The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition Editorial - August 5, 1996

Terrorists' Friends Must Pay a Price

By L. Paul Bremer III

If President Clinton means to get serious about the fight against terrorism, he should leave the White House Press Room and head downstairs to the basement Situation Room. There he should gather the National Security Council and deliver the following address:

Events of the past two months have made clear that we must take significant new steps to fight terrorism. It is my responsibility to the American people to show them that their government will not tolerate attacks on her citizens here or abroad. For too long the terrorists have had the initiative. Now we must act decisively to change the dynamic by returning to the basic principles of our counterterrorism policy. First, the United States will not make concessions to terrorists, for to do so would be to take the first step down the endless road of blackmail. By our actions as well as our words, we must show that countries that use, sponsor or protect terrorists will pay a significant price. And we must make the terrorists themselves worry that they are not safe from our reach, no matter where they are. As in so many areas, the world looks to America for leadership in this fight. Therefore, I am today ordering the following actions:

1. The director of the FBI is to take immediate steps to double within 60 days the number of informants the bureau has working against terrorists based in the U.S. I want weekly progress reports.

2. The director of Central Intelligence is to restore all budgetary and personnel cuts made in recent years to the CIA's counterterrorism effort, with the specific goal of doubling its operations to penetrate foreign-based terrorist groups within 120 days.

3. The attorney general is to use expedited legal procedures to expel all U.S. residents suspected of involvement in terrorist activities. I want a progress report within 30 days.

4. The secretary of state is to re-establish the position of ambassador-at-large for counterterrorism, reporting directly to the secretary, with responsibility for coordination of our overseas counterterrorism policy. He is to provide me with the names of three nominees for the position within 24 hours.

5. The secretary of state will send a diplomatic message to Libya's Moammar Gadhafi tonight through the Belgians informing him that within seven days he must turn over to us the Pan Am 103 bombers, close down all terrorist training camps, expel all terrorists from Libya and cease construction on his new chemical weapons plant. If he does not, Libya will bear the full brunt of American anger. The Defense Department is to move elements of the Sixth Fleet into the Gulf of Sidra, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff are toprovide me updated lists of Libyan targets, both within 48 hours.

6. The secretary of state is to send a telegram tonight to Syrian President Hafez al-Assad noting that we will reconsider our relations with Syria unless his country immediately closes the terrorist training camps in the Bekaa Valley, closes all terrorist groups' offices in Damascus, stops aiding Hezbollah and forbids Iranian flights to resupply Hezbollah through the Damascus airport. The Joint Chiefs of Staff are to provide me updated target lists for the terrorist camps in the Bekaa Valley within 48 hours.

7. The secretary of state will alert the Iranians tonight through the Swiss that if our country gets any indication of Iranian involvement in terrorism against Americans anywhere, Iran can expect to receive the full weight of American might. The Joint Chiefs of Staff are to update target lists within Iran for my review within 30 days and prepare contingency steps to beef up our naval presence in the Persian Gulf.

8. The secretary of state is to cable his counterparts in Europe and Japan tonight telling them of our message to the Iranians and drawing their attention to its implications for their continued political and commercial support for Iran.

9. The secretary of state will tell the government of Sudan tonight that it has seven days to close down all terrorist camps under its control and to deliver to the Egyptians the men who tried to assassinate President Hosni Mubarak last year. Otherwise, the Sudanese will feel our anger. The Joint Chiefs of Staff will target known Sudanese terrorist camps within 48 hours.

10. The State Department is to inform Gerry Adams that he will no longer be welcome in the U.S. as long as Sein Fein-IRA continues its terrorism.

These are not options. They are presidential decisions. I recognize that they are difficult to carry out, and that in some respects they may conflict with other American policy objectives. Some will say they risk war. But if there is war, it will be the terrorists who have brought it upon us, and I don't intend to lose it. If any of you feel you cannot support this program, will receive your resignation immediately after this meeting. I have asked the national security adviser to give me a progress report in 12 hours. We will reconvene in 24 hours.

I want no discussion of these matters outside this room. Let America's silence be ominous; her actions compelling. Copyright 1996 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

===================
Mr. Bremer, President Reagan's ambassador-at-large for counterterrorism, is managing director of Kissinger Associates.

 HOME  Maccabean  comments