristide and Colombia's guerrillas. But as Mr. Reich says, the U.S. wallet also has limits. This reinforces the fact that the bulk of the burden of change is on the shoulders of wealth-creating trade. An administration that placates protectionists is not likely to be able to lead the region to open markets, security and strong democracy. Either Mr. Bush will lead on trade or Latin America will founder.

Evil Men Appease Terror
Part C
By Norbert Vollertsen
Wall Street Journal

    As a German physician, I was greatly moved by an inscription quoting former President Jimmy Carter at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. -- "[W]e must forge an unshakeable oath with all civilized people that never again will the world stand silent, never again will the world . . . fail to act in time to prevent this terrible crime of genocide . . . We must harness the outrage of our own memories to stamp out oppression wherever it exists."
    It is hard to believe that these words came from the same man who recently lambasted President Bush's "axis of evil" speech, calling it "overly simplistic and counterproductive." Nowhere in Mr. Carter's words did I see the caveat "stamp out oppression wherever it exists (excepting North Korea and/or any other dictatorial regime that rapes, murders and systematically starves its own people)." President Carter wrote those words in September 1979 for his President's Commission on the Holocaust. Twenty-three years later, he seems to have forgotten their meaning.
    President Bush has not. He has chosen to speak out; to borrow Mr. Carter's phrase, he will not "stand silent." He has bravely called North Korea "evil" -- and he is right. I know, because I have seen the evil with my own eyes. From July 1999 to December 2000, I traveled with the German medical group, Cap Anamur, and gained access to some of the Stalinist country's most remote and secretive regions.
    What I witnessed could best be described as unbelievable deprivation. As I wrote for this newspaper last April, "In the hospitals one sees kids too small for their age, with hollow eyes and skin stretched tight across their faces. They wear blue-and-white striped pajamas, like the children in Hitler's Auschwitz."
    It became clear to me that Kim Jong Il and his Stalinist regime had made little effort to distribute medical supplies and food to the people who needed it most. I soon realized that North Korea's starvation is not the result of natural disasters or even lack of natural resources. Like the Holocaust in Europe, the horror in North Korea is man-made. Twenty-two million people suffer under a dictatorial regime that uses torture, surveillance and starvation as tools to control its own people. Only the regime's overthrow will end it.
    I was eventually expelled from North Korea because of my open criticism of the government. Since then, I have been on a global campaign to raise interest in what I can only describe as crimes against humanity and genocide in North Korea. This is a country where food is used as a weapon against any opposition, Christians are persecuted, women sexually abused and young children forced into labor. Still, the world either doesn't know, doesn't care or doesn't want to believe.
    Last month I had the opportunity to interview around 250 North Korean defectors near the China-North Korea border and was truly horrified by their stories. Most had escaped from hidden concentration camps where they suffered and witnessed routine torture, mass-execution, baby-killing, rape, human biological experiments (including the effects of anthrax) and, of course, starvation. These people were talking about hell, not paradise. Like Mr. Bush, they call it evil too.


    As a German born after the Holocaust, I feel it is my duty to speak out. But strangely, few are willing to listen. In my native Germany and the rest of Europe they speak of "engagement." In South Korea they speak of a "sunshine policy" to help Kim Jong Il modernize and liberalize. What they don't understand is that he is not interested in helping his people; rather he is interested only -- like Hitler and Stalin -- in clinging to power. In my opinion, "engagement" and "sunshine" are not only synonyms for appeasement, they are synonyms for cowardice.
    Now, the very same people who wish to engage a state that starves its own people are calling President Bush a "war monger" for using the word "evil." Ironically, but not surprisingly, it is the "refined" European diplomats, "liberal" American newspapers, and "politically correct" human-rights activists who are most outraged at Mr. Bush's choice of words. They should be ashamed of themselves.
    President Bush has rightly identified North Korea as a prison state that uses terrorism against its own people. Moreover, his "axis of evil" speech has sent a strong message to the North Korean people that they are not forgotten -- and they are listening. Every North Korean defector I spoke to over several weeks was delighted by President Bush's words. For the first time in their lives they feel as if the outside world understands the hell they have endured. Moreover, they are full of hope that, like President Reagan's "evil empire" speech, President Bush's "axis of evil" speech will eventually lead to the collapse of Kim Jong Il's brutal regime.
    Perhaps those who are outraged with President Bush's choice of words should ask survivors of the Holocaust, survivors of the Soviet gulag and survivors of North Korea's concentration camps what they think of Mr. Bush's use of the word "evil."
    Perhaps Mr. Carter should return to the Holocaust Memorial Musuem that he helped build and take a look at another inscription there, this one from the book of Genesis: "What have you done? Hark, thy brother's blood cries out to me from the ground!"

[see "A Prison Country" by Norbert Vollertsen]
[See South Korea's appeasement and betrayal of North Koreans]
Don't hold Israel Back
Part D
The Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, April 9, 2002

    JERUSALEM -- President Bush yesterday called once again for Israel to withdraw its forces from the West Bank "without delay." Until last week, Mr. Bush had displayed remarkable courage in resisting demands to curtail Israel's right to defend itself against relentless Palestinian terror. Now, abandoning that principled position in the quest for an elusive cease-fire, the president has revived the expectation that the Israelis must cease while the Palestinians keep firing. More tragically, he has reverted to a misconceived U.S. policy in the Middle East that, for over 50 years, has consistently backfired.
    Since its creation in 1948, Israel has been the target of Arab terror. In the 1950s and '60s, "armed infiltration," as it was then called, caused hundreds of casualties and made life on Israeli streets and border settlements nearly as precarious as it is today. Yet, in spite of these losses and Israel's clear-cut case for avenging them, the U.S. denied Israel's right to retaliate. "The USG has consistently opposed reprisal raids," Secretary of State John Foster Dulles wrote in March 1955. "Such raids dangerously heighten existing tensions." Similarly, in November 1966, Dean Rusk declared, "We have said frequently that we cannot agree to or condone [Israeli] retaliatory action."
    The rationale behind this policy was not so much moral as it was economic and strategic. American leaders claimed that Israeli reprisals could interrupt the flow of Arab oil to the West, while driving moderate Arab states into Soviet -- later, Islamic radical -- arms. There was also the belief, ultimately belied by Jordan's King Hussein, that an Arab defeated by Israel is an Arab less willing to make peace.
    None of these scenarios ever transpired, however, and, rather than peace, America's policy helped produce the very wars it sought to preclude. The terrorists learned that Jews could be killed with impunity, while frustrated Israeli leaders concluded that if they were going to be condemned for minor retaliations, they might as well respond massively.
    Such was the case in 1956, when the Israelis, forbidden by America to strike back at terrorist bases in Egyptian-controlled Gaza, went ahead and drove the Egyptians from Gaza and Sinai. In 1967, again, Washington's refusal to let Israel go after Yasser Arafat and his al-Fatah terrorists emboldened Egypt's President Gamal Abdel Nasser to remilitarize Sinai and rally the Arab armies to war. Israel replied with a pre-emptive strike that snowballed into the Six Day War. The pattern resurfaced in 1982 when Israel, fed up with rocket attacks over its northern border, and America's objections to punishing the PLO for launching them, invaded Lebanon.
    Once war broke out, America repeatedly pressured Israel to cease firing before it could achieve its objectives. The results were disastrous. By forcing Israel to relinquish its gains in Sinai in 1948 and 1956, for example, the U.S. aided Egypt's ability to threaten Israel's existence again in 1967. The U.S.-imposed cease-fire in the 1973 Yom Kippur War saved attacking Arab armies from destruction but impaired Israel's deterrence power for years. The current onslaught of Palestinian terror can be traced in part to Arafat's last-minute evacuation from Beirut in 1982, another feat of U.S. intervention.

    To be sure, Israel has not always yielded to American dictates on security. During the latter stages of the Six Day War, Israeli leaders ignored U.S. insistence on a cease-fire and proceeded to capture Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights. Paradoxically, Israel's determination to stand up for itself strengthened rather than dampened its image in the U.S.
    The rule was again demonstrated in Israel's 1981 attack on the Iraqi nuclear reactor, an act that President Reagan at first denounced but then rewarded by elevating U.S. cooperation with Israel. Conversely, when Israel buckled to pressure -- in the Gulf War, when Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir agreed not to respond to Iraqi scud attacks -- it earned Washington's contempt, and gained nothing in terms of defense.
    For over half a century, U.S. attempts to rein in Israel militarily have encouraged Arab aggression and contributed to a series of inconclusive wars, setting the stage for even bloodier clashes. By submitting to restrictions, Israel has compromised, not enhanced, its security.
    The question of peace and war in the Middle East today hangs in the balance. Either President Bush can continue to bend to pressure and try to prevent Israel from defending itself, or he can allow Israel to finish rooting out the terrorist infrastructure in the territories. The first path, as history proves, leads only to escalating terror and larger-scale Israeli reactions, with a risk of regional war. Only by standing firm with Israel in its legitimate fight against terror can President Bush pave the way toward a viable cease-fire and renewed negotiations on ending the conflict. It is not too late -- the pattern can still be broken.