View Full Version : Terrorism in the Clinton years
12-10-2001, 08:58 AM
Before we start blugeoning Mr. Clinton yet again for another skeleton in the closet, let's examine a few issues:
1) LtCOL Oliver North announced the threat of the terrorist Osama bin Laden during the Iran-Contra hearings in 1986. No one paid attention to this. This happened on President Reagan's watch.
2) The World Trade Center was bombed in 1993 and we caught a few Osama wanna-bees. We thought the problem was fixed.
3) Two US embassies in Africa were bombed nearly simutaneously and after the press became bored, we forgot about it.
4) After the USS Cole was bombed and once the press became bored, we forgot about it.
5) Only after the spectacular (meaning very visible) attack on US soil did anyone take action.
We have known about the threat of terrorism since the 80's. We have done nothing because we thought that nothing could happen to us. We refused to see the extent of the terrorist threat. As a nation, we were blinded by our own arrogance.
I am not blaming anyone for this gross oversight, including Mr. Clinton. I am not especially fond of this particular ex-president, but I think it is unfair to blame him just because most of this happened on his watch. I didn't see many anti-terrorist rallies and demonstrations over the past 10 years, nor have I seen the issue highlighted by any particular group.
Just remember that when we point a finger at someone, there are three fingers pointing right back at us.
(Edited by tsjohnsr at 1:19 pm on Dec. 10, 2001)
Whether the "press became bored" or not...It is the duty of the Federal Government to protect this nation, it's citizens, it's borders and it's interests.
Those that hold these offices don't get to ignore things that don't make the evening news every night! They are obligated to act even when it won't get their face on camera!
12-10-2001, 09:46 AM
As I wrote in the column I am talking about the lack of action taken when the Sudanese tried to pass on vital intelligence data and Clinton's people ignored them. As John stated it is the duty of those elected and appointed officials to protect us and they failed horribly to a point of being a criminal act.
12-10-2001, 10:10 AM
Your point is valid and you are correct that our government's primary responsibility is to defend our interests and the freedoms that we all enjoy as citizens of the greatest democracy that has ever existed. #I am only pointing out that we all have a responsibility to do our part to support them. Our elected leaders are our representatives and, as such, are obligated to mirror the position of the people they serve. We, as citizens, #have the responsibility to stay engaged in the affairs of government so that we can communicate our needs and desires to our elected representatives. There are many sources of information that show what is happening in our government. I know that C-SPAN isn't exactly award-winning entertainment, but it is a window into the business of the nation. If we all contacted our leaders regularly, I am sure that they would take notice regardless of who is lobbying who in the inner circles of government. To keep the influence of special interests in perspective, it is the responsibility of each of us to voice our opinions to our representatives and keep them informed about what is important. It takes a bit of work to do this, and the ones that are willing to do the research generally get thier way if there is no opposition. LtCOL North's testimony is public record, but no one pursued an investigation into the terrorist groups of which he spoke because no one thought that we were vulnerable.
At least some good will come out of the recent tragedies in the form of heightened awareness and diligence to protect what is ours. I am saddened that it had to come this far, but the people of the United States have now put the group(s) responsible and those that support them on notice that we will prosecute and there is no where to run. I believe that we now have the full support of the nation at large.
(Edited by tsjohnsr at 10:25 am on Dec. 10, 2001)
You're right we do have to lean on these people from time to time and keep up on the world around us. I'm a big fan of C-Span myself.
I would however mildly disagree on one point, it may not be much of a disagreement, you stated our representatives "are obligated to mirror the position of the people they serve". #I think there are times when they should be more concerned with what's right and not what's popular. History demonstrates this many times.
But it's a position those with honor and excelent character would have chosen. Not the last administration.
12-10-2001, 07:13 PM
Your comment, "To keep the influence of special interests in perspective, it is the responsibility of each of us to voice our opinions to our representatives and keep them informed about what is important. It takes a bit of work to do this, and the ones that are willing to do the research generally get thier way if there is no opposition. LtCOL North's testimony is public record, but no one pursued an investigation into the terrorist groups of which he spoke because no one thought that we were vulnerable." I fully agree with the first portion of the comment. This got me to do some research and what I have found is Lt. Col. North never mentioned bin Laden during any testimony given. The culprit he was talking about was Abu Nidal, a Palestinian. Further research shows that starting in October 2001 an email has been circulating that makes this false claim that many have accepted without further verification. So I guess you can’t say that any blame for the September attack can go to President Reagan or his administration.
12-11-2001, 03:13 PM
Thanks for catching that. That's the mark of a good journalist, Ken. I had heard of the incident but I could not recall from where so I was shooting from the hip. I apologize for the bad information.
My point was that we have known about the threat of terrorism for years but we have done little about it. You really can't pin the blame on any one person. When something like this happens it is rarely due to a single causal factor. Even the perpetrators had to collaborate on the scheme to pull it off, but that was a willful criminal act and not an accident.
I believe that our part in the tragedy as a nation was simple complacency. We had a casual attitude about security on 10 September. The INS didn't scrutinize the legitimacy of the operatives when they applied for visas or investigate them when their visas expired. The international banking system wasn't prepared to prevent the terrorists from moving money around the world. Airport security didn't question the utility knives that the terrorists used to gain control of the aircraft. The cockpit doors of the airplanes were not secured to prevent entry, and the list goes on.
Before the Imperial Japanese government attacked Pearl Harbor, we thought that 3,000 miles was all the protection we needed. What we really have to do is find out exactly why this could have occured and actively seek ways to prevent such a thing in the future without restricting our freedom that we fight so hard to keep. What is done is done and we need to move on.
12-11-2001, 05:32 PM
I agree we were complacent and took very little seriously concerning our safety from any type of attack here at home. After all, who would dare do that. However, when a nation, like Sudan, comes to us through formal channels saying they have specific information about a terrorist group threatening to act against the United States we shouldn't brush them off like Albright did or block agencies interested from pursuing the information. We should thank them and then act to prevent what it was we were warned about. This is what has me so enraged at the Clinton team. For me this is the worst possible act (or inaction) that our leaders could do.
The failure of the Clinton administration to act is a causal factor for me and I feel we should spend some of our tax money to find out if in fact what is being reported is true. If it is true, then shouldn’t Clinton and others from his administration be held accountable for their failure to act in our best interest?
12-27-2001, 05:09 PM
there's a great article by dick morris on this topic in today's new york post:
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