from the Congress Action newsletter

National Focus

by: Kim Weissman
November 18, 2001

... the Clinton administration during those years was more interested in dismantling Microsoft than in dismantling al Qaeda.

In the months since September 11, the nation's attention has rightly been focused on the threat of international terrorism that has selected the American homeland as its primary target, and on the war being waged to reduce that threat. But the attacks of September 11 only focused our attention on the problem. The problem itself has existed for nearly a decade (if not longer). We have just been ignoring it:

In October, 1993, during the U.N. operation in Somalia, 18 American Rangers were ambushed and killed on the streets of Mogadishu. Attention focused on the refusal of Clinton's Secretary of Defense to supply proper armored support for the American military force, despite repeated requests to do so by commanders up to and including Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin Powell. People connected to bin Laden provided military training to the Somali tribes.

On February 26, 1993, the World Trade Center in New York was bombed for the first time. The goal of those who carried out the attack was to topple one tower into the other, bringing both buildings down. Six of the Middle Eastern men who were later tried and convicted were suspected of having ties to bin Laden.

On November 13, 1995, a truck bomb exploded outside the Khobar Towers in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, being used to house American military advisors, killing U.S. military personnel. The aim of the attack was to drive U.S. military forces out of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region, which continues to be the stated goal of bin Laden. In 1996, bin Laden declared "war" against the U.S. and praised the terrorist bombing of the Khobar Towers barracks.

In May, 1998, bin Laden was quoted by ABC Nightline as declaring, "We believe the biggest thieves and terrorists in the world are the Americans. The only way for us to fend off these assaults is to use similar means. We do not differentiate between those dressed in military uniforms and civilians. They are all targets in this fatwa."

On August 7, 1998, a coordinated bombing of U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killed over 200 and injured approximately 5000 people, including many Americans. A number of those convicted of the attacks were members of bin Laden's al Qaeda network. On October 15, 1999, the United Nations Security Council enacted Resolution 1267, essentially an arrest warrant for Osama bin Laden, who had been indicted for conspiring to kill American nationals in the embassy bombings. For those insisting on leaving the punishment of terrorists in the hands of the U.N., that arrest warrant has been ignored by the nations harboring bin Laden for over two years.

On December 14, 1999, plots to bomb Los Angeles International airport and the millennium celebrations in Seattle were foiled when customs agents arrested an Algerian smuggling explosives across the Canadian border. One of the men convicted in the plot told the court that he had been trained in a terrorist camp in Afghanistan run by bin Laden.

On October 12, 2000, the warship USS Cole was attacked by a suicide bomber while in port in Yemen. Bin Laden appeared to take credit for the attack In a recruitment video for al Qaeda widely circulated throughout the Middle East.

At least five different attacks on six different American targets by the same terrorist group within less than a decade, even before September 11. But the Clinton administration during those years was more interested in dismantling Microsoft than in dismantling al Qaeda; the public was more interested in dot-com millions than in bin Laden's minions; and the American media thought that O.J. and Monica were much more interesting than Osama bin Laden. After all, it was far easier — and far more comfortable — for inside-the-beltway media slugs to hang around D.C. watering holes and regurgitate democrat lies about republicans starving school children, kicking old people into the streets, destroying the environment, and ramming through tax cuts for the rich; than to actually investigate the real threat to America posed by the violent anti-American hatred being sown in the Mosques and schools across the Arab world.

How many times over the past decade, and especially over the past two months, have we heard the armchair strategists complain that the Gulf War coalition should have gone after Saddam in Baghdad, that the failure to take out Saddam at the end of the Gulf War left the job unfinished? Now that the Afghan phase of the current war appears to be heading toward a successful conclusion, how many of those same armchair strategists will demand that we end the war at once and bring our forces home? Leaving, once again, the job unfinished.

President Bush and his entire administration has said, over and over, that the war against global terrorism will not end, cannot end, with Afghanistan. Yet we all know that the empty-headed peaceniks-at-any-cost, the moral equivalency media pontificators, and the America-is-always-wrong socialist left will soon begin to demand that we "End It Now!" And if we acquiesce, a year or two years or five years from now, when another terrorist group among the many infesting the world launches another devastating attack against America, how many of those same armchair strategists will complain because we left the job unfinished? How many will admit that the job was left unfinished because of their own short-sighted whining?

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18 nov 2001