By Scott Tibbs, October 18, 2001
After September 11 saw the most devastating terrorist attack in American history, there is no doubt that the United States is at war. The only question is exactly what actions we will take as part of our continuing response to being attacked. Not entering this war was never an option after Bloody Tuesday: war has already been declared on us, and now we must deal with that reality.
President Bush has led with wisdom and restraint, and has pulled together a broad coalition for destruction of the international terrorist network. His speeches have inspired millions and showed that our buildings may be destroyed, but our spirit will never be broken and our resolve is only stronger. The President's leadership, and a swelling feeling of patriotism, has caused his approval rating to swell to over 85%.
In the past, America has been content to strike at terrorism though limited bombing raids, such as the one on Libya during the Reagan Administration, and cruise missile attacks on Afghanistan in 1998. Those tactics have not deterred America's enemies from continuing their war, so now more drastic measures must be taken, and are being taken.
Speculation is increasing that Iraq is involved in this atrocity, which raises the specter of chemical or biological warfare on America's cities. The anthrax scare that has erupted in the Congress and media offices only adds to this possibility, because we know Saddam Hussein has both chemical and biological weapons. A man who would order that chemical weapons be used on his own people would not have any moral qualms about releasing them on Americans. Should Iraq or a terrorist organization orchestrate the mass murder of American civilians with their own weapons of mass destruction, we must show the world that we will not tolerate such barbaric acts and the punishment for them will be more severe than anything the evil doers could possibly inflict.
Most Americans are rallying behind our leadership at this time of crisis, but a few are trying to exploit this tragedy for their own gain. Congressman Marty Meehan (D-MA) attacked President Bush in the opening days of the crisis, denying that Air Force One was a target on September 11 and chiding the President for taking measures to ensure his safety. Never mind the fact that congressional leaders in BOTH parties went into protective custody after the attacks. There is a reason we have a Secret Service, and that is because the President is important and must be protected in time of crisis. Had Al Gore been elected, he would have done the same, as well as Meehan's hero, President Clinton. Exploiting a crisis like this for partisan political ends is absolutely disgraceful and the voters of Meehan's district should punish him at the polls in 2002. The leadership of both parties should denounce his irresponsible remarks.
Others have criticized American foreign policy in the wake of this disaster, citing, among other things, the bombing of an aspirin factory in the Sudan in 1998. That particular incident, however, was not legitimate foreign policy, but an attempt by a disgraced and soon-to-be-impeached President trying to keep a perjury scandal out of the headlines.
However, to the extent that other elements of foreign policy have unnecessarily caused anger and hatred against the United States, we should examine those policies and where we were interventionist without need. We should also examine whether and where we support groups that harbor anti-American hatred.
This does not mean a retreat though. Osama bin Laden and his gang of human debris, fueled by anti-Semitic hatred as severe as anything Hitler harbored, targeted America in part because we support Israel. For this reason, the United States must not in any way reduce our support for the Jewish State. We must show the world that we will not and cannot be bullied and that we will continue to support our allies. If we do anything, we should increase our already high level of support for Israel.
The United States must also look at our military and intelligence capabilities, reduced after the fall of the Evil Empire, and discern where we must rebuild and strengthen our forces. Indiana is lucky to have John Hostettler in Congress, as he will fight hard to make sure this happens. The budget surplus, while important, should not prevent us from spending what we need to in order to fight back this threat to our way of life and our freedom.
The war that Osama bin Laden started on September 11 may be long, and it may be difficult, but we will win and we will eradicate our enemies. Of that much, the American people can be assured.