The Real Terror of Islamic Terrorism....
Islamic Terrorism stopped being what some considered a nuisance in 1993 when the World Trade Center was attacked for the very first time. The shear size of the explosion left no doubt that it was intended to murder thousands of Americans by bringing down the entire building. Although the terrorists didn't succeed, the bombing did kill six innocent Americans on American soil. It was a wake-up call, but the Clinton Administration did not want to hear it.
Fighting International Terrorism is one of the CIA's main responsibilities. The Clinton Administration should have made absolutely sure that the agency had enough funds and personnel to do its job. Instead, funding was reduced, hundreds of jobs were slashed and even its spy satellite program was cut back.
In 1995, five US military lives were lost in a bombing at the Saudi Arabia National Guard Center. Next, in 1996, the Kobar Towers in Saudi Arabia were bombed and nineteen US military died. Three bombings in four years with the death of 30 Americans and no one in Washington would admit that the United States had become the target of unrestricted terrorist warfare.
The best opportunity to capture Usama Bin Laden was offered to President Clinton by the government of Sudan in 1996. Both the CIA and the FBI suspected Bin Laden of financing and possibly directing acts of terror against our country. This is why Clinton wanted the Saudi government to take Usama into their custody. When the Saudis refused, nothing was done to stop Bin Laden from going to Afghanistan.
Considering what the CIA and FBI suspected, the Clinton Administration should have had the courage to take Usama Bin Laden into custody. He should have been questioned and held until it was determined whether or not legal charges could have been brought against him. If no proof could be found, he could have always been released later. But taking a suspect into custody and questioning the suspect is just sound police work.
The US Embassies in Kenya and Tansinia were bombed in 1998. Hundreds of civilians were killed and thousands were injured. Earlier that year, Usama had openly declared war against the United States. President Clinton finally took action. He ordered missile attacks on a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan and against terrorist camps in Afghanistan. These strikes were not an effective action and, if they served any purpose at all, it was to warn Bin Laden that he had our attention.
Our best opportunities to kill Usama also happened during the Clinton Administration. Our intelligence network located him several times. Every time, Clinton and his Cabinet found reasons not to act. They wanted to capture him, not kill him. If they tried to kill him, innocent lives could be lost in the collateral damage. And the list goes on. No one seemed to think that, by killing Bin Laden, they could save American lives and other innocent lives like the ones lost in Kenya and Tansania during the embassy bombings.
In 2000, the USS Cole was bombed and seventeen of our sailors lost their lives. Clinton did not take any action because that incident was under investigation right up to the day he left office.
There was no failure of imagination during the Clinton Administration. Experienced and qualified people in both the CIA and FBI saw the danger. But no one listened to them. Their budgets were cut. They were not allowed to organize properly. And worst of all, communication between the very people who might have discovered the 9-11 plan was blocked by bureaucratic and political arrogance at the highest levels of government. Any idea that the Bush Administration could have corrected eight years of incompetence during the first eight months of a new administration is absurd.
It is time we understood that Usama Bin Laden is a dedicated, intelligent and ruthless terrorist leader. He destroyed the World Trade Center for four primary reasons. It was a massive blow against the US economy. The murder of 3,000 people is a fearsome message to the American people and people throughout the world. He destroyed a national landmark to strike at our national pride and confidence, and, at the same time, to reduced our status as a superpower. Finally, this success gave him stature and power as a worldwide terrorist leader.
Understanding these four reasons is just the start of realizing how dangerous Bin Laden and his brand of Islamic Terrorism could become. UBL, as the media like to call him, knows that the US economy must be his prime target. With 5% of the world's population, we are 30% of the world economy. He appreciates the fact that President Reagan used our economy to bring an end to the cold war and cause the collapse of the Soviet Union. He cannot reach his goal of dominating the Middle East unless he defeats the US economy.
The World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and possibly the Capital Building or the White House, these were targets of opportunity, but they are not his primary target. Usama Bin Laden wants to control the world oil supply. Oil is real power because it is the lifeblood of the Industrialized Nations. The Middle East contains more than 50% of the world supply. If he controls this oil, he can isolate us from our allies and concentrate on our economic destruction. In a way, Saddam's use of the Oil For Food Program to corrupt the United Nations and gain the cooperation of France, Russia and China is a small example of what Bin Laden could do.
Islamic Terrorism is a virus and, if we don't find a way to stop it, this virus will spread worldwide. The danger goes beyond Bin Laden giving Muslims a perverted rationale to take innocent lives. He understands that conditions in the Muslim world are a breeding ground for hatred, radical Islam and Islamic Terrorism. He realizes that democracies are not equipped to fight against a religious war because we value religious freedom.
Right now, a religious war is exactly what he is waging. He uses the Mosques of radical clerics as bases of operation. He also uses the Madrasas, the schools of extreme Islamic religious fundamentalism, for the same purpose. This religious worldwide network was already in place. Bin Laden is simply taking advantage of it for his own purposes. There is no one country that we can invade to destroy his movement. He will not give his enemies a conventional target until he has the weapons of mass destruction to defend it.
Candidate Kerry said that President Bush took his eye off the ball when he didn't concentrate on Usama Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda organization. Today, the ball is much larger than Senator Kerry is willing to admit. UBL used his terrorist camps in Afghanistan to train terrorists from more than 20 different groups. He did not want to take over these groups. He did want to indoctrinate their leaders and members in his objectives and his strategy of terror. There is now an informal terrorist network of organizations operating off of his blueprint for success. If we destroy Al Qaeda or kill Bin Laden tomorrow, it will not put an end to this network. The other terrorist groups will still exist and someone will take Usama's place.
So how can we win? We win by invading Afghanistan and then establishing an elected government under the control of its people. When Islamic Terrorism could not stop or even interrupt free elections in Afghanistan, we won a major victory that was more important than our military victory.
If you want to see the path to victory, look at an area map. On 9-11, there were four main nations that supported terrorism. They were Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Syria. Afghanistan is on the path to Democracy and will become an ally in the war against terrorism. Now that Pakistan has become a strong ally, Iran is isolated within it borders and facing the reality of our strong military presence in Iraq. Syria faces the same reality. Since its neighbors, Jordan, Israel and Turkey, are our allies against terror, Syria is also isolated.
There is a reason why terrorist groups are fighting so hard against us in Iraq. It is the same reason why Iran and Syria are allowing terrorists to cross into Iraq and may be helping them fight against us. Iraq is not the wrong war in the wrong place. It is precisely the right place at the right time. When Iraq becomes a democratic state as a result of free and fair elections, it will be our second major victory in the war against terror.
The best way to defeat Islamic Terrorism is to take away their support and take away the places where they can hide. This makes it easier to stop their acts of terror and to capture or kill them. President Bush knows this. The Islamic Terrorists know this. Apparently, the leadership of the Democratic Party does not.
Last year, three criminals ran into one of our schools to evade the police. They were quickly taken into custody and, fortunately, no children or school staff members were harmed. I don't remember the name of the school or even where the incident occurred. I do remember thinking about the terrorist attack in Beslan, Russia and hoping the day will never come when we need to place armed guards in our schools to protect our children.
As a nation, we must have one message for terrorists, those who control them and those who support them. If we and our children are not safe in our homes, in our schools, in our places of work and in all the places where we gather, you will be safe nowhere.