Terrorism and war

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Terrorism didn't start with 9-11! Remember the attacks on our embassies in Africa, the USS Cole bombing, the first Trade Center bombing?

The 9-11 Commission report states we have been asleep, and there is plenty of blame to go around. We gave bin Laden time to establish worldwide cells, including safe havens in Sudan and then Afghanistan. Our laws stopped the FBI and CIA from sharing information.

Radical Muslims use our freedom of speech and artistic expression to recruit warriors. Hollywood and TV give them plenty of ammunition to prove we are a decadent society endangering their culture. They wish to drive the U.S. from the world scene. After that, who is left to keep them from destroying other Western-style nations?

Regarding Iraq, the 9-11 Commission states it found no "collaborative" agreements between Iraq and Al Qaeda, but it did find contacts. Contacts are needed before finalizing agreements. No other country in the Middle East had the ingredients for a safe haven: a large military, a closed society and greedy dictator ruling with an "iron fist."

Bush acted after receiving confirmation from the heads of Jordan, Egypt, Russia, Great Britain, -- all agreeing with our CIA -- that Iraq did have WMD. Our CIA stated it was a "slam dunk." The U.S. acted after final ultimatum to enforce U.N. resolutions.

Records found since prove that Saddam skimmed billions from the U.N. Oil for Food program. The General Accounting Office puts estimates at $10.1 billion, between 1997 and 2002. Other facts in the latest "Citizens Against Government Waste" report shows Russian business companies got $7.3 billion, French business companies received $3.7 billion, the U.N. received more than $1 billion. This helps explain their strong resistance toward unseating Saddam's government.

This scandal is why HR 4284 -- U.N. Oil for Food Accountability Act -- is in Congress. This bill would withhold 30 percent of U.S. contribution to the United Nations, unless the UN cooperates in this investigation. Some "Oil for Food" money is now turning up in Iraqi militant hands. This strengthens the ties with terrorists, and is why militants are fighting so hard to keep Iraq from becoming a stable nation. If these militants succeed, they could have a safe haven to organize and direct operations with impunity. Nuclear materials are available for the right price.

In WWI, the U.S. saved England and France from defeat. In WWII, the U.S. saved England, France, and China from the Axis powers. History seems to say the U.S. is the country that tries to save the world from tyranny, and now terrorism. With nuclear and other WMD now in the world, we can't afford to fail.

History proves you can't negotiate with the likes of Hitler -- or Saddam. They have their fingers crossed when they sign agreements.

Each life is important -- we have lost over 1,000 so far. If Iraq becomes a relatively stable country, history will say what a remarkable achievement, with such a relatively low loss of life. With the nuclear threats, plus other WMD, the stakes have never been higher. We must protect our borders to keep out these weapons.

We owe our service personnel our heartfelt thanks. They stand between us and terrorists.

What is really distressing at this dangerous time is the national media who stress anything bad, just to make headlines. They ignore good things being accomplished in most Iraq provinces. This is sabotaging the morale of our troops and encouraging the terrorists.

I pray that our leadership has the force of will to see this war through to a successful conclusion so the U.S., our children and grandchildren can have relative safety in these dangerous times.

Cliff Rudesill is a Cape Girardeau resident.

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