aka “State-Sponsored Terrorism”

· long story short

Many of us saw this news item last week:
Ex-C.I.A. Aides Say Iraq Leader Helped Agency in 90’s Attacks, NYT, 6/9/04, article
“Iyad Allawi, now the designated prime minister of Iraq, ran an exile organization…that sent agents into Baghdad in the early 1990’s to plant bombs and sabotage government facilities under the direction of the C.I.A., several former intelligence officials say….
“One former CIA officer…recalled that a bombing during that period ‘blew up a school bus; schoolchildren were killed.’ … he did not recall which resistance group might have set off that bomb. Other former intelligence officials said Dr. Allawi’s organization was the only resistance group involved in bombings and sabotage at that time.”
All of the reports on this last week focused on the specific connection with Allawi, which is important. But far more significant is that the United States sponsored these bombings. And the comments from officials make clear that such sponsorship, in general, is to them unsurprising, if not routine. “An American intelligence officer who worked with Dr. Allawi in the early 1990’s noted that ‘no one had any problem with sabotage in Baghdad back then,,,”
Yet the whole world knows that state-sponsored terrorism is anathema to the United States.
Fortunately, we have stern punishment in store for countries that engage in it. I suggest we begin with purely economic and diplomatic sanctions, We must be patient and give these sanctions a real chance to work. Punitive military action against the United States should be employed only a last resort. If it does come to military action, we must have a clear mandate from the United Nations Security Council before we begin. Unilateralism has cost us far too much already.
President Bush’s dictum must be applied. “We’re either with us or we’re against us.”