- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 25, 2003

From combined dispatches
DAVOS, Switzerland Attorney General John Ashcroft, declaring that terrorists must not be appeased, rejected suggestions yesterday that Washington should do more to understand and address their motives.
Mr. Ashcroft rebuffed Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's challenge on this issue, which is fundamental to the U.S.-led global war on terrorism in the wake of the September 11 attacks.
In debate at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the veteran Malaysian leader stressed the need to avoid fueling the anger of militants, while the American emphasized prevention through improved security, intelligence and communications.
Those responsible for the September 11 attacks "were incensed over something" and the world should try to understand what motivated them, Mr. Mahathir said.
Mr. Ashcroft retorted that the September 11 attackers engaged in "hostage-taking to kill innocent civilians," adding that "the targets of terrorism are values and the rule of law."
"I'm not willing to say we have to downplay values we believe in to appease the terrorists," he said.
The raw state of trans-Atlantic relations and unease over U.S. foreign policy were hot topics among some 2,000 of the world's movers and shakers at their annual networking event.
On the opening day of the forum Thursday, several of the 2,300 business, government and other leaders criticized the United States for its threats to go to war against Iraq over its suspected arsenals of mass destruction.
Yesterday, the head of Turkey's ruling party accused the United States and other countries of hypocrisy in demanding Iraqi President Saddam Hussein give up weapons of mass destruction while holding on to their own arsenals.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, chairman of the governing Justice and Development Party, said eliminating nuclear, biological and chemical weapons in Iraq was a worthy goal.
"This sounds good," he said in his first appearance at the World Economic Forum. "But let's not kid ourselves.
"No one is interested in eliminating their own weapons of mass destruction. They're interested in strengthening their own weapons of mass destruction."
Asked if he was accusing the United States of hypocrisy, Mr. Erdogan said: "I meant all the countries in the world. The United States is also included."
Mr. Erdogan said Turkey would wait for a decision from the U.N. Security Council before deciding whether to support military action against Iraq.
U.S. military teams have been surveying Turkish ports and air bases that U.S. troops could use for an attack on Iraq, Turkey's southern neighbor.
Turkey has so far refused to grant permission to the United States to base troops in Turkey, but is expected to approve at least a limited deployment in the coming weeks.
A senior U.S. official, Richard Haass, acknowledged at the forum that Washington had yet to make a convincing case for military action against Baghdad after Russia and China joined France and Germany in opposing any rush to war.


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