SUBSCRIBE:
David Horowitz

David Horowitz’s Archives: How the Left Undermined National Security Before 9/11

by
Posted on October 16 2010 6:45 am
David Horowitz is the editor-in-chief of NewsReal Blog and FrontPage Magazine. He is the President and CEO of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. His most recent book is Reforming Our Universities

“While the nation was having a good laugh at the expense of Florida’s hanging chads and butterfly ballots, Mohammed Atta and Marwan al Shehhi were there, in Florida, learning to drive commercial jetliners [and ram them into the World Trade Center towers]. It will take a novelist to paint that broad canvas properly. It will take some deep political thinking to understand how the lackadaisical attitude toward government and the world helped leave the country so unready for the horror that Atta and Shehhi were preparing.”
— Michael Oreskes, New York Times, October 21, 2001.

THE SEPTEMBER 11 ATTACKS on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center marked the end of one American era and the beginning of another. As did Pearl Harbor, the September tragedy awakened Americans from insular slumbers and made them aware of a world they could not afford to ignore. Like Franklin Roosevelt, George W. Bush condemned the attacks as acts of war, and mobilized a nation to action. It was a sharp departure from the policy of his predecessor, Bill Clinton, who in characteristic self-absorption had downgraded a series of similar assaults—including one on the World Trade Center itself—officially regarding them as criminal matters that involved individuals alone.

But the differences between the September 11 attacks and Pearl Harbor were also striking. The latter was a military base situated on an island 3,000 miles distant from the American mainland. New York is America’s greatest population center, the portal through which immigrant generations of all colors and ethnicities have come in search of a better life. The World Trade Center is the Wall Street hub of the economy they enter; its victims were targeted for participating in the most productive, tolerant and generous society human beings have created. In responding to the attacks, the president himself took note of this: “America was targeted for attack,” he told Congress on September 20, “because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.”

In contrast to Pearl Harbor, the assault on the World Trade Center was hardly a “sneak attack” that American intelligence agencies had little idea was coming. Its Twin Towers had already been bombed eight years earlier, and by the same enemy. The terrorists themselves were already familiar to government operatives, their aggressions frequent enough that several commissions had been appointed to investigate. Each had reached the same conclusion. It was not a matter of whether the United States was going to be the target of a major terrorist assault; it was a matter of when.

In fact, the al-Qaeda terrorists responsible for the September 11 attacks had first engaged U.S. troops as early as 1993 when the Clinton administration deployed U.S. military forces to Somalia. Their purpose was humanitarian: to feed the starving citizens of this Muslim land. But, America’s goodwill ambassadors were ambushed by al-Qaeda forces. In a 15-hour battle in Mogadishu, 18 Americans were killed and 80 wounded. One dead U.S. soldier was dragged through the streets in an act calculated to humiliate his comrades and his country. The Americans’s offense was not that they had brought food to the hungry. Their crime was who they were—”unbelievers,” emissaries of “the Great Satan”—in the political religion of the enemy they now faced.

The defeat in Mogadishu was a blow not only to American charity, but to American power and prestige. Nonetheless, under the leadership of America’s then commander-in-chief, Bill Clinton, there was no military response to the humiliation. The greatest superpower the world had ever seen did nothing. It accepted defeat.

The War

On February 26, 1993, eight months prior to the Mogadishu attack, al-Qaeda terrorists had struck the World Trade Center for the first time. Their truck bomb made a crater six stories deep, killed six people, and injured more than a thousand. The planners’s intention had been to cause one tower to topple the other and kill tens of thousands of innocent people. It was not only the first major terrorist act ever to take place on U.S. soil, but—in the judgment of a definitive account of the event—”the most ambitious terrorist attack ever attempted, anywhere, ever.”

Be Sociable, Share!

Continue reading page: 1 2 3 4 5

10 Responses leave one →

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

Copyright 2018 NewsReal Blog

The Theme Foundry