An A.R. Editorial
ON TO IRAN
by Joe Shea
American Reporter Correspondent
BARDENTON, Fla., Nov. 20, 2003 -- With the revelation just minutes ago that Osama bin Laden is in Iran with his top aide and planning terrorist actions there, a critical hour in the War on Terrorism has arrived.
According to Fox News London correspondent Mansoor Ijaz, interviewed by Brit Hume in Los Angeles, "unimpeachable" sources with firsthand, eyewitness information have seen Bin Laden, now disguised with a completely shaven head, an ayatollah-style beard and having gained some weight, in western Iran.
Ijaz said that, according to these sources, Iran's fear of an Afghan democracy immediately beside it has motivated it to take up arms with an Afghan warlord who controls seven provinces in Afghanistan and move an army of Islamic soldiers into place under cover of the coming winter to attack U.S. troops and interests there next Spring.
Meanwhile, attacks against two synagogues and two British targets in Istanbul have stunned Turkey, just as the sudden increase in the level of violence both planned and intercepted has chilled Saudis in recent weeks. There is now clearly a region-wide effort on the part of al-Qaeda to escalate the terror campaigns against Middle Eastern democracies and those who fight for their right to exist. It must have become clear to Bin Laden that attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq and successful bombings of innocent targets elsewhere could restore momentum to the terrorist's cause.
At the same time, Bin Laden must also have realized that while he may be regaining momentum, he is losing huge geographic regions that were formerly under friendly control. A fortuitous alliance with Iran - or, possibly, a longstanding one that only now has resolved to a clarity Westerners can see - was precisely what Bin Laden required to mount the massive war against the West that he has long envisioned.
And now he must be stopped.
The American Reporter takes pride in its generally progressive stance with respect to the problem of war, its inhumanity, its grief-strewn wake, its hideous cost in irreplaceable lives and limbs, and its huge economic price. All those who protested today in Trafalgar Square in London, and those who have filled the streets of the United States' largest cities and those of capitals around the globe are not wrong about the horror of war in all its aspects.
But they are wrong about the wisdom of the American presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. And they are wrong about Islamic fundamentalism - at least that body of it that supports or mounts the war of terror against the West. Unless these protestors are willing to convert themselves and their nations to fundamentalist Islam, they can have no hope of peace for generations to come. The fact is that we are, whether by error or design, perfectly situated in Iraq and Afghanistan to bring terrorism under control at last.
We believe that without delay the United States and its allies Britain, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey, must now bring their defense of Western life and freedoms to the streets of Teheran. We must restore true democracy to that nation and renew its capacity to take its place in the civilized world. It is unclear how well-prepared Iran is to resist. They have a modest army, but are a restless people.
Much of Iran's population has long been disillusioned with the Islamic Revolution that toppled the corrupt Shah of Iran and brought Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to power in 1979. They were a civilized nation with a growing middle class, still saddled with vast poverty, when Khomeini and his thugs marched into the streets and executed thousands of innocent people, seized the U.S. Embassy and took its employees hostage, and then began its sponsorship of terrorist violence around the world. Despite signs of a possible rapprochement with the West and the growing influence of the pro-democratic opposition in Iran, progress has actually been slight - and where it has occurred, it has been stopped at the barrel of a machinegun.
Given the likelihood as already reported that Iran had a role in training those who organized the suicide bombings in Istanbul, we fully expect Turkey to embrace the charge thrust upon its secular government by conscience and history. To join the allied coalition against Iran will surely strain its political fabric to the utmost, but we think there is no question that most Turks now believe that the path of retreat is blocked; they can either advance against the terrorist enemy, or give them Istanbul.
Britain's motive for participation must be obvious to all following the murder of its top consular officer in Istanbul today. The demonstrators who toppled a papier-mache statue of President Bush in Trafalgar Square this morning learned within hours that Islamic fundamentalist terror is no paper tiger. Neither is America's President, or British Prime Minister Tony Blair. We hope, and fully expect, that new troops will be rushed to Iraq and Afghanistan in preparation for engaging the Iranian-sponsored invasion and ultimately - within the year, we hope - to take Teheran from the sons of Khomeini.
You cannot do battle against an idea. When you are attacked by bombs and rockets and hijacked airliners, and the author of these depravities is free to sponsor more and expand his messianic army, you must also fight his idea. Bin Laden's idea is that with ample money and suicidal soldiers, a guerilla war of terror can be fought indefinitely against a foe who is unprepared to respond as forcefully as he must because he lacks broad support to engage the terrorist more fully.
This idea is a good one under most circumstances, but it fails in those now present because we do have the will, and there is support, however muted at times, for a war to the finish against Osama and all of his allies. The final stage of that war must now begin, and it must be won.