When President Bush addressed Congress and the nation nine days after the deadliest terrorist attack the world has ever known, the people of the US, as a country, became optimistic. Bush told a joint session of Congress, ?From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.? The country was assured that, once and for all, the United States and its leaders would draw the line between good and evil and that from now on, the fight against terrorism would be a black-and-white affair without anymore gray. This, however, has yet to be proven.



When the president gave Secretary of State Colin Powell his blessing to build an international coalition against terrorism, it was amazing to see who was invited to join and who was not. Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, was forced to sit out in the cold, while countries on the State Department?s list of nations that sponsor terror were cooed and coddled into joining the winning team. Terrorist sponsoring states such as Syria and Iran, notorious for funding and harboring terrorist organizations, were pursued by the American administration. As the United States began its justified bombing campaign against the evil Taliban, countries in the Persian Gulf, like Saudi Arabia, where some of the September 11 terrorists were born and bred, have so far been left untouched.



Worst of all, only a few days after the attack on America, the White House revealed its support for a Palestinian state. Believe it or not, the US administration decided to reward Yassir Arafat just so other Middle Eastern nations would be willing to join the coalition. Yes, it looked as if Arafat, the father of modern terrorism, the man responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Israelis and Americans, would reap the benefits of Osama bin Laden?s murderous ploy.



In a speech broadcast on television recently, President Bush once again talked tough. He said, ?We gave (the Taliban) a choice: turn over the terrorists or force your ruin. They chose unwisely.? Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon issued a similar demand last week to the Palestinian Authority in regard to the terrorists who murdered Israeli Minister of Transportation Rechavam Ze?evi as he returned to his Jerusalem hotel room. When the Palestinian leadership refused to hand over the criminals, Israel took the initiative of punishing Arafat for harboring Ze?evi?s murderers and began pinpointed strikes against Palestinian terrorists and structures.

While bombs were being dropped on Afghanistan, Israel was asked by the world community to exhibit restraint. Officials also called for an end to the ?cycle of violence.? If this were a cycle of violence, then wouldn?t the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon and the American response also constitute a ?cycle of violence?? No, just as Israel has the right to defend its citizens by bringing those guilty of killing innocent civilians to justice, so does the United States.



The time to lose the double standard is now.

------------------------

Josh Hasten is a staff writer for Sagamore, the weekly newspaper of Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis.