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Backdoor terrorist threat

01/01/03 12:00AM By Bill Seamans
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(Host) Looking ahead to the new year, commentator Bill Seamans says there is another threat gathering to our south, uncomfortably close to home.

(Seamans) Now that our national holidays of festive self-denial are over the way is clear for President Bush to call upon the American people to really face up to the reality of the sacrifices of a real war--- like the suffering of the Checo family of Elizabeth, NJ. Their 22-year-old paratrooper son was killed the other day in a firefight in Afghanistan - the reality of war at Christmastime.

It is now prime time for the preemptive strike President Bush has repeatedly threatened against Saddam Hussein. And if Saddam is not enough, we now have a more serious nuclear threat in North Korea. But never mind. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says we are fully capable of waging two wars in different parts of the world at the same time.

Meanwhile, if Mr. Rumsfeld would look out his backdoor at South America he might see the strong possibility of yet a third threat---yes, a third threat. You've heard of Hezbollah, the Party of God, which is supported by Iran, is based in Lebanon, and has become the most powerful terrorist group. Before the 9/11 horror Hezbollah had killed more Americans, including those 241 Marines blown up in their Beirut barracks, than any other terrorist group.

Now think of Hezbollah operating a flourishing base in South America! They are said by intelligence sources to have established training camps in a remote area along the common borders of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. The area is known as the "tri-border region" where its said government law officers fear to tread.

To give Rumsfeld an even bigger headache, its reported that al Qaeda also is there training with Hezbollah and planning attacks against the U.S.

So what does this all mean? According to one expert analyst the "tri-border region" is "one of the worlds emerging threat areas." Now that means that our South American "backdoor" has suddenly become a serious national security problem. If we are to follow President Bush's preemptive doctrine of killing terrorists before they kill us then a significant new South American burden will be imposed on our armed forces. Do we have enough troops to handle a possible three-front threat -Iraq, North Korea, and now South America?

Also, our security people will have to take a hard new look at our southern border immigration situation which, because of the increasingly powerful Hispanic-American vote, right now is a political wink-wink sieve---and has become a terrorist infiltration highway. Little has been said publicly about this new backdoor terrorist threat to our national security. Lets hope it doesn't end up as another buck-passing Congressional investigation asking "who knew what and when" after it's too late.

This is Bill Seamans

Award-winning journalist Bill Seamans is a former correspondent and bureau chief for ABC News in the Middle East.

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