Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Cheney: Inaction Caused 9/11

Speaking to marines at Camp Lejeune, Vice President Dick Cheney stated that US inaction in the wake of prior terror attacks directly resulted in the 9/11 strikes. (Washington Post: Weak Responses Led To 9/11, Cheney Asserts). The VP cited several specific attacks that drew either no response or a very weak response, and which in turn convinced al Qaeda that they could strike directly at the heart of the US without fear of reprisal. The attacks cited by Cheney include:
  • The 1983 bombing of a marine barracks in Beirut;
  • The 1993 killing of U.S. soldiers in Mogadishu, Somalia;
  • The 1993 car bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City;
  • The 1995 car bombing at the Saudi National Guard Training Center in Riyadh;
  • The 1996 killings at the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia;
  • The 1998 destruction of two US embassies in east Africa;
  • The 2000 suicide bombing of the USS Cole.

The Vice President missed one - perhaps the most important one since it set off this chain reaction culminating in the 9/11 attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. All of this started with the Islamic Revolution in Iran and the taking hostage of some 70 US citizens for 444 days. The hostages were ultimately released during President Reagan's inauguration and reportedly after he made assurances not to retaliate for the 15-month crisis.

When dealing with an enemy of this nature, inaction is taken for weakness. Restraint is taken for unwillingness to respond. An enemy that thinks nothing of sending suicide bombers into the midst of women and children does not understand the concept of minimizing collateral damage. An enemy that flies planes into office buildings does not understand the distinction between military and civilian targets. That is the enemy we face, and it is the same enemy we have faced since 1979 when our people were taken hostage in Iran.

The Vice President correctly stated that, "The terrorists came to believe that they could strike America without paying any price. And so they continued to wage those attacks, making the world less safe and eventually striking the United States on 9/11." We must make certain that our resolve to fight this enemy is never again called into question. If we are to defeat them, then there must be absolutely no doubt in anyone's mind that we will target this enemy wherever they may choose to hide, and we will respond with overwhelming force against any nation that harbors them, finances them, or aids them in any way.

There is no reasoning with an enemy that is willing to strap bombs on their children and point them at the nearest crowd. Rather, we must make them homeless. We must target those nations that shelter and support them. President Bush on 9/20/2001 vowed not to distinguish between those who commit acts of terror and those nations that support them. Our resolve to carry out that policy must never be questioned. Only then can we ultimately win this war against a largely faceless enemy.

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1 comment :

Alan Fraser said...

This black and white view of the situation is highly troubling. As we've seen in Iraq, the kind of battle that Cheney is proposing and is conducting has only served to exacerbate the problem by further polarizing each side.

All China needs to do is sit to one side while the US Christians and the Middle East Muslims kill each other. After that's over, it only needs to come in and change the street signs to read in Chinese.