Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Who Cares About Boxcutters? 

One thing that pisses me off about Mark Steyn's site is that everything eventually all get lost in some "undisclosed location" (that's my term, not his), which means digging up old gems will be nearly impossible within about a month or two from now. So for the sake of posterity (again), here is an excellent reader's letter that will put the entire War on Terror in context. A must read.
Re: Clinton's war
Regarding Richard Clarke's testimony this week: as if!

It's 2001, and John Ashcroft, acting on some lucky breaks by the FBI and an unusual amount of interagency cooperation by the CIA, arrests Mohammed Atta and his merry band in several states. Acting on information gained in interrogations of the suspects and ignoring outraged clamor from Europe, the United States puts boots on the ground in Afghanistan, toppling the Taliban.

At home, Bush is derided as a Nazi and an imperialist, with his religious zealot of an attack-dog Ashcroft trampling the Bill of Rights. An editorial cartoon of Bush, Cheney, and Ashcroft as a three-headed Satan right out of Dante's Inferno chewing Human Rights, World Opinion, and Islamic Relations in their bloodstained maws wins a Pulitzer. Doonesbury depicts Bush as Queen Victoria's tiara, trying to deflect public attention from a bad economy with a "War on Terror." The Washington Post notes that no guns, no bombs, nothing more threatening than boxcutters and Swiss army knives were found in the homes of Atta & Co., and demands to know "where are the weapons of terrorism?" The New York Times editorial page dryly observes that Atta & Co. visited strip clubs and Vegas as part of their "attack preparations" and sniffs "hardly the behavior of Islamic fundamentalists hell-bent on self-immolation" as the administration "farcically" claims. Editorial pages list a series of Jewish sounding names in the administration and the world "cabal" is used.

It's 2004. Congress holds hearings. Johnelle Bryant, an official with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, fights tears as she describes Atta as a "man of the American dream" trying to start a crop dusting company, so in love with his adopted country that he tried to buy an aerial picture of Washington with all its famous landmarks right off her wall.

The highlight of the hearings come when Richard Clark, Clinton's counterterrorism chief and victim of the new administration's housecleaning, testifies to Congress the same week as the release of his media-hyped blockbuster. His testimony, and his book, is greeted by the New York Times editorial page with noisy delight that verges on the orgasmic. In his testimony, he depicts the Bush Presidency as a fundamentalist-Christian group of hatemongers who have diverted American attention from serious secular national security issues such as Korea and China, but particularly one he's warned administration after administration about both in public and privately. According to British and French Intelligence, this threat is on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons, "if they haven't already" thanks to Pakistani technology and African yellowcake uranium. This threat has attacked its own citizens, its neighbors, and unlike the impoverished pile of rubble known as Afghanistan is a real sponsor of terrorism with the money and the training facilities to do "real damage" with "real weapons." The name of the threat? Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

Eric E Frisch
Oak Park, Illinois

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