On Point: List of Horrors

by Austin Bay

Let's start with anthrax, nerve gas and black-market nucleardevices.

Put those horrors on "List A."

Now, move to ballistic missiles and suicide terrorist strikes.Jot those down on List B.

Name List A: "Sample Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)."

Dub List B: "Sample means for delivering WMD in order to killhuman beings by the tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands and thousandsof thousands."

Neither list is all-inclusive, particularly List B. However,including "postal envelope" with "ballistic missile" as an effective meansof delivering "bugs" (biological weapons) in order to kill hundreds ofthousands of innocent people would be highly misleading. There's atremendous difference between creating mass panic via PostalService-delivered anthrax (where psychological jolt far supercedes physicaldamage) and a missile attack where a warhead disperses disease spores over acity, literally seeding large-scale suffering and destruction.

Now jump to List D: That's the list where you'll find Al Qaedaand other international terrorist organizations.

Yes, I skipped List C. For the moment, put three names on thatlist: Iran, Iraq, North Korea.

The Bush administration labels this list "the axis of evil."Critics of President Bush, of both the foreign European feckless anddomestic spineless varieties, say the "axis of evil" label is a rhetoricalexcess. Perhaps, but sometimes harsh facts require harsh language.

List C helps connect List D to the weapons and delivery systemsof Lists A and B. That's the harsh hell of it. The connections among thesestates and terror organizations are as real as the hole that was the WorldTrade Center.

These "rogue-led states" (a more accurate description than"rogue states") on List C provide "back up" and support to terrorists.Arguably, if not the source of a particular terrorist's "global reach,"these nations act as the financial, intelligence and material facilitatorsof that capability. In some cases, they may indeed act as instigators. The"rogue-led" states also interconnect. North Korean ballistic missiles cropup in Iran's arsenal.

Bush deserves kudos for his clarity of language. "States likethese, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming tothreaten the peace of the world. ... The United States of America will notpermit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world'smost destructive weapons."

The budget Bush proposed this week deserves kudos for clarity ofpurpose. It is a serious budget for a serious war -- a just war that must befought, won and paid for.

The feckless and spineless appear to prefer a superficial war.Superficial war was the coin of the last administration. Bill Clintonoffered bombast, declaring war against terrorism in 1998. Was thatrhetorical excess? A more apt description is words without deeds. Sept.r 11demonstrates that the price for waging a superficial war is stiff.

In contrast, Bush provides leadership and budget. Naming thenames demonstrates that Bush is not going to fight a superficial war,because the future price exacted by either terrorists or rogue-leaders usingWMD will be far too terrible.

Yet the feckless and spineless are shocked at President Bushnaming names.

They shouldn't be. Everyone knows who they are. Last fall,Undersecretary of State John Bolton tabbed Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Syria, Iranand North Korea as states possessing or pursuing bio-terror weapons. Thesesix dreg states have all served as entrepots for global terrororganizations -- sustaining them with men, money and guns. Bush was merelydrawing a finer bead, fingering the three chief culprits.

The administration clearly understands that Iran, North Koreaand Iraq represent distinct challenges. The Iranian people are sick of theirfundamentalist dictators. American political, economic and intelligenceoperations will help support Iranians seeking democratic change. Themullahs, however, have been given notice that the United States will nolonger accept their edgier capers, such as allowing Al Qaeda terrorists toescape through Iran. North Korea is a basket case, but a basket case thatstill prefers to proliferate rather than cooperate. The Bush message toPyongyang is to recalculate. Since Sept. 11, the gray zone for facilitatingterror has shrunk. The few millions Kim Jong Il's cohorts obtain fromselling weapons to terrorists could quickly turn their basket into a casket.

As for Iraq's Saddam Hussein, that particular hub of the "axisof evil" will be broken by bombs and tanks. Put him on List E, the one fordead dictators who will not be missed or mourned.

Read Austin Bay's Latest Book

To find out more about Austin Bay and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.


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