The vision-challenged opponents of the war against the terror masters, those who have been saying that you can’t fight Saddam and terrorism at the same time, got bad news today from Baghdad. It turns out that our surgical strike on Wednesday night — the one aimed at the “top leadership” of Saddam’s little hell-between-two-rivers — got an unexpected bonus: a terrorist from the Palestine Liberation Front. And the good news comes not from the Pentagon but from the PLF itself.
According to UPI, the Palestine Liberation Front said Thursday one of its guerrillas was killed during the U.S. missile strikes on Iraq. A PLF statement released in the southern city of Sidon (Syrian-occupied Lebanon) identified the slain guerrilla as 1st Lieutenant Ahmed Walid Raguib al-Baz who was killed early Thursday “while confronting the treacherous U.S. air bombardment on Iraq.”
I don’t know anything about the late Mr. Al-Baz, but I know all too much about the PLF and its evil leader, Abu Abbas. This was the group that organized the hijacking of the Italian cruise ship, the Achille Lauro back in the mid-1980s. They segregated the American passengers from the rest, and then courageously pushed an American Jewish paraplegic in his wheelchair, Leon Klinghoffer, into the Mediterranean. We tried to have Abu Abbas arrested in Italy, but he escaped through Yugoslavia to Yemen.
The PLF has long been one of the most lethal Palestinian terrorist groups, and achieved notoriety for its high-tech killings. Recently, Abu Abbas had come to live in the Palestinian Authority, but when Israel moved against the terrorists there he ran away — to Baghdad. The PLF has been one of the main conduits for Iraqi money to Palestinian suicide bombers.
So, in a single stroke, we have demonstrated the rightness of our cause and the wisdom of President Bush. It makes no sense to distinguish between the terrorists and the regimes that support them, for they are one and the same. We targeted a high-level meeting of top Iraqi officials, and willy-nilly eliminated a member of the terror network. Time will tell just how good and how lucky we were in the opening salvo of the Second Gulf War. But there is already cause for satisfaction.
Somebody should tell Daschle and Byrd.
— Michael Ledeen, an NRO contributing editor, is most recently the author of The War Against the Terror Masters. Ledeen, Resident Scholar in the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute, can be reached through Benador Associates.