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Joe Mariani

Is Hamas Exempt from the War on Terror?
June 22, 2003

Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.
- President George W. Bush before the U.S. Congress on Sep. 20, 2001
Until recently, the United States was engaged in the all-out war on terrorism outlined in this statement. We ousted the Taliban from Afghanistan because they harbored, supplied, and supported terrorists. One of the primary reasons for removing Saddam Hussein from power was that he did the same -- in addition to paying the families of Hezbullah suicide bombers, providing sanctuary to Abu Abbas of the PLF (Palestine Liberation Front), and supporting the Kurdistan Workers Party (which appears to have heeded President Bush's post-9/11 message and given up terrorism according to this April 2003 profile: http://library.nps.navy.mil/home/tgp/kurds.htm ), he had solid links to Ansar Al-Islam. According to one source who worked for Saddam's Mukhabarat intelligence service for twenty years, Qassem Hussein Mohamed, Iraq was supporting terrorism. "My information is that the Iraqi government was directly supporting [Al Qaeda] with weapons and explosives," he was quoted as saying in April 2002. "[Ansar] was part of Al Qaeda, and given support with training and money." Those quotes can be found at http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0402/p01s03-wome.html. In addition, in the 1990's the Salman Pak facility trained terrorists how to hijack planes on small groups (4 or 5) using small knives, according to 'Abu Zeinab', a former Mukhabarat colonel, and Captain Sabah Khodad, who worked at Salman Pak until 1995 and said right after 9/11 "When I saw the twin towers attack, the first thought that came into my head was, 'this has been done by graduates of Salman Pak'." The story was reported by The Guardian at http://politics.guardian.co.uk/archive/article/0,,4296646,00.html.

Alright, so the Iraqi government was involved with terrorists. For me, that was a good enough reason to go to war with them, even if the UN hadn't spent most of the last twelve years documenting the fact that they had stockpiles of banned weapons. As part of the War on Terror, the Iraq campaign was perfectly justified.

In April 2002, President Bush said, "Terror must be stopped. No nation can negotiate with terrorists. For there is no way to make peace with those whose only goal is death." ( http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/04/20020404-1.html) That's become known as the "Bush Doctrine", and as far as it goes, I'm behind it. Deliberately killing innocent men, women and children as a political statement is WRONG, and any government leaders that support or condone it are no better than terrorists themselves. No one could ask for a clearer definition of 'right' and 'wrong'.

Which brings me to the question of Hamas. They are without any doubt a terrorist group, and have been conducting terrorist attacks since 1987. They bomb busses, restaurants, and nightclubs. They have wounded and even killed American citizens, as recently as yesterday. On 20 June 2003, a car driven by an American man was riddled by gunfire as he drove with his wife and parents to a celebration of his son's wedding... he drove on for six more miles to save his family before he died. Hamas immediately claimed responsibility, as reported at http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,89962,00.html. The daughter of New Jersey Senator narrowly escaped a recent Hamas bus bombing earlier the same month with only shrapnel wounds, as reported by the NY Daily News. Is there a person on Earth who doubts that they deliberately murder innocent men, women and children? On December 3, 2001, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) said, "To ask Israel to negotiate with Arafat is like asking America to negotiate with Mullah Mohammed Omar, the Chief of the Taliban. Negotiating with either would violate President Bush’s maxim: We make war on those who provide haven for terrorists. Arafat is to Israel as Mullah Mohammed is to America. They each hide and help the terrorists seeking to kill us." That's one of the few statements he's ever made that I would agree with wholeheartedly.

So why is President Bush holding back? Why are we not demanding of Palestine the immediate surrender of everyone known to be connected with Hamas? The "roadmap to peace" leads nowhere as long as Hamas and other terrorist organisations are treated as legitimate political parties that deserve any recognition from the United States. Let me be perfectly clear, in case the Administration has forgotten what the War on Terror is about: anyone who supports Hamas or any terrorist organisation in any way, shape or form, including negotiating with such organisations, is as culpable for their murders as the men and women who carry them out.

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