"Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will [America's] heart, her benedictions, and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy."
-Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, in a July 4, 1821, address to Congress
"Our enemies send other people's children on missions of suicide and murder. They embrace tyranny and death as a cause and a creed. We stand for a different choice, made long ago, on the day of our founding. We affirm it again today. We choose freedom and the dignity of every life."
-President George W. Bush, Jan. 29, 2002
Sooner or later everyone turns on a hero. The court of world opinion judged President George Bush favorably for his steadying hand during the aftermath of 9/11. He received high marks for routing Osama bin Laden's terrorists in Afghanistan. He stirred a "coalition of the willing"-136 nations-who contributed a laundry list of aid to the fight: from troops (4,000 from the Brits), to Labrador puppies (30 from Australia for bomb detection), to bulldozers (two from Bulgaria).
But as the shadow of terrorism extended into 2002-and with it the global war on terrorism-good will from abroad seemed to come in decreasing supply.
The approbation began when Mr. Bush in his Jan. 29 State of the Union address pointed a finger at North Korea, Iran, and Iraq. "States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world," he said.
Taking the war from rogues in caves to rogues in capitals was more than most U.S. allies were ready to shoulder. Despite evidence that those three countries-and others-support terrorist factions and produce arms for terror attacks, it was Mr. Bush who became the villain-an imperialist president violating the dictum of John Quincy Adams, who declared that America "goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy."
Hubert Vedrine, then French foreign minister, called the Bush position "simplistic" and "absurd." Germany's justice minister compared Mr. Bush to Adolf Hitler. An aide to Canada's prime minister called the president "a moron." Longtime British Conservative Party figure Christopher Patten accused Mr. Bush of moving into "unilateralist overdrive." Europeans who demanded U.S. support to oust Slobodan Milosevic from the Balkans now called on the United States to give Saddam Hussein another chance.
By summer an Egyptian newspaper headlined an editorial this way: "No one would support America if the events of September 11 recurred." Osama bin Laden was last year's threat and Saddam Hussein was a decade ago. In 2002 George W. Bush became the greatest enemy of world peace.
Ironically, a perception that U.S.-led forces had finished the war in Afghanistan turned attention to other venues. In January U.S. forces completed a deafening bombing campaign over Tora Bora, Osama bin Laden's base of operations in the mountainous region of eastern Afghanistan. Soldiers found only four al-Qaeda dead when they moved in, but the bombing campaign was a symbolic end to the reign of terrorists in Afghanistan. Mr. bin Laden and his surviving commanders, officials believe, escaped across the snowline and into Pakistan. The legendary leader did not surface again until a November audiotape, confirmed by experts to be his voice, threatened renewed attacks on the United States and numerous allies.
Despite the less-than-successful manhunt, U.S. forces and their Afghan allies secured key cities, then turned to rebuilding Afghanistan. A council of traditional tribal leaders chose Hamid Karzai as the country's interim president, a post he will keep until national elections in 2004. Mr. Karzai-along with U.S. and UN forces-brought security to the capital city of Kabul, opened schools, and paved the way for reconstruction. Those advances have yet to extend to the whole country, nor did they preclude further fighting.
The worst attack for U.S. forces, in fact, was yet to come. On March 4, seven U.S. soldiers died in the war's most intense week of fighting. Neil C. Roberts, 32, fell from a helicopter as it came under fire from al-Qaeda near Gardez. When follow-on special forces landed near the site, six men died in heavy fighting. Altogether, 29 U.S. soldiers died in 2002, compared to 12 casualties in the Afghanistan war in 2001. Between 1,000 and 3,000 Afghan civilians are believed to have been killed by U.S. bombings.
Covering the war also proved life-threatening. Daniel Pearl of The Wall Street Journal disappeared in Karachi, Pakistan, in January. His dismembered body was found in May. A Pakistani judge convicted four Islamic militants of the kidnapping and murder in July. Lead perpetrator Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh was sentenced to be hanged. The others received 25 years in prison. All four have filed appeals.
Islamic militants targeted Christians in Pakistan also, killing 40 in 2002. Intruders rolled hand grenades across the floor of the Protestant International Church in Islamabad in March; the explosions killed five, including two Americans. Similar assaults unfolded at other Christian sites, including an international school in Murree, a mission hospital in Taxila, a Catholic school in Punjab, and a legal aid center in Karachi. Al-Qaeda bombed the Macedonian consulate in Karachi in December, killing four Pakistani employees, including a Christian security officer who was knifed before the explosion. "We are very concerned about Christians in Pakistan who are paying a heavy price for being [Christians] and for being considered as allies of the West," said Nasir Saeed of the Center for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement.
Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for attacks on an Israeli hotel, which killed 16 people on Nov. 28, and on an El Al flight in Kenya. The missile strike against El Al missed but provoked new worries about aviation safety. Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Indonesia, Jemaah Islamiyah, was behind a bomb blast in Bali that killed nearly 200 in October-the largest single terrorist incident since Sept. 11.
In the Philippines, an Oct. 2 bombing in the largely Christian southern city of Zamboanga killed four, including a U.S. Marine. Later that month, two bombs exploded in department stores in the same city, killing seven and injuring more than 150. A bomb in Manila tore through a bus, killing three and injuring another 23. These incidents were tied to Abu Sayaaf, the Islamic rebel group that kidnapped and held for over a year New Tribes missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham. Mr. Burnham was killed in a shootout during a June rescue attempt by the Philippine army. His wife survived and was reunited with the couple's three children in the United States.
In Moscow, anti-terror forces caused more deaths than Chechen rebels who took 850 people hostage in a downtown theater. The siege lasted for three days in October. Russian forces finally resorted to an opiate-based gas to flush out the rebels, who claimed to have wired the building with explosives. The gas killed 129 hostages and all 41 Chechens. It left many survivors with lingering sickness.
Despite the flurry of attacks, 2002 was a career-ending year for a significant number of terrorists. Senior al-Qaeda officials taken into U.S. custody include: Abu Zubaydah, captured in Pakistan in March; Omar al-Farouq, captured by Indonesian authorities in June; Ramzi Binalshibh, a Sept. 11 planner who was captured in a raid in Karachi in September; and Saudi citizen Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, believed to be the mastermind of the USS Cole bombing in Oct. 2000 and a key planner of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa. Abu Zubair, another Saudi and senior al-Qaeda member, was captured in Morocco in June. At the naval base in Guantanamo where the United States built a detention camp for terrorists, 600 suspected terrorists remain in custody.
Terrorism overshadowed other once-unimaginable events. At a November summit in the former Eastern Bloc capital of Prague, NATO invited into membership once-communist Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Those countries have proved particularly adept at moving away from their Cold War past.
But parts of the former Soviet empire slid back in 2002. Belarus hit churches with a tough new religion law that makes illegal all unregistered religious activity. It also outlaws any church activity of fewer than 20 members and religious activity in private homes. Churchgoers who protested the law in downtown Minsk were detained.
Slouching toward Cold War posture in the West are Venezuela and Brazil. Brazil's newly elected leftist president, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, promised to turn his country into a nuclear power (notwithstanding a $30 billion loan Brazil recently begged from the International Monetary Fund). Mr. da Silva, a former union leader and Communist, is close to Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, the firebrand president of Venezuela. Mr. Chavez survived a coup attempt in April. He could be on his way out after failing to end a crippling nationwide strike that drove up world oil prices in December. Mr. Chavez boasts of attending conferences with Latin American terrorists, including Tupac Amaru rebels in Peru, and FARC guerrillas of Colombia who have targeted Christian workers.
Muslim law in Nigeria caused increasing problems for Christians. Twelve northern states have now adopted Shariah, the Islamic legal code, in defiance of the country's constitution and its Christian president, Olusegon Obasanjo. Polarization extends to the streets. Kaduna now resembles 1980s Beirut, observers say, for its religious divide. More than 200 people were killed when Muslims rioted because the city was hosting the Miss World pageant. In nearby Zamfara state, Muslim clerics issued a death warrant against Kaduna journalist Isioma Daniel. They say she sparked the violence by suggesting that the Prophet Muhammad would probably have married one of the Miss World contestants if he were alive. Ms. Daniel fled to the United States.
Sudan's Islamic government wants to prove a leopard can change its spots. Khartoum entered into ceasefire and peace negotiations with southern rebels in compliance with the Sudan Peace Act signed by Mr. Bush in October. But even as talks first got underway in neighboring Kenya, Khartoum forces attacked civilian sites in southern Sudan. The government halted flights of grain and other necessities into the south, causing fear of widespread starvation, but officials lifted the flight ban after nine days. That was long enough to demonstrate Khartoum's willingness to use food for political purposes-and its veto power over UN operations in the war-shattered south.
Sudan took steps to curry favor with the United States in the war on terror. A shelter to Osama bin Laden until 1996, the Khartoum government pled for debt forgiveness and an increase in diplomatic relations in exchange for intelligence on al-Qaeda activities in the Red Sea region.
Other terror-linked nations won't easily erase their spots. North Korea's communist leaders acknowledged that they have been secretly developing nuclear weapons for years. The program violates a 1994 deal with the Clinton administration in which North Korea offered to abandon nuclear development in exchange for food, fuel, and nuclear power-plant construction. Since 1995 the United States has provided more than $500 million in food and other commodities under the deal. Thai officials say Pyongyang has been selling donated rice for a profit on the world market while many North Koreans are starving.
North Koreans fleeing hunger and persecution into northeast China increased. Dozens defied Chinese policy demanding their return, using an underground railroad of house churches to make their way to Beijing, where they found asylum in Western embassies.
The forces of moderation in Iran that came to power five years ago have done little to bend its powerful fundamentalist theocracy-the founding fathers of Islamic terrorism now threatening the West. Tehran's mullahs continue to squelch religious freedom and to support terrorism. But a grassroots movement of resentment and protest is brewing against them. Iran sheltered fleeing Taliban and al-Qaeda operatives who crossed its border from Afghanistan. Tehran continues to finance Hezbollah, which carries out attacks against Israel from its stronghold in south Lebanon. In March Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said his group was trying to smuggle Katyusha rockets into the West Bank.
Terrorist backing from Iran, Syria, and Iraq allowed Palestinians to continue another year of intifada against Israel. Arms caches and suicide bombings-which have killed nearly 700 since they began in 2000-prompted Israel to seize the headquarters of Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat in April. Israeli forces took back Palestinian territory in the West Bank and Gaza, including Bethlehem. Nearly 2,000 Palestinians have been killed in two years of fighting.
War weariness is fracturing hard-line leadership on both sides. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon likely faces a tough reelection against dovish newcomer Amram Mitzna. Palestinian leaders at the same time are breaking with Mr. Arafat, most recently West Bank security chief Jibril Rajoub and former Arafat deputy Mahmoud Abbas. They say Mr. Arafat's decision to allow Islamic militant groups to set the course for Palestinians is a mistake.
The Middle East stalemate hinged the yearlong war that wasn't: Iraq. Pentagon planners in January began briefing the president on strike options against Saddam Hussein. Circumstantial evidence suggests that Saddam Hussein may have been behind the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, and thereby also at the controls on Sept. 11. But of more immediate concern to the Pentagon have been reports on frightening arms production. Saddam's former chief nuclear scientist, defector Khidir Hamza, said Iraq needs only fissile material to produce a nuclear bomb. Another Iraqi defector testified to visiting at least 20 different sites in Iraq associated with all three classes of mass terror weapons-nuclear, chemical, and biological.
"Saddam Hussein's regime is a grave and gathering danger," Mr. Bush told the United Nations General Assembly on the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. "To suggest otherwise is to hope against the evidence."
Despite a potent buildup of U.S. forces in the Gulf, and an October congressional resolution authorizing the president to use them, the Pentagon strategies foundered on the shoals of multilateralism. Allies demanded that any action against Iraq come through the UN. For a time, at least, the United States and Great Britain are going along. So the world body kickstarted its own attempt to curb Saddam, passing a resolution in November that sent UN weapons inspectors back to Baghdad ahead of any military solution.
The deal bought time for Saddam, but also restored support for Mr. Bush. Germany-with France the president's harshest critic-announced its "moral duty" to protect Israel. It will provide Patriot anti-missile systems for Israel's defense against Iraqi missile attacks. Turkey dropped objections to U.S. warplanes basing military assaults from its bases.
Little noted in the heat of war, Mr. Bush rescued retailers and gift-conscious Americans heading into the holidays. By executive decision, he invoked the Taft-Hartley Act to bring an end to a September labor dispute that shut down West Coast ports where one-fifth of imported U.S. merchandise arrives. The lockout and a slowdown by longshoremen set back retail shipments from Asia by weeks. Had Mr. Bush not acted in time, the shipments would have been delayed right past the holiday shopping season. If the campaign against Iraq makes Mr. Bush an enemy of world peace, at least the president did not stand in the way of Christmas.