- The Washington Times - Monday, September 17, 2001

We know their names. We know where they work to continue their war against the United States and are preparing their ultimate attack — the one they expect to be doomsday for American power and society.
They announce their goal day in day out year after year. Like all maniacal religious or military dictators they eventually strike for that goal, no matter the cost in lives, or die in the attempt. Sometimes they turn on each other but usually not until they are defeated or conquered.
This should be nation-saving information for free countries. But for years now the United States and its allies in the West have paid only casual attention to the reality that should have terrified all Americans — that some of our enemies are building a nuclear armory, mixing poison chemicals and honing internationally manned suicide squads.
We and our allies actually make some nations on the list of murderer nations list even richer and stronger with trade and loans, and have freed them of U.N. inspection. In the case of Iraq, all we got out of defeating it on the field, was the U.N. right of inspections.
All right, that was in another world. It was the world before America realized it was incapable of discovering or stopping a pack of hijackers and did not have the slightest idea that armies of terrorists that endlessly warned of their attack on the United States would really do that one day, and that the day had arrived, now.
The president says we are going to punish the criminals and those who abet or shelter them. Immediately we hear suicidal whines that we cannot do that yet because we don't know who they are.
Oh yes we do — we know them from their own mouths, and controlled press, committing incitement to commit war against the United States, constantly demanding American blood. Even in the freest of democracies, judges will order protection of the clearly marked victim against known criminals who build their lives against anybody they hate.
In the attack on America, it is not just anybody who is hated, but an entire nation, the still not quite believing United States. We really do not have to wait until they decide they are ready to hit New York and Washington again, and likely more cities, this time perhaps with a load of poison gas.
We should send an ultimatum tomorrow. It should take no longer for the president and national security chief to summon up the clout and courage to issue it.
The ultimatum should go to the governments of Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Sudan and any other devoted to the elimination of the United States or the constant incitement of hatred against it — and the terrorists marauders they shelter or supply.
The order should give those governments three days to turn over the following:
(1) All documents having to do with information and technology about weapons of mass destruction in their countries, domestic or received from friendly foreign nations.
(2) The names and locations of all officials of terrorist organizations created or operating in the country. That would include, of course, the famous Osama bin Laden, the Islamic militant who the Afghan officials admit lived and worked in Afghanistan, although they just don't know exactly where he is today.
(3) It would also include presidents and prime ministers and others who have terrorist records. They might not like to hand them over to the United States… .In that case, the top military official would have the duty to arrest them, or be arrested himself as soon as he came into American hands.
(4) In the three days the terrorists consider the American ultimatum, the residents of the countries would be urged 24 hours a day by the United States to flee the capital and major cities, because they would be bombed to the ground beginning the fourth .
(5) Officials who disobeyed any part of the order would receive lifetime sentences when captured. All trade to or from the country would end. It would resume when and if a democratically functioning government took office, approved by a committee consisting of the United States, and five other countries chosen by it as having contributed most to the roundup of terrorists in each of the countries, and the creation of a democratic new government.
They would oversee the military, economic and political affairs of the country for five-year periods, until satisfied that the roots and effects of the era of terrorism had been expunged.
Military force would be used so long as necessary.

A.M. Rosenthal, former executive editor of the New York Times, is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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