Mr. MOYNIHAN. Mr. President, I rise today to remind my colleagues that Terry Anderson is now entering his sixth year of captivity in Lebanon. Last Friday, March 16, we commemorated the end of his fifth year. Today marks his 1,830th day in captivity.
Mr. President, during that time, Terry Anderson has lost his father and his brother. His daughter was born. She is now 4 and has never seen her father.
When Terry Anderson was taken hostage on March 16, 1985, Ferdinand Marcos was in power, Solidarity was struggling against martial law, and the Iran-Contra affair had yet to make headlines. Since then, crack cocaine has gripped our cities, the cold war has ended, and the once widespread political ideology of totalitarianism has died. And this. And Terry Anderson has remained chained to a wall in a basement, somewhere in Beirut.
I would like to recall today the sad and sobering words of French journalist and former hostage Jean-Paul Kauffman, who wrote on the fourth anniversary of Terry Anderson's captivity:
The truth is that the hostages in Lebanon today have become the damned of the West. Without hope of being saved, imprisoned in silence and darkness, deprived of the sight of the world of the living, forgotten, they no longer represent anything. * * * The most tragic thing is that this torment is administered as much from the outside by countries and people indifferent to their fate as on the inside by their captors.
Mr. Kauffman's poignant thoughts struck me then, as they do now. The plight of the hostages in Lebanon requires our constant care and attention. We must do all we can to convey to Terry Anderson and the others that we have not forgotten, that we are not indifferent, and that we will not stop fighting for their release until they are resting safely in their homes. Captivity is a day-to-day ordeal for them; it has to be for us as well.
Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that three articles appearing in the Washington Post over the weekend be printed in the Record at this point. One concerns the ceremony held in Lafayette Square on March 16, commemorating Terry Anderson's fifth year of captivity. The other two address the issues being raised by United States efforts to secure the release of the hostages.
There being no objection, the articles were ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:
Through tears, prayers and emotional remembrances, friends and family of U.S. hostages yesterday gathered at Lafayette Square to mark the fifth year that journalist Terry Anderson has been a hostage in the Middle East.
President Bush--in a letter he presented yesterday to Anderson's sister, Peggy Say--said he plans `to keep open lines of communications with all parties, including Iran, who have influence over hostages takers.'
Bush, who did not come to the ceremony across from the White House, told National Public Radio that he decided to meet with Say because, `Every day I'm president I have a heavy heart when I think of the hostages.'
But the president added that he also had to keep a `delicate balance' between caring about the hostages and giving any signals `to the hostage holders that make them feel that there's more advantage in holding the hostages than in releasing them.'
White House press secretary Marlin Fitzwater said `it was widely concluded that President Reagan's actions' in the Iran-contra scandal, in which he agreed to sell arms to Iran, `were guided by his personal contact with the hostage families and the great anguish that he received as a result of that.'
Fitzwater said that `perhaps because of the Iran-contra experience . . . I don't think anyone has any fear of being driven to do anything irrational because of personal contact with the families. There is certainly no fear of that on the president's part.'
Bush has said repeatedly in recent weeks there are no ongoing negotiations to win freedom for the hostages but that he would be willing to pursue any leads and talk to anyone who might aid in their release. Yesterday, Bush disclosed that he had had contacts with Syrian President Hafez Assad. `I've been in touch with him,' Bush said as he toured the Tidal Basin to view the cherry blossoms.
Fitzwater said Bush had been in contact with Assad through `diplomatic channels' but declined to be specific. `There have been a number of overtures to leaders in the Middle East, including Assad, in recent months on the hostage matter,' he said.
Bush also said he had received some reports from former president Jimmy Carter, who is traveling in the Middle East, and who met with Assad this week. Bush emphasized that Carter was traveling in an unofficial capacity.
At the noon ceremonies arranged by a Washington-based humanitarian organization called `No Greater Love,' Say said she wanted to tell Anderson's captors that: `We are the American people and you have humiliated us and you have degraded us and you have shamed us . . . and you wonder why your claims of injustice fall on deaf ears.
`You say that your story is not being told, and yet, the man that told it so well has been chained to a basement wall for five years,' she said.
The ceremony, which also acknowledged the time 17 other Western hostages has been held in Lebanon, included speeches by Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.),
anchormen Dan Rather of CBS News and Tom Brokaw of NBC News, and the Rev. Lawrence Martin Jenco, a hostage locked up with Anderson before his release in 1986.
In the crowd were scores of journalists and colleagues of Anderson. Perhaps their strongest applause went for remarks by Thomas Friedman, chief diplomatic correspondent of the New York Times, Friedman told the crowd that at Anderson's commemorative service last year, he and others had appealed to the `moral self-interest' and religious teachings of Anderson's captors.
`But as we stand here today we have to look back on the last year and reflect that we were just talking into the wind,' Friedman said.
Friedman said that so far other hostages have only been released by what he called `the market solution,' in which hostages are essentially purchased by their government, or `the military solution,' such as the 1976 Israeli raid on Entebbe Airport in Uganda to free hostages held by hijackers of an Air France jet.
Friedman said the United States has opted for a third method of dealing with the hostage issue `that I call the constitutional solution . . . where we sit back and say, `I'm sorry, we just don't negotiate with kidnappers.'
`As one who lived Beirut for five years, I know the kidnappers understand the market solution. They understand the military solution, but I'm afraid they don't understand the constitutional solution,' he said.
Friedman said it was time to come up with other ideas for Bush. `He's as confused as we are, and I don't blame him,' he said.
Louis Boccardi, president of the Associated Press, said, `At this point, the greatest gift we can give [Anderson] is to press on, to not falter, to find an honorable way to get the job done.
`If I know Terry, that's what he's thinking too,' Boccardi said.
In Beirut's dilapidated southern suburbs, where American and other Western hostages are believed held, another round of Shiite fratricide broke out last week. The hostages are in earshot of the rattle of machinegun fire in the alleyways near the dim basements that imprison them, as well as the thunder of artillery from an inter-Christian war that has been waged house to house and street to street only two miles away.
In the meantime, the United States, with the help of its Arab and Gulf friends, and the region's ubiquitous `middlemen,' is following its own maze of diplomatic streets and alleys, seeking the release of the eight Americans still languishing in Lebanon. As Terry Anderson, the longest-held American hostage, began his sixth year in captivity, the signals that Iran and the United States have lately been sending each other suggest that, despite continuing threats by pro-Iranian groups in Lebanon to harm their American hostages, both governments may now be willing to find a way out of the hostage impasse.
`The outline of a deal has come into focus,' said Martin Kramer, Israel's leading expert on the hostage-holding group Hezbollah, and currently a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center. `The question is, what is Iran going to work out with the hostage holders and Syria? We are closer to the beginning of that process than the end.'
Kramer is referring to the complexities Iran will face in getting the hostages released by their captors in Lebanon. Iran will have to persuade its regional ally, Syria, to allow groups such as the pro-Iranian Hezbollah to operate freely within Lebanon. Syria's Lebanese proxy, the Amal Militia, has been at war with the more militant Hezbollah since 1988 to keep it out of southern Lebanon.
Iran will also have to mediate between Lebanon's traditional power brokers and the web of fundamentalist groups that have made that troubled nation an extension of Tehran's foreign policy operations.
The actual Lebanese captors of the foreign hostages, who fall into the various categories of greedy contractors, rabid ideologues or relatives of Shiite activists held prisoner in Kuwait, will not be easy to sway. `There will have to be a process of arduous persuasion by the Iranians. [The captors] will also maximize what the hostages will bring them. They realize they have an asset that is losing in value, but this is still not a fire sale,' cautioned Kramer.
One source familiar with several governments involved described the outlines of a possible deal; `The idea is to first release three hostages, then to see whether certain conditions are met. Iran is eager to be removed from the terrorism list,' the source explained, `to have the United States unfreeze its assets. . . . There is some intransigence, but Gulf countries such as Oman, Algeria and Syria are involved in the process.'
Conditions Iran would like to see addressed include a final resolution of conflicting monetary claims between Iran and the United States, which date back to the Shah's overthrow, and the more recent dispute over U.S. compensation for victims of the Iranian civilian airliner shot down by the USS Vincennes in 1988. It is unlikely that Iran has dropped any of its conditions, but it may be willing to reshuffle them and tell its allies in Lebanon that a hostage release is necessary.
According to Iranian and Lebanese fundamentalist sources, the captors are setting a number of conditions that would involve an exchange of some of the hostages for Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners now being held in Israeli jails. Among these would be clerical leader Abdel Karim Obeid, who was captured in southern Lebanon by Israeli commandos last summer.
The captors are also insisting that any deal not include Israeli soldiers taken prisoner in Lebanon since 1985, and that Israel refrain from building any settlements in northern Israel near its border with Lebanon. The captors fear that such settlements will be built to accommodate the expected influx of Soviet Jews into Israel, and that they will put added pressure on Lebanon's scarce water supply.
Furthermore, the captors are resisting realeasing all of their hostages; they want to hold on to some of them as a guarantee against retaliation.
Though most U.S. officials cringe at the mention of the word `deal,' specialists and diplomats agree that regardless of the scenario or sequence of goodwill gestures, Iran sanctioned kidnapping in Lebanon for a future trade-off.
`Iran always wanted something in return for the hostages. [Iranian President Hashemi] Rafsanjani is an opportunist, not a philanthropist. If he wants to secure the release of hostages, he wants to be paid in some form,' one State Department official explained.
As one European diplomat specializing in Middle East and hostage affairs here observed, `There is no free lunch in the Middle East.'
Rafsanjani has a number of incentives for trying to make a deal for the hostages now rather than later. Rafsanjani may be coming to believe that the value of the American hostages is deteriorating, that they stand in the way of much-needed rapprochement with the West.
Such a rapprochement has nothing to do with any shift in Iran's perception of the West and its values, but with the hard facts of Iran's crumbling economy. Iran's general assembly, the Majlis, often the setting for virulent tirades against Western and other countries, has approved foreign funding for an ambitious five-year development plan.
Furthermore, the revolutionary changes in Eastern Europe may soon deprive the Islamic Republic of its geostrategic importance.
There have been numerous signs of movement from Iran. A Feb. 27 editorial in the influential Tehran Times stated that: `The time has come for all the hostages to be freed unconditionally, because their continued detainment has resulted in widespread negative propaganda against the Islamic Republic.' The newspaper recommended that Moslem fundamentalist forces in Lebanon release the foreign captives on humanitarian grounds.
After a trip to Tehran, Lebanon's leading Shiite spiritual leader, and the eminence grise of Islamic fundamentalists, Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, further fueled hopes with an optimistic forecast the day after the editorial appeared. There were `practical factors indicating that the western hostages in Lebanon wil be freed,' Fadlallah said. Usually in tune with current trends in Iranian thinking, and with the ripples in Tehran's power centers, Fadlallah added, `I can say that there is a general conviction, a favorable atmosphere, not abstract but based on tangible elements.'
However, Ahmed Khomeini, the son of the late Ayatollah Khomeini, dampened some of the euphoria over Iran's change of heart by denying it was directly involved, with hostage-taking, and saying that the United States was wasting its time in trying to open channels to Tehran. `The United States will never see the day when the Islamic Republic will reach a compromise with Washington.'
In a call to his proteges in Lebanon for defiance, former Interior Minister and Hezbollah founder Ali Akbar Mohtashemi wrote an editorial in the hard-line Kayhan newspaper last weekend warning that `freedom for the hostages means breaking the chains of bloodthirsty wolves.'
Iranian observers and analysts in Tehran discount the significance of Mohtashemi's views, noting that the broad principle of foreign funding has been approved despite the factional bickering.
`The question of relations with the United States is so bitterly controversial, but Rafsanjani has an eye on the future,' one Iran specialist commented.
President Bush repeated his open message to Iran last week that `good will begets good will.' He also tantalized reporters at his Tuesday news conference with the suggestion that `When the whole story comes out on [the hostage process], you all are going to be very, very fascinated with the details,' For now, U.S. counter-terrorism teams appear to be no more than keen spectators, processing messages, communiques and declarations from Iran, Syria and Lebanon for final reports and recommendations to the secretary of state and the president.
`The United States and Iran could have a normal relationship,' said one U.S. official closely monitoring the hostage crisis. `Our interests are not inimical or antagonistic to one another.'
`It was old men hating old men, and young men suffering for it,' said Noel Koch, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, in a critique of President Reagan's attitude of hanging tough on the hostages.
Koch argued in an interview that it would have been better to try to deal with the hostage issue during Ayatollah Khomeini's lifetime, `even if it meant eating a little crow in the process,' rather than let him die in a state of implacable hostility toward the United States. The situation has proven difficult to resolve under Rafsanjani.
As the myriad players seek some kind of payoff from kidnapping, revolution and war; as go-betweens probe for profitable opportunities; as governments seek the least humiliating solution to a problem that has lasted too long, the hostages, dehumanized, degraded and sometimes forgotten, are waiting. But they are still alive, and life is inestimable.
Hostage-taking is a form of terrorism, and the American record in dealing with terrorism has been marked variously by indifference, indecision, vacillation, venality and incompetence. Yet, in spite of the cost in American lives and treasure, U.S. policy toward all forms of terrorism still can be summed up in single meaningless phrase: `no negotiations, no concessions,' a policy that has never run the risk of relevance.
Within the Reagan administration, where I dealt directly with counter-terrorism, there were endless disputes over the most effective way to deal with states involved in terrorism. Such disputes began at the bottom, with hair-splitting considerations of what was a state and what was state-supported--as opposed, say to state-sponsored--terrorism. Government officials, particularly those in the State Department dealing in Middle Eastern affairs, were utterly unmoved by any suggestion that nations within their purview might be acting in ways contrary to U.S. national interests.
For example, Iraq harbored a bomb maker named Abu Ibryhim, some of whose products turned up on American civil aircraft. At least one fatality could be traced to the explosives conceived in Baghdad, and that low number was luck; the bombs were placed to destroy at least two American jumbo jets. Iraq was on the State Department list of nations involved in terrorism. Then in 1983 Iraq was removed from the list. Iraq was still a terrorist state, but for reasons of regional political posturing, it was deemed necessary for the United States to favor Iraq in the war Iraq had launched against Iran.
On a similar note, the evidence of Syrian involvement in terrorism was--and for years has been--conclusive. Yet when a decision was made in 1985 to send Ambassador-at-Large for Counterterrorism Robert Oakley to Damascus to remonstrate with President Hafez Assad, officials in State's Bureau of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs intervened, protesting that the straight-talking Oakley might offend Assad. Oakley was not sent.
A combination of circumstances led to the U.S. bombing of Libya in April 1986. These circumstances included the persistent and irritating posturing of Libyan strongman Mu'ammar Gadhafi, growing public and congressional disenchantment with the Reagan administration's failture to deal with terrorism--especially Middle Eastern terrorism; intra-governmental pressures, with elements within the administration at war with each other, and finally, the fact that Libya was simply considered the easiest target among terrorist supporting nations. In addition, the United States had evidence of Libyan involvement in an act of terrorism against Americans in Berlin.
The bombing of Libya had a curious impact, The Reagan administration insisted that it had stopped terrorism cold--especially Gadhafi's role in it. This was nonsense; Gadhafi barely skipped a beat, changing the communications system that had led to the discovery of his involvement in the Berlin bombings, and enlisting a more competent group of surrogates to continue his actions.
There were beneficial consequences, of course. These came with the sudden, major upgrading of European cooperation with the United States in addressing terrorism. European governments did not want the United States conducting military operations on NATO's southern flank, with all the risks that entailed for Europe, not to mention risks to European personnel and businesses operating in the Middle East. Therefore, a number of Libyan embassies in Europe were closed down, a number of Syrian diplomats were expelled, and cooperation between intelligence and enforcement services increased. The result was that terrorism declined during 1987 and most of 1988, offering a false dawn and permitting American officials to declare that terrorism was finished.
The chief source of inspiration and capacity for terrorism continues to come from nations on the Mediterranean littoral, and from Iraq and Iran. These threats rarely manifest themselves in the United States, but Europe provides a target-rich environment for those who want to kill or otherwise harm Americans.
The evolution of present-day terrorism policy begins in the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War in the Middle East, with Palestinian frustration and the ideologically inspired violence of European radicals beginning to make themselves felt at about the same time. One distinguishing feature that linked all early hostage-takings of that period was that authorities responsible for resolving these incidents felt compelled almost without exception to make some concessions in the interests of seeing the hostages freed. In the early years, the propriety of this step was rarely challenged.
One early attempt to challenge this policy come in Khartoum in 1973 with the takeover of the Saudi Arabian Embassy by Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) terrorists. American Ambassador Cleo Noel and his deputy, George Moore, were among those seized. President Nixon refused the terrorists' various demands, and the Americans were killed, along with a Belgian diplomat.
The logic of the `no concessions' position, then and now, seems self-evident: Making concessions to terrorists provides an incentive for the commission of further acts of terrorism. Whatever else the U.S. government understood about the issue, it felt safe in clinging to that basic wisdom, and clung it has, even as terrorism has changed and appreciation of the problem has become far more sophisticated than it was in 1973.
The takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 provided President Carter's partisan opponents with a gift of seemingly incalculable political value, and they joined the Ayatollah Khomeini's Iran Revolutionary Guards in tormenting the president. At length, however, the gift proved poisonous: Candidate Ronald Reagan's repeated assertions of the ruthlessness with which he would address any acts of terrorism made his administration a prisoner of his campaign rhetoric (gratuitously amplified in his inaugural address).
Thus as terrorism accelerated in the face of President Reagan's promise of `swift and effective retribution,' White House political operatives sought to shield the president from the growing public conviction that the world was becoming an increasingly less safe place in which to live and travel, and that somebody needed to take responsibility for managing the problem.
Relations between the United States and Europe went sour on this point. Behind closed doors, officials in Washington blamed the growing terrorism problem on the refusal of the Europeans clearly to enunciate and to implement a policy refusing to deal with terrorists. From the European perspective, the American attitude was just about intolerable. As noted, Americans were very often the targets of actions in Europe--actions that often did more damage to Europeans and their property than to Americans. Further, America had a credibility problem when it came to fighting terrorists; many nations--West Germany, the Netherlands, France, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Turkey and Israel--had sent forces against terrorists and won.
The United States was not known to have enjoyed any successes in the war against terrorism; the will to confront the political and bureaucratic impediments to success was not there. Compounding the grievance, Americans seemed utterly incapable of keeping a secret; jealousy, bickering and noncooperation were the order of the day among U.S. intelligence services, and the calculated leak was part of the arsenal in their internecine wars. It was risky to share information with American agencies. Moreover, in spite of the endless parroting of `no negotiations, no concessions,' European officials were aware that U.S. policy could turn on a dime.
In addition, the sheer intransigence of the `no negotiations, no concessions' policy was seen by Europeans to be inherently dangerous. As soon as the United States confronted a terrorism incident of duration--such as a hostage-barricade event--spokesmen would begin at once to insist that the United States was not going to deal with terrorists. Yet, as anyone who has dealt with the problem knows, should terrorists wish to attack the policy itself in order to demonstrate how the United States might be forced to make concessions, it would be child's play to do so. So stylized and bombastic had these declamations become by the mid-1980s, that it was suggested to the State Department that it ought to be sufficient simply not to make concessions and be quiet about it.
Finally, the policy foreclosed any exploration of possibilities for ameliorating conditions that often prompted the bloodiest acts of terrorism. As long as the United States saw itself in a test of wills with those who committed terrorism, terrorism would continue unabated.
Yet the United States seems married to a policy that has outlasted its purpose, if, indeed, the policy was ever congruent with its purpose. The anchor that continues to hold this policy in place consists of nothing weighter than the fact that the Reagan administration vociferously adopted it. President Bush cannot revise a policy with which he was associated as vice president without raising the question of why it was not done sooner, for instance, when he chaired the administration's Task Force on Terrorism. In addition, it must be determined whether revision acknowledges inadequacy and, if so, how the victims of that inadequacy--among them Americans who died in Beirut and others still alive there--are to be compensated.
The clearest indication that the policy of `no negotiations, no concessions' is inadequate to the problem it addresses can be found in the singular fact that Reagan himself violated it. Even had National Security Adviser Robert C. McFarlane not been duped into trading U.S. arms to Iran for American hostages, torturous efforts to circumvent the policy without appearing to violate it were already in evidence.
For the present, the prospect of retaliation for Pan Am flight 103, the absorbing internecine struggles within Iran, the preeminent attractions of the intifada, and Lebanon's national suicide all draw energy and attention from Middle East terrorism. That it will resume is certain.
The hostages in Beirut are an impediment to a change in the relationship between the United States and Iran. It is in the interests of both parties to find a way around this impediment. We know from experience that Tehran cannot simply wave a wand and effect the release of people held by pro-Iranian factions in Lebanon. Post-Khomeini divisiveness in Tehran make this all the more problematical.
We also know from experience that the hostages in Lebanon provide a dangerous, chronic opportunity for the United States to bring embarrassment upon itself, or have embarrassment brought upon it by the unscrupulous. Useless, cruel or self-aggrandizing initiatives associated with the hostages in Lebanon are endemic; the hostages are victimized by their own leaders no less than by their captors.