- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 2, 2004

NEW YORK. — Vice presidential candidate John Edwards said last weekend a Kerry administration would propose a “grand bargain with Iran,” allowing that nation to keep its nuclear power plants only if it agreed to not retain nuclear fuel for bomb-making. In an interview with The Washington Post, Mr. Edwards said if the Iranian government agreed but then did not comply, a President Kerry would make sure European “allies” would join us in imposing heavy sanctions on Iran.

We tried that with North Korea. In October 2002, the Bush administration disclosed North Korea was abrogating a deal it signed during the Clinton administration under which it agreed to freeze its nuclear weapons program.

In 1994, Jimmy Carter went to Pyongyang to negotiate that deal with North Korean leader Kim Il-sung, the father of the country’s current leader, Kim Jong-il. Mr. Carter, who had expressed surprise Soviet dictator Leonid Brezhnev “lied to me” when Russian troops invaded Afghanistan in 1979, took the word of another communist thug, only to again reveal his limitless capacity for self-deception.

Mr. Carter and the Clinton administration thought they could make love, not war, with the North Korean government by allowing it to develop light-water reactors in exchange for promising not to convert nuclear material into bombs. What made them believe Kim Il-sung, and then his son, would suddenly beat their nuclear swords into power units?

This kind of wishful thinking is the greatest danger to successfully prosecuting the war on terrorism, along with our porous borders. The Border Patrol was recently told to be more friendly to invading, uh, entering aliens. Have a nice day, any killers among you.

Is our government blind to what is happening and the invaders’ intentions? Look at France, which has let in large numbers of Muslims. Many now demand they be granted rights afforded no other religious group.

Two French journalists kidnapped by Islamic extremists in Iraq have urged the French government to give in to their captors’ demands and revoke a law banning Muslim headscarves in public schools. Should the French capitulate (so far they have refused), the fanatics will be emboldened to step up infiltration by immigration in France and the United States until they become an influential voting block and a bigger terror threat.

Some of the more radical Islamic Web sites (they by far outnumber so-called “moderate ones”), provide information on voter registration and mobilization to alter U.S. domestic and foreign policy, particularly toward Israel, and to gain political power for objectives that may not serve the general welfare.

Clearly not all Muslims are terrorists, or wish to hurt or bring down America. But how can we identify who fits this profile when the fanatics are instructed how to “blend in” with the rest of us until they can unleash death and destruction? Where is the Muslim Martin Luther King Jr. to urge Muslims to embrace nonviolence, not jihad?

A Zogby poll for the Center for Immigration Studies shortly after September 11, 2001, found 76 percent of Americans believed the government was not doing enough to control our borders and screen those allowed into the country.

That view was held by self-identified liberals, conservatives and moderates — and by nearly identical margins. An overwhelming majority (85 percent) of likely voters then thought lax enforcement of border and immigration laws has made it easier for terrorists to enter the country, and most believed lax enforcement contributed to the September 11 attacks.

The war will not be won by platitudes, or attempts to convert radicals to our way of life by letting in people who mean us harm. If we want to win this war, we must control the borders, substantially reduce or eliminate the immigrant quota from radical Islamic countries and find the Islamic terrorists already here and get them before they get us.

That’s how to fight a war. That war we can win. Anything less is appeasement and surrender, and guarantees defeat.

Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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