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August was an expensive month for the U.S. taxpayer. For
example, Bill Clinton shot $100 million on August 20, 1998, at
“terrorist” sites in Sudan and Afghanistan. The 79 Tomahawk
cruise missiles signaled a new “war” that Bill Clinton decided
to declare on terrorism and not to be confused with the $100
million White House “war” on Ken Starr.
The cost? Tomahawks cost about $1.4 to $2.1 million each,
depending on the model. Moreover, the Tomahawk price tag does
not reflect the price of conducting the strike such as
logistics, planning, communications, ship, fuel, and sailor
time. If one were to add in these figures — the actual strike
cost about $1 billion.
The overt act of shooting cruise missiles at the so-called
“precursor” VX nerve gas factory in Sudan and a bunch of caves
in Afghanistan also has a hidden cost. Yet, even that cost can
First, the missile strike brought a sudden wave of Islamic
hatred for the U.S. This was predictable, and will be very
costly. The diplomatic and street protests are a reflection of
Islamic polling, and right now Bill Clinton’s numbers are not
too good. There will be a surge in volunteers and money for
several terrorist groups from both ordinary citizens and several
oil rich governments. The surge will appear in the form of more
suicide bombings, killings and airliner hijackings aimed at
Would a $50 million price on the terrorist have been a better
solution instead of shooting $100 million in high-tech missiles?
The alternative, a quiet reward for the capture of the
terrorists, would have been greeted with a warm smile and then a
mad scramble to see who would be the first to claim it. Such a
reward plan would make the terrorist leaders look at their
lieutenants and benefactors with suspicion, wondering who would
be the first to turn them in and take over. Even the Afghans
would have been tempted to leave their newly found rich friends
for a direct pay-off.
Second, there is little evidence that the strikes did enough
damage to stop the terrorists. The Tomahawk strikes may have
killed a few and certainly knocked out some sort of factory in
Sudan, but in the highly decentralized world of terrorism, the
raids did little to blunt their operations. In fact, as noted
before, the propaganda value alone will have their forces
rebuilt to an even higher combat state in no time.
The alternative — fifty mega-bucks for live bodies — would have
forced the terrorists to go into hiding instead of making new
plans for strikes. The terrorist leaders would have been on the
run, trusting no one, and going deep undercover. Instead, they
are now buying arms, forming camps for training, and making
statements for CNN.
And the VX nerve gas plant in Sudan? As demonstrated by the
“CNN Goof Gas” episode: if there were precursor chemicals for
VX at the Sudan plant then everyone in the local area would be
dead. If VX were at the plant then UN Inspectors in full
bio-toxin warfare suits would be carefully picking their way
across the bomb craters.
Instead, we have been treated to live scenes of diplomats
touring the site along with hundreds of barefoot people dressed
in T-shirts, and jeans. Hardly the kind of fashion one wears at
a nerve gas party. I fully expected to see Saddam Hussein to
rise from underneath a pile of rubble, holding a “Baby Milk
Finally, there is the cost to our liberties at home. Stand by
for a whole new round of security measures, executive orders and
draconian laws. Some measures area already under way. For
example, the new heightened security on Capitol Hill and
Clinton’s declaration of penalties for business dealings with
the terrorists have been implemented.
However, in 1996, right after the TWA800 explosion, President
Clinton proposed “Anti-Terrorist” legislation that included
measures for expanding federal government phone taps. President
Clinton proposed that any FBI agent could write his own warrant
and tap any phone — no court order and no judicial review
It may shock the Linda Tripp haters but Bill Clinton has long
supported a return to “WATERGATE” wiretap laws and
“administrative” warrants. Forget your friends taping you on
the phone. What if the FBI tapes everyone on the phone?
Clinton’s new war on terrorism will certainly include a renewed
attempt to impose hysterical laws restricting domestic speech,
commerce, movement and privacy. One fine example of the Clinton
legislative approach is reflected in these words from a Rand
Report commissioned to study information warfare:
An important factor is the traditional change in the
government’s role as one moves from national defense through
public safety toward things that represent the public good.
Clearly, the government’s perceived role in this area will
have to be balanced against public perceptions of the loss of
civil liberties and the commercial sector’s concern about
unwarranted limits on its practices and markets.
The quiet alternative, a bounty for the bad guys, would not
require legislation, new funding, nor heightened security
measures. No sound bites in an election year. No TV talking
heads. No loss of liberty and no new government powers.
Perhaps that is the real fault of the quiet alternative, since
it requires no big government solutions.
In fact, the Tomahawk strike also revealed U.S. weaknesses. For
example, Bill Clinton noted in his speech that terrorist
communications were tapped by U.S. spy satellites. That tidbit
of information will make future terrorist communications
intercepts less likely and allow the terrorist to create false
radio traffic to mislead U.S. forces.
The Tomahawk strike also shows the Clinton administration is as
number-minded in its war as the Johnson administration was in
Vietnam. Million dollar missiles on remote Afghan camps are
likely to be no more successful than B-52s against the Ho Chi
Minh trail. There is an over-emphasis of “damage assessment”
with no regard to whether the bodies were enemy soldiers or
innocent bystanders. There is no clear objective and no clear
plan for victory.
Clinton’s trip back to the White House was not really necessary
either. He could have just as easily made the speech at
Martha’s Vineyard in front of the world press and saved the jet
In fact, Clinton was in touch with his national security
advisors the whole time using secure, encrypted, communications
similar to the scrambled video system he used before the Starr
D.C. Grand jury. The White House used an encrypted, real-time
video system to protect the personal privacy of President Bill
Clinton. He used that secure system to admit to his
relationship with Monica Lewinsky before the D.C. Grand jury.
Clinton also used encrypted video to protect his 1996 testimony
for the Little Rock White Water grand jury. Ironically, the
Clinton administration also approved the export of an encrypted
real-time video system to the Red Chinese Army in 1994. Do the
Red generals need to testify about Monica too?
The Clinton spin-masters already show mock indignity at the
connection between Monica Lewinsky and the Tomahawk strike.
Their “shock” is representative of the fear that such questions
of Clinton’s judgment are legitimate. However, there is no
avoiding the massive propaganda machine in the Middle East
playing that exact point. True or not, the “Wag-The-Dog” theory
is a fact for anti-U.S. media.
In the end, Clinton does not look like a President in control of
his second term and on to a historic legacy. Instead, the China
scandal, the Tomahawk strike and Clinton’s grand jury admissions
show a reckless and impulsive person desperate to strike any
deal, or strike at any person, in order to remain in power.
Rand Report Strategic Information Warfare: A New Face of War
Roger C Molander, Andrew S. Riddile, Peter A. Wilson Preface
HUE MEI – Secure Fiber Optic System GAO report
HUE MEI – Ignored By Janet Reno/Approved By DoD Perry
Information Warfare – Battleship Admirals In Cyberspace
Get American Troops Ready To March On Cyber Battlefield
Feds Seek Snoop Key, And So Do Red Chinese