Alexander's Column

Yankee beware

Mark Alexander · Aug. 31, 2001

it’s summertime, and the livin’ is easy – but maybe not for long, as credible threats of terrorist attack against U.S. targets emerged from the low-grade warfare in the Middle East.

Illich Ramirez Sanchez, AKA Carlos the Jackal, the infamous international terrorist from Venezuela now sidelined in a French jail, released a statement this week saying, “The Yankee should beware, we know. The deceitful ‘peace process’ has come to a pitiful demise. People’s resistance in Palestine, armed operations worldwide, are the alternative to surrender.” Sanchez urged a “protracted people’s war without boundaries,” especially targeting U.S. interests.

What has so enraged the old Red terror network? On Monday, Israeli missiles successfully targeted a terrorist sometimes referred to in news reports as a “radical Palestinian ‘political’ leader.” The conflict between Israel and the Palestinian “intifada” escalated somewhat this week, as Israeli troops entered Beit Jalah, as they had been poised to do for two weeks, to shut down attacks on nearby Gilo. Israeli forces stayed there two days, pulling back to the town’s outskirts early Thursday, after Palestinian gunfire and mortar attacks had been silent several hours.

Linking the U.S. to Israel’s killing of Mustafa Zibri, a leader of the Damascus-based Marxist terror group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, PFLP spokesman Maher Taher threatened to rally Arabs “to hit American interests because the United States participates in the extermination of the Palestinian people.” State Department spokesman Richard Boucher noted, “We’re calling on the Syrian government to exercise restraint over groups that it allows on Syrian territory. We are raising the spokesman’s remarks with the Syrian government, noting that we hold the Syrian government responsible for the safety and security of Americans in Syria.” Kind of like Israel holding the Palestinian Authority responsible for restraining terrorist murderers it allows in its territory, for the safety and security of Israelis in Israel….

President George Bush, speaking Wednesday in San Antonio before the 83rd annual convention of The American Legion, made clear that he recognizes the stakes of international instability for U.S. citizens: “[W]e are committed to defending America and our allies against ballistic missile attacks, against weapons of mass destruction held by rogue leaders in rogue nations that hate America, hate our values and hate what we stand for. …We have [a] clear-eyed foreign policy. We recognize it’s a dangerous world. I know this nation still has enemies and we cannot expect them to be idle. Security is my first responsibility and I will not permit any course that leaves America undefended.” Mr. Bush then repeated his call for Congress to fund defense first.

But as The Federalist has alerted you repeatedly in recent weeks, the Democrats are committed to a course of obstructionism toward such national security imperatives. And they plan to use the softening economy’s worsening revenues, including this week’s announcement of next-to-nil economic growth, while blaming the recent meager tax cut as well, as their excuses for not adequately defending U.S. citizens by providing needed funding for military projects. An example: “The administration has undone so much of the success of the last eight years in less than eight months,” Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton spun this week. “Imagine how it’s going to look in a year or two.”

And leading congressional Demo-gogues Wednesday sent a letter to Mr. Bush, with another salvo: “It is imperative that you provide specific guidance on how you intend to pay for the additional initiatives that you are calling for. We would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to receive the benefit of your thinking.” He probably does not hear that often!

Mr. Bush said, “I return to Washington … ready to make my case and ready to work with folks on both sides of the aisle. …Dick Cheney and I didn’t seek our offices so we could just settle in and mark time. We didn’t come to rubber-stamp the status quo.” And that, of course, is what has the Leftists in government and the media shrieking!

Memo to Mr. Bush: Here is what the president who brought the “Evil Empire” to its knees – had to say about defense spending priorities. “What seems to have been lost in all this debate is the simple truth of how a defense budget is arrived at. It isn’t done by deciding to spend a certain number of dollars. … We start by considering what must be done to maintain peace and review all the possible threats against our security. Then a strategy for strengthening peace and defending against those threats must be agreed upon. And, finally, our defense establishment must be evaluated to see what is necessary to protect against any or all of the potential threats. The cost of achieving these ends is totaled up, and the result is the budget for national defense. … Since the dawn of the atomic age, we’ve sought to reduce the risk of war by maintaining a strong deterrent and by seeking genuine arms control. ‘Deterrence’ means simply this: making sure any adversary who thinks about attacking the United States, or our allies, or our vital interests, concludes that the risks to him outweigh any potential gains. Once he understands that, he won’t attack. We maintain the peace through our strength; weakness only invites aggression.” –Ronald Reagan (1983)

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