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3/16/03 - WOLFOWITZ ON TODAY’S ENEMY - 2003-03-18

In contrast to earlier times, said U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, “Today’s enemy does not. . .announce his plans, or when and where he will strike. Today’s enemy is found in shadowy terrorist organizations and outlaw regimes that harbor them, provide them training, and supply them with weapons.”

But if the objectives of these new enemies may seem unclear, one cannot say that about their hatred. They hate the United States, its friends and allies -- and everything they stand for. These enemies pose a mortal threat -- as the entire world learned on September 11th, 2001.

In the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, President George W. Bush pledged to destroy the terrorist network, beginning with al-Qaida and the Taleban in Afghanistan. Thanks to the efforts of the U.S.-led coalition, the Afghan people have been liberated and al-Qaida deprived of its most important sanctuary.

There have been other successes in the war against terrorism. One was the recent capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, called the “mastermind” of the September 11th attacks. Such successes show that the effort to disarm Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction has not distracted the U.S. from the hunt for al-Qaida. “But make no mistake,” said Mr. Wolfowitz, “these are not separate issues. Disarming Saddam [Hussein]. . .is a second front in the same war on terror.”

It is clear that terrorists are seeking chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. As Mr. Wolfowitz said, “They present us with a threat that could. . .[involve] tens or even hundreds of thousands of. . .casualties.”

The Saddam Hussein tyranny has made war on Iraq’s neighbors and on the Iraqi people. It has used chemical weapons in those wars. Saddam Hussein has also been a longtime supporter of terrorists. The Iraqi regime has sent bomb-making and document-forgery experts to work with al-Qaida. And it has provided al-Qaida with chemical and biological weapons training.

That is why Iraq must comply with United Nations demands and eliminate all programs for weapons of mass destruction. As President Bush put it, “If the world fails to confront the threat posed by the Iraqi regime, refusing to use force, even as a last resort, free nations would assume immense and unacceptable risks.”