- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 11, 2002

Pulling punches?

President Bush, partly for politically correct reasons and partly not to offend the Arab world, is choosing to ignore the real enemy militant Islam when referring to his "war on terrorism."

"This is the first time to my knowledge that any leader has declared a war against a tactic," Jonathan Schanzer, a research associate with the Middle East Forum, tells Inside the Beltway in an interview. Mr. Schanzer says it's difficult to fight a global war on "terrorism" when opposing sides, rightly or wrongly, all consider each other to be "terrorists."

As a result, not explicitly targeting militant Islam and its brutal totalitarian ideology has been costly to America, says the Middle East researcher, hindering everything from airline security to sensible immigration policies. Worse, it means not identifying potential allies, particularly the moderate majority of Muslims.

Mr. Bush "has opened a big can of worms," says Mr. Schanzer. "We need to define our enemy. We are fighting radical Islamic groups and the terrorism they perpetrate. We are not fighting other 'terrorist' groups like the IRA or the Shining Path we are going after al Qaeda, Hezbollah, the Islamic Army of Aden, the list goes on."

If there's any doubt of our enemy, he notes that 19 of the 19 terrorist hijackers of September 11 were militant Islamists. The same bunch of radicals overwhelms the FBI's "Most Wanted" list.

"We're afraid to offend, for politically correct reasons and because we're afraid of ticking off the Arab world," explains Mr. Schanzer. "This is not a war against the 1.3 billion Muslims in the world. We know who the enemy is."

As for the Middle East Forum, it's a Philadelphia-based think tank that promotes human rights, peaceful settlement of disputes and American interests in the region. It also pulls no punches when identifying the region's profusion of dictatorships, radical ideologies, political violence and weapons of mass destruction as a major source of problems for the United States.

Driven to terror

Are your neighbors the people they claim to be?

That's what Congress will seek to determine Tuesday when a Senate Governmental Affairs subcommittee examines ID security, especially driver's licenses, the most widely used and perhaps the least secure and tamper-resistant form of identification in this country.

According to the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, which represents chief motor-vehicle administrators and law enforcement officials throughout North America, loopholes in the driver's license framework are some of the biggest threats to the U.S. national security system.

In the days after September 11, it was revealed how at least five of the terrorist hijackers obtained state-issued driver's licenses. Four states Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Utah have policies of issuing driver's licenses to illegal immigrants with no questions asked.

Glamorous terrorists

We wrote yesterday that the chairman of the House Immigration Reform Caucus, Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado, has shared with us a list of 55 "unbelievable but true immigration stories."

Yesterday, we told you six eye-opening stories, dealing mostly with the Mexican border crisis. Now, yet another half-dozen, these related specifically to new U.S. national security concerns post-September 11:

1) State Department form D-156 (the official non-immigrant visa application) asks: "Do you seek to enter the U.S. to engage in subversive or terrorist activities, or any other unlawful purpose? Are you a member of a terrorist organization as currently designated by the U.S. Secretary of State? A YES answer does not automatically signify ineligibility for a visa."

2) Saudi Arabians wishing to travel to the United States typically are not interviewed by the State Department. They can obtain visas through travel agents or "drop boxes" adjacent to U.S. consulates in the country (15 of the 19 hijackers from September 11 obtained their visas in Saudi Arabia).

3) Through the so-called "diversity visa" program, Uncle Sam encourages people from each of the seven countries on the State Department's terrorist watch list to apply for visas to enter the United States.

4) According to several universities, the Immigration and Naturalization Service routinely takes six months to respond to notifications from school registrars about those foreign students, admitted to the United States solely for education purposes, who don't show up for classes.

5) Since September 11, no action has been taken to tighten the "visa waiver" program, allowing people from 29 countries to enter the United States without a visa or even an interview.

6) The H-1B program for high-tech temporary work admits about 500 "fashion model" visas for employment in the United States each year.

Tomorrow: Low morale within the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

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