- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 23, 2004

In observing the violence in Iraq, it is helpful to have a grasp of history. There is a reason for the increased random violence. Our enemies — free Iraq’s enemies — want to influence the American elections. Thus they make it appear things are going worse than they are.

This is nothing new. History abounds with examples of a democracy’s enemies trying to influence an election. It happened just months ago in Spain.

History also abounds with lessons on how to deal with brutes whether they are trying to influence an election or some other political outcome. That is why I think the best world news in recent months came some days ago out of Moscow. There Vladimir Putin announced he would project Russian force even beyond his borders to thwart terrorists. Bravo, Russia’s most famous black belt. That sounds very much like our president’s visionary policy of “pre-emption.”

The present threats to American — and to Russian — security do not come from nation-states rattling their swords against us, but from shadowy figures lurking in rogue states and preparing suicide missions. You do not deal with such international criminals with diplomacy and massed armies. You pre-empt them.

The Russians have a history of such tactics, and they proved effective. In Lebanon in the 1980s, two KGB officers were snatched by Islamic terrorists. The response from Moscow was immediate. Four of the terrorists’ colleagues or like-minded scoundrels were snatched by the KGB, who deposited their corpses in public after surgeries were committed on their persons, which we shall not elaborate on in a family newspaper. Suffice to say the surgeries were abhorrent even to an Islamic terrorist. The KGB then let it be known that every time a Russian was murdered he would be accompanied to the hereafter by two terrorists, possibly more, all surgically modified. The Islamic terror ended.

Even Americans have dealt brutally with Islamic terror and to good effect. In 1911 in the Philippines, our Gen. John J. Pershing arrested several of the most brutal Islamic terrorists of the day. They were found guilty of capital crimes and shot but not before the bullets used by the firing squad were dipped in pig fat, thus denying them, according to the rule of Islam, a soft landing in heaven. Gen. Pershing, however, did allow one of the terrorists to escape so he might report his chums’ fate to their superiors. Islamic terrorism ended.

Now I would not prescribe such tactics as those of the KGB and our illustrious Pershing for the modern age. I would not even prescribe the ribaldry of our ill-trained troops at sexy Abu Ghraib Prison. But I would say we can and should get much tougher with the thugs. The Marines should have been allowed to work their will on Fallujah, obviously a center of the gangsterism now threatening the future of a peaceful and stable Iraq. Doubtless there are other centers from which thugs filter out to destroy their countrymen and our forces.

Sen. Jean-Francois Kerry is prescribing precisely the wrong policy for dealing with Iraq. Actually, it goes beyond being wrong. It is delusional. He talks as though once he is in office the United Nations and perhaps NATO will come in with gentle persuasion to pacify the primitive anarchy that is Iraq.

He ignores the fact President Bush prevailed on the United Nations and NATO before and got nowhere. In his megalomania, Mr. Kerry acts as if he is more influential on the world stage than Mr. Bush. He launches pipedreams such as, “The principles that should guide American policy in Iraq now and in the future are clear: We must make Iraq the world’s responsibility.” A noble ideal that, but frankly I think President Putin and Gen. Pershing have had better ideas than Mr. Kerry of how to make people act responsibly.

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is editor in chief of the American Spectator, a contributing editor to the New York Sun and an adjunct scholar at the Hudson Institute.

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