No More Mr. Nice Guy

By: Rachel Marsden

It's time for George W. Bush to cut the Mr. Nice Guy act in his handling of the Middle East crisis and start doing what he does best. This is a man who made a name for himself as a ruthless, tough-talking, law and order type. He mercilessly lit up Texas' Death Row like a Christmas tree when he was Governor of that state. He stood in front of the world on September 11th and said that he would not distinguish between the terrorists that commit acts of terror and the states that harbour them. With that mandate, he destroyed the Taliban and set the tone for the free world's War on Terror.

Now it's Israel--the only non-autocratic democracy in the Middle East--that's directly under attack by fanatical Palestinian terrorists intent on blowing Israeli civilians to smitherines. And what does Bush do? He orders the Israelis to end their military offensive against Palestinian terrorist camps in the West Bank. He sends over US Secretary of State Colin Powell--the closest thing to a dove that he can find in his administration --to have a little tête-à-tête with the Palestinian equivalent of Osama bin Laden. For some reason, it's now perfectly acceptable for the United States to negotiate with terrorists and to encourage others to do the same.

Talk about an exercise in total futility. Diplomacy only works if all parties are prepared to act in good faith; however, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has demonstrated time and time again that he is neither a man of his word, nor an advocate for peace. He has reneged on nine previous ceasefires. Arafat is like the kid in the classroom who only behaves himself when the teacher is in the room. Without direct supervision and babysitting, all hell breaks loose. When face-to-face with Colin Powell, Arafat condemns acts of Palestinian terror, but signed documents recently captured by the Israeli Defense Forces indicate that Arafat has personally been directing and funding terror against Israelis.

Richard Perle, Chairman of the Pentagon Defense Advisory Board and former aide to President Reagan, says he has a tape that he likes to play for people who believe that Arafat is merely the innocent scapegoat in an Israeli campaign of misinformation and lies: "The tape shows Arafat on a stage on the West Bank three weeks after the famous handshake with then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on the south lawn of the White House. Standing next to him on a platform is the grandmother of a suicide bomber. And Arafat can be seen plainly on this tape saying 'Give me your children, give me all your children, Jihad.'"

Even a move as seemingly useless as negotiating with Yasser Arafat hinges on the premise that he actually has full control of Hamas and his own radical followers. To be realistic, we're talking about a man who doesn't even have full control over his own bowel movements since he must currently request permission of an Israeli soldier to use the men's room in his own residence. Fat chance he could control militant Islamic terrorists hell-bent on making martyrs of themselves.

The brainwashing starts early. While their American counterparts are playing "Cowboys and Indians," young Palestinian children participate in "Martyrs and Jews"--a popular game whereby the "martyrs" strap on fake "bombs" and chase after the "Jews" on the playground. They grow up dreaming of the day that they're old enough to carry out a real-life mission of martyrdom. Palestinian psychologist Shafiq Masalha analyzed the dreams of 300 ten and eleven year-old Palestinian children. Their drawings suggested that 15 percent of the children dreamed of being martyrs or being killed. NBC reports that a study just completed in Gaza shows by the time they're grown up, 70 percent are ready to die for Palestine.

A young Palestinian woman by the name of Shifa Adnan Kodsi told CBS news last week that she believed her martyrdom in the name of Palestinian revenge was even more important than her reponsibility as a mother to her seven year-old daughter.

And if the innate motivation to blow oneself up just isn't there, our supposed friends, the Saudis, are there to give the would-be bombers a little boost. According to a Saudi Press Agency report, Saudis are paying the families of Palestinian suicide bombers thousands of dollars for their "sacrifice." Even the Saudi ambassador to Britain glorified the bombers and slammed the United States in a recent pan-Arab daily. In his poem, "The Martyrs," Ghazi Algosaibi praises the 18-year old female suicide bomber who blew up a Jerusalem supermarket on March 29th: "Tell Ayat, the bride of loftiness…She embraced death with a smile while the leaders are running away. Doors of heaven are opened for her." And to think that this guy is their idea of a diplomat!

Make no mistake about it. The battle between Israel and Palestine is only the sideshow to a much bigger war. This is a religious war and the Arab world is huddled together under the umbrella of Islam. It's "them" versus "us," plain and simple. The Israelis are "infidels" and so are we. Their hatred of us runs deep--they live and breathe it from childhood. Their eagerness to act on this deep-seeded loathing, even at the expense of their own lives, makes them a threat to us and to our way of life. Bush needs to drop the diplomatic niceties and start treating Arafat and the Islamic militant Palestinians in the same way that he's dealing with Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, and their respective followers. It's time for the straight-shooting Texas gunslinger to come out from behind the diplomatic façade, cut out the phony optics, get back to the "axis of evil" rhetoric, and send a strong, undeniable message to all terrorists. The only difference between bin Laden and the others is that his fanatical fruitcakes made it here first.