Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Thirty Years of Terrorism...
I've been watching the 9/11 Commission hearings for the past few weeks, and I'm convinced that this fiasco will result in some serious changes in American government. The changes, however, will not be made by the government and the shadow government of bureacracies and alphabet-soup agencies, but by the voters of the American electorate. Actually, let me clarify that statement: there had better be changes and it had better be the electorate that makes them.

I'm making an assumption here that the average Joe in the street is actually paying attention to these hearings in a more than casual fashion. Three things have become crystal clear to me in the last two weeks:

1. The government, in all forms, on all levels, does not work. Congress does not work, the bureacracies do not work and the shadow-realm government of alphabet-soup agencies fails regularly. The President of the United States is a figurehead --- actual power is wielded by the nameless and the faceless, aided and abbetted (or hobbled and obstructed) by their supporters in the Congress. From the Department of Education losing track of billions of taxpayer dollars to the lack of co-ordination between government agencies to the gridlock that very often stifles Congress, this system is broken, or more accurately, the people who run the system are incompetent, at best, and criminally derelict at worse. A President often happens to be the guy on the spot when the policies of the other branches of government present him with a 9/11. George W. Bush is innocent. Let's get THAT out of the way right now. He was handed an apparatus that hasn't worked for a very long time and expected to be omniscient. Life, and certainly government, does not work that way.

2. Partisan politics always trumps truth, accuracy and efficiency. It becomes obvious when most of the commission members have their fingers in the pie --- ex-Senators and Congresscritters, ex-Justice and State department types, lawyers, lobbyists. Leaving the investigation of the inner workings of government to the government (or the ex-government) is asking for a flawed result and an incomplete review.

3. For thirty years the United States Government has done nothing, nothing, to defend this country from the threat of external terrorists except to tie itself up in knots with legislation, inter-departmental bickering, turf battles and policies that border on, and often cross over to, the ridiculous.

Apparently, the thought of defending Americans outside of our own borders became a mere sacrifice to policy. A tonic to soothe the nerves of the international community, the internationalists and their lawyer henchmen. Here's a few of the highlights:

Carter Administration: Iranian religious wackos storm the United States Embassy in Tehran, and take the Embassy staff hostage, holding them for a total of 444 days. From the begining, it becomes clear that "negotiations" will be the tool of choice in getting the hostages home. When force is finally decided upon as a viable option, the plan fails due to an accident and then a lack of nerve. The hostage crisis is the hallmark of the Carter Administration and emboldens terrorists everywhere.

Reagan Administration: Despite the fact that this is MY PRESIDENT, I have to take him to the woodshed. Reagan wins election in 1980, in part, because fo the hostage crisis in Iran. Reagan talks tough, Reagan promises to leave no stone unturned to win the release of the hostages and then Reagan vows to "never negotiate with terrorists". In the end, the Hostages are freed when the "shadow-government" (typified by Oliver North) somehow manages to trade arms for the hostages. Apparently, without "negotiations".

Beirut, 1984, American Marines sent into that troubled country under U.N. auspices to impose a buffer zone between Israel and Islamic fruitcakes in Lebanon, are attacked by truck bombs in barracks. Two hundred and forty-one U.S. Marines are dead. Reagan orders the troops home, with some desultory naval gunfire to prove that we "have teeth".

American servicemen are killed in a Berlin disco and the Libyans have their fingerprints all over the bombing. Reagan retaliates by bombing Libyan airfields and Khadaffy's residences, killing some of his children. Khadaffy is left to stew in his own juices for the next 20 years, indicating the United States has not the resolve to finish what it has started.

In 1986, American citizen and cripple, Leon Klinghoffer is brutally murdered about the Italian liner Achille Lauro by Palestinian terrorists. Reagan responds forcefully by intercepting the airplane carrying the terrorists to apparent safety, forcing it to land in Italy. The terrorists are duly handed over to Italian authorities, who promise justice. Most of them would become free men in short order. Justice has been short-circuited by diplomacy with an "ally".

In the late 1980's it became fashionable for Islamic exremists to kidnap Americans and other Westerners within their countries. Reagan promises to "never negotiate". The kidnappings continue until the terrorists decide to move onto other things. Not once was akidnapper brought to justice, assasinated or an American freed by American power or diplomacy.

We could go on and on. We could talk about other incidences of Islamic terrorism or apparent Islamic terrorism (The USS Stark, Lockerbie, TWA 800, 1993-WTC bombing, The Olympic Bombing, Oklahoma City, Mogadishu, USS Cole, etc, etc). The point is this: Since at least 1979 your government has not done a thing as far as comprehensive policies to defend you against terrorism or to punish terrorists and their state supporters. The history reads like a patchwork of "doing what we could, where we could", action upon a whim, propaganda measures, a series of miscues, mistakes and lack of interest. The pain borne in any of these attacks was never severe enough to do ANYTHING about it. September 11, 2001 saw the pain increase exponentially.

And now, a Commission staffed in most part by the very same people who ignored this issue for thirty years, playing partisan politics, many of whom have blood on their hands because they sponsored, voted for or enacted policies that underfunded, seperated, hamstrung, obstructed or demolished the ability of the law-enforcement and intelligence agencies of this country from putting enough information together to form even a chance of stopping 9/11, is now sitting in judgement of their own handiwork.

The governmenmt is well and truly broken, it knows it, and it continues to believe that it is working towards solutions of the very problems it has created.

Americans are generally happy when their government fails, because for the most part, we do not enjoy the possibility of an overweaning government with incredible powers. In general, an American is content if the Post Office works and the IRS doesn't. It's only when something catastrophic happens that Americans remember that the government is supposed to "do something" about this", and then they realize that the government can't do anything because the voters made sure it was stocked with idiots, party hacks, opportunists and paople lacking integrity or substance, who then stocked the rest of the government with their cronies.

If you haven't realized this, if you've been one of those people busy looking to pin blame rather than get answers, then you deserve the government that brought you 9/11. You obvioulsy don't care about the country you live in nor the people that live in it, and certainly not the people who supposedly run it. For thirty years, the American people have been the target of international and Islamic terrorism and the American government had done NOTHING to protect us until it was too late. We can fight a War on Drugs, A War on Poverty, etc, etc, but were unable to fight a War on Al-Qaeda, Hamas, the PLO, et. al. I guess War, to the average American,is only an acceptible metaphor to be appplied to touchy-feely subjects, and not what it really means: finding and killing your enemies.

Time for a major change.