- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 15, 2006

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Our Declaration of Independence separates us from terrorists.

We Americans believe that man, in fact all mankind, has an expectation, a right, to life. We believe this is an “unalienable right,” in fact a sacred right not granted by man but by a higher power, our Creator, and incapable of repudiation. The right to life cannot be taken by another man.

The terrorists don’t believe we, or any man, apparently, has an expectation to life. The terrorist have shown they can commit, intend to commit and are committed to intentional, indiscriminate killing of innocent strangers.

What greater disparity could there be in the beliefs between the terrorists and ourselves? Americans see themselves as men with rights “endowed by their Creator.” Terrorists see America as “the Great Satan.” There is a gap, in fact an abyss, in values and moral mindset between America and the terrorists.

What makes this so devious, so desperately troubling, is that part of the terrorist movement has, will have or wants nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The actions of the terrorists to date tell us they are released from our inhibitions to kill indiscriminately by using nuclear weapons and other WMD.

And the terrorists are encouraged, fueled and even driven toward using WMD by the likes of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, various imams, mosques, madrassas, political activists and others. In fact, throughout Pakistan and other Muslim nations, terror has superceded a religion. This means, for the terrorists, all treaties, all normal forms of the so called “laws of war,” and all the normal underpinnings of negotiation are off the table.

We need to think very carefully about what this means for the United States and the Western World and where we go from here.

The terrorists are:

• Using liquid explosives carried aboard in hand luggage in their planning to destroy hundreds of passengers in airliners. This since 1995, and it continues.

• Using aircraft as weapons (in the United States on September 11, 2001) and bombing trains and buses (Britain’s July 7, 2005, and Madrid on March 11, 2004).

• Using Katyusha rockets to bombard Haifa and other targets in Israel. These unguided rockets are intentionally and indiscriminately killing innocent civilians. Close to 4,000 of these have been used to date; with 250 fired into Israel on Sunday within 24 hours of a U.N. “cease-fire.”

To put this in a nutshell, Israel, has been using a conventional military force bound by restrictions on the indiscriminate killing of civilians, to find and kill people lobbing unguided rockets into their civilian population with no restrictions on indiscriminate killing; a kind of asymmetric warfare of the most heinous sort.

The U.N. and the media view the opposing forces through a single prism of values: both are brother nations of the world. In fact, there seems to be a media bias toward Hezbollah (not a nation at all). And Kofi Annan wasted no time in saying Israel “intentionally” killed U.N. observers during the conflict.

The terrorists, media and the United Nations tend to handcuff the West within its own values even more, while the other side feels empowered. Reuters news service participated in the chicanery last week by publishing doctored photos detrimental to Israel. And the screaming rhetoric of Al Jazeera reminds us that the other side doesn’t play by the same rules as the West — freedom of the press without checks and balances.

In a story in the Los Angeles Times on Aug. 1, Ashraf Khalil detailed how the Israelis also call innocent civilians’ cell phones to warn them of impending danger due to military action. Even while dropping leaflets to warn civilians, Israel has moved humanitarian care to a new level, but has been given little credit.

• On Aug. 10, former Israeli Prime Minister Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is working on nuclear weapons and “eventually after crying wolf, you face the wolf, and this wolf has nuclear teeth, and it will bite, of that I’m sure.”

This is the same President Ahmadinejad that appeared on “60 Minutes” Aug. 13, claiming the U.N. was only serving U.S. needs; said last autumn that the Jewish state had to be wiped off the Earth; defies the United Nations while he does nuclear research that most experts believe is intended to make a nuclear bomb. This is the same Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who arms Hezbollah and develops his own long range ballistic missiles.

A few days ago, Bernard Lewis, professor emeritus at Princeton, wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “During the Cold War, both sides possessed weapons of mass destruction, but neither side used them, deterred by what was known as MAD, mutual assured destruction. Similar constraints have no doubt prevented their use in the confrontation between India and Pakistan.”

The question: Are terrorists deterred by their own potential destruction, when they already act as suicide bombers? Stated clearer, once one is released from the belief in life, as stated in our Declaration of Independence, how may he be effectively confronted and countered? What binds the terrorists is the religion of intentional, indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians. No true religion can underwrite this thinking.

What binds us, the Western democracies, first and foremost, is the belief all men have a right to life. As so eloquently stated in the U.S. Declaration of Independence, all mankind are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

From the terrorist perspective, terrorism is war against democracies and life. It is meant to cause death, suffering and anguish among civilian masses in pursuit of political gain.

Given the chasm in values between mass killers and people firmly adhering to the right to life (and a lot of other rights), it seems the Patriot Act, National Security agency eavesdropping and restrictions on liquids aboard aircraft are minor indeed.

This conundrum of belief between terrorism and America — in fact, the West — must consequently alter how we view and wage this war on terror in the future. Before Iran has a nuclear weapon, we might rethink our values and moral restrictions or ask ourselves how many lives would we be ready to lose.

John E. Carey is the former president of International Defense Consultants Inc.

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