- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Anyone who has thought that President Bush was overstating or politicizing the war on terror should be duly sobered this morning. The bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad yesterday should be revelatory even to the most credulous of the world’s citizens. This was not an attack on “imperial” American troops, but on the Third World-dominated, anti-Israeli, anti-Bush, anti-Iraq War United Nations. It is truly a declaration that the terrorists stand against all flags.

Early brave and solid statements by leading diplomats are encouraging. “Such terrorist incidents cannot break the will of the international community to further intensify its efforts to help the people of Iraq,” stated the U.N. Security Council. Similar statements were issued by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana. But whether they are prepared to follow the logic of their assertions into necessary action will be the test of their seriousness of purpose.

The Financial Times headlined above the fold yesterday (before the bombing), that upwards of 3,000 Saudi Arabian Islamists intent on jihad have crossed into Iraq from Saudi Arabia recently. Also yesterday, it was reported in the Jerusalem Post that Ambassador Paul Bremer accused Syria of permitting terrorists to cross into Iraq from Syria. Iran also has been widely suspected of encouraging Shi’ite terrorists in Iraq. So, while we do not yet know for sure who carried out the slaughters, if, as seems highly possible, these acts are the work of jihadists, rather than — or as well as — Ba’athists, certain implications flow from the brave words of the United Nations, the EU and elsewhere.

The unavoidable implication is that Islamist terrorism in any country cannot be defeated without reversing the policy (or regime) of states that give comfort and support to those terrorists. President Bush’s much-ridiculed Axis of Evil exists, and its targets now include the United Nations itself. If the U.N. Security Council and Secretary-General Annan meant what they said yesterday, they soon will have to present their plan for regime change or transformation in Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia, among others.

Will yesterday’s assault on the U.N. citadel in Baghdad induce the true beginning of the actual fighting of President Bush’s long-called for war by the entire civilized world against terrorism? Or will the United Nations once again rationalize inaction, and thereby complete the rout of its credibility?

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