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Location:http://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/0818rees.htm

Face it: U.S. foreign policy contributes to acts of terrorism

By Charley Reese

Published in The Orlando Sentinel, August 18, 1998

Contrary to the rhetoric of the Clinton administration and the Beltway Babblers, terrorism is not a criminal act in the ordinary sense.

Terrorism is a political act, a response to U.S. foreign policy. It is an act of war waged by people too weak to have a conventional army or one large enough to take on the United States.

Therefore, capturing an individual terrorist does not even address the problem. People who execute terrorist actions are expendable, replaceable soldiers. Catch one, kill one, and two will take his place.

Because the terrorism is political, so, too, is the solution. One ends terrorism by ending the policies that create it.

Yes, I know, many Americans believe that we and our government are so good, so beneficent, so kind, so idealistic that it is an absolute mystery why anyone in the world would dislike us, much less hate us enough to kill.

The Clinton administration perpetuates this wrong evaluation of reality by implying that terrorists are evil and mad, like some demons, who, for no rational reason, strike out at the innocent. They like to say, as if they were heroic defenders en route to liberate France, ``We will not be deterred.'' Notice, however, that they never say what we will not be deterred from doing.

Maintaining cruel sanctions on Iraq that already have cost half a million innocent lives? Those sanctions alone are enough to spawn terrorism for the next 40 years. The sanctions are unjust, injuring and killing people who are innocent of any wrong doing. They are stupid, because they only strengthen Saddam Hussein's government. The sanctions have enraged not only Iraqis but also Arabs throughout the Middle East who are sick of the U.S. double standards, lies and hypocrisy.

For example, the United Nations nuclear inspectors recently gave Iraq a clean bill of health, certifying they have no nuclear weapons and no physical plants to produce them. They recommended closing the book on the nuclear issue. The United States said, ``No.'' So many U.S. officials have said publicly that the United States will not agree to lift the sanctions no matter what Iraq does that I don't know why they even maintain the pretense of looking for weapons.

Actual U.S. foreign policy is far from idealistic. We arbitrarily sided with former Nazi allies in the Balkan civil war and bombed Serbs who fought with us in two wars. We slapped sanctions on Sudan allegedly because someone in Washington doesn't like its internal human-rights policies that, you can be sure, are far more humane than China's or those of some of the African dictators we so ardently supported. I suspect the real reason is the current government won't cut a deal on the oil discovered in Sudan many years ago.

Why do Iranians hate Americans? We overthrew their government in the 1950s and installed a dictator whom we backed for decades while he executed and tortured his opponents. Why does anyone expect the survivors of a U.S.-imposed tyrant to like the United States?

The one-sided support of Israel, even when Israel is clearly an aggressor or an abuser of human rights, creates enemies. When your wife and children are killed with U.S. weapons wielded by a government backed by the United States and protected from U.N. sanctions by the United States, it doesn't sit too well.

What I hope people will get from this column is this: Foreign policy does affect your life. It can get you or your children killed. It can make it unsafe for you to travel. Don't tell the parents of those Americans who died on Pan Am Flight 103 that foreign policy has no effect on Americans.

A U.S. government that actually lived up to our ideals and treated people justly would eliminate terrorism.

All the security measures and macho rhetoric in the world can't and won't eliminate it.

[Posted 08/17/98 6:16 PM EST]


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