Editor’s note: Today’s column is the first of three on the World Trade Center attack. Click here to view part 2.
Will President Bush demonstrate that he’s learned the lessons of Tuesday – the basic lessons of Middle East terrorism against Americans? Or will he follow the strategy of military impotence and platitudes preached by Colin Powell heretofore?
Unlike his father and Bill Clinton, after him, Bush must face facts – facts made obvious in the Gulf War, the first World Trade Center (WTC) bombing attempt in 1993, and now the successful destruction of WTC, part of the Pentagon, and the lives of thousands of innocent American civilians. Ditto for Colin Powell.
The lessons of terrorism are these:
- Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is a major sponsor of terrorism against Americans;
- Destroying him and Osama bin Laden will not end the fundamentalist Islamic culture of suicide bombings and destruction of Western values;
- The only solution is Reagan’s peace through strength, not Powell’s restraint after terror;
- Although most American Arabs and Muslims are law-abiding citizens, terror in America is not possible without a strong infrastructure of sympathetic Muslim-Americans, mostly of Arabic descent, not to mention almost every Arab country and Iran; and
- Profiling of those of Middle-Eastern descent by federal agents is a must.
While many are quick to blame Tuesday’s events on bin Laden – and Congressmen have indicated intelligence briefings to that effect, Saddam Hussein is probably behind Tuesday’s events. Israeli intelligence indicates that, and so does recent history.
On February 26, 1993, Ramzi Yousef, an Iraqi agent, and several underlings attempted to blow up the WTC, and nearly succeeded –resulting in the deaths of at least seven Americans. The little guys – including Yousef – were eventually caught. Our intelligence made it clear that Yousef was a Saddam operative. Terrorism expert and author Laurie Mylroie, formerly of Harvard and the U.S. Naval War College, details Yousef’s connection to Saddam in “The World Trade Center Bomb: Who is Ramzi Yousef? And Why it Matters” (The National Interest, Winter 1995/96).
Yousef carried an Iraqi passport, and prior to Iraq’s Gulf War invasion of Kuwait, Kuwaiti government documents identified Yousef as an Iraqi secret agent (Iraq doctored the documents and eliminated the reference). Yousef escaped the WTC, but in January 1995, federal officials captured him, uncovering a plot to blow up eleven U.S. commercial aircraft in a day of terrorist rage, Operation Bojinka (meaning “Chaos in the Sky”). While mixing liquid explosive bombs designed to pass through airport metal detectors, Yousef started a fire in his Manila apartment, forcing him to flee. (Editor’s note: As WND was preparing for publication, Andrea Mitchell of NBC News reported that authorities are searching an apartment hotel in Manila, Philippines, which is the same apartment hotel where Ramzi Yousef lived.) According to the Washington Post (10/7/95), his computer, detailing the plot and another to chemically poison U.S. air and drinking water, identified him and soon he was extradited to the U.S. from Pakistan to stand trial.
Put all of Yousef’s plots together, and it mirrors what happened Tuesday. But while the Clinton administration prosecuted Yousef and his minions in the various plots, they never went after the primary sponsor – Saddam – because Clinton’s State Department opposed it. Perhaps, they took the lead from President Bush in the Gulf War, whose biggest failure was letting Saddam live. Interestingly, the “brain” behind that stratagem was Colin Powell. Gen. Schwartzkopf, then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, and most other military brass wanted Saddam dead, but, unfortunately, Powell won out. If leaks of Bush’s briefings to Congressional leaders, this week, are any indication, Powell and Saddam won again.
When Powell announced he wanted to “bring the terrorists to justice,” what he really meant is another restrained court battle against underlings, most of whom are already dead, anyway. Message to Powell: Don’t bring them “to justice.” Send them to hell. Do the peace-through-strength option from Reagan’s playbook: It’s time to take Saddam out in war, and retire Powell. Powell’s limp anti-terrorism policy is consistent, pathetic, and endangers innocent lives. He’s the same man who threatened Israel not to respond to suicide bombers on their soil. Now we’ve got our own on our soil. In the battle against terror, will Powell win out over this Bush, too? G-d help us.
Incidentally, Reagan’s peace-through-strength policy included Missile Defense, which liberal Democrats are unfortunately using this tragedy to deride. But the sponsors of those who fomented terror, Tuesday, don’t always use cardboard cutters and knives. Saddam has a complete arsenal of nuclear weapons, which we helped him build, And Tuesday, the Arab League, under pressure from terrorist hosts and sponsors, like Saddam and Syria, launched its own campaign against the missile umbrella. Rogues like Iran and Iraq want us to be vulnerable to their missile attacks. And it’s a shame Congressional Democrats, like Marty Meehan, used Tuesday’s tragedy to be on the same side. Especially since either of those countries is the likely mastermind of Tuesday’s attack. Or, at least, strongly sympathetic to it.
But even if we attack Saddam or the rest of the radical Islamic Arab world, there is a whole new generation of Saddams, bin Ladens, and terrorists-in-development all over the fundamentalist Islamic and Arab worlds. In poll after poll, bin Laden is the most popular figure in the Arab world. Saddam isn’t far behind. And everyday, in schools all over the Islamic Middle East, textbooks teach kids (as young as three!) to hate the West and prepare for a life – and death – as a suicide bomber.
This centuries-old violent conflict of declining fundamentalist Islam against burgeoning Western democratic values won’t soon end. More about this and the other lessons of Tuesday in part two.