One Important Speech
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
Before anyone listens to the ex-president of Iran, Mohammed Khatemi, on his propaganda tour of America, we recommend reading the address President Bush gave yesterday at the Capital Hilton to the Military Officers Association of America. It is available at whitehouse.gov. Among the aspects of the speech that impressed us was the way that Mr. Bush placed the threat — “violent Islamic radicalism,” in the president’s terms — in the context of Lenin and Hitler. “History teaches that underestimating the words of evil and ambitious men is a terrible mistake,” the president said.
The president grasped and articulated the way in which the enemy is seeking to divide America. “The enemy has a propaganda strategy,” Mr. Bush said. “Osama bin Laden laid out this strategy in a letter to the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, that coalition forces uncovered in Afghanistan in 2002. In it, bin Laden says that al Qaeda intends to ‘launch,’ in his words, ‘a media campaign to create a wedge between the American people and their government.’ This media campaign, bin Laden says, will send the American people a number of messages, including ‘that their government will bring them more losses in finances and casualties.'”
Mr. Bush explained that this is an enemy with whom it is impossible to negotiate. “After the liberation of Afghanistan, coalition forces searching through a terrorist safe house in that country found a copy of the al Qaeda charter,” Mr. Bush said. “This charter states that ‘There will be continuing enmity until everyone believes in Allah. We will not meet the enemy halfway. There will be no room for dialogue with them.'” Mr. Bush grasped the way in which Israel and America and even the Jewish people are in the same fight. He quoted Osama Bin Laden as planning, as part of his propaganda campaign, to tell Americans that “they are being sacrificed to serve the big investors, especially the Jews.” Professors Walt and Mearsheimer, call your office.
In respect of Hezbollah, a group that America designates as terrorists and that recently launched missile attacks on Israeli civilians from its base in Southern Lebanon, Mr. Bush said, “they’re directly responsible for the murder of hundreds of Americans abroad. It was Hezbollah that was behind the 1983 bombing of the U.S.Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 Americans. And Saudi Hezbollah was behind the 1996 bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 Americans, an attack conducted by terrorists who we believe were working with Iranian officials.” Mr. Bush quoted the leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, saying, “Regardless of how the world has changed after 11 September, ‘Death to America’ will remain our reverberating and powerful slogan: Death to America.”
American public understanding of these key points — that the current threat is akin to that posed by Communism and Fascism; that the Iranian-backed enemy fighting Israel is the same enemy that America is fighting in the same war; that no negotiated settlement is possible because the enemy’s goal is to convert all infidels to Islam and establish a new caliphate; and that the terrorists are counting on a divided America to retreat the way it did from Vietnam, Beirut, and Somalia — is key to victory. Mr. Bush went a long way yesterday toward communicating this.