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“The Watchers” is a film adaptation of the 2022 book of the same name by A.M. Shine.
Review: “The Watchers”
Published June 13, 2024

Blaming Bush for terrorism reeks of hypocrisy

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 were completely President George W. Bush’s fault. If he had heeded the rumor mill and acted on hunches, Sept. 11 never would have happened. The president had the chance to prevent Sept. 11 and he failed.

That seems to be the opinion of House and Senate democrats who believe there is proof the president at least knew of the possibility of a terrorist attack on American soil – one that might employ aircraft as weapons. And still he did nothing.

White House officials confirm that the president was made aware of the possible threat of a terrorist attack in this country. Some scenarios even involved the use of aircraft, but no distinct probabilities were presented. Intelligence officials never emphasized that the possibility of this type of attack should be of more concern than other types – namely, chemical or biological attacks. Furthermore, at no point was there any sort of timetable as to when any of these attacks might happen.

Yet congressional democrats, most notably Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C. and Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn. roost on their perches like vultures, eager to point their crooked claws of condemnation.

They, along with Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona – a political Benedict Arnold who seems to have a party philosophy all his own – demand there be a full inquisition into what the White House knew before the attacks. If it’s determined the Bush administration knew anything, the question becomes why it did nothing to stop it (as though any U.S. president would willingly allow terrorists to attack our nation and kill Americans).

Hindsight is 20-20, and there is nothing easier than pointing the finger of blame after the fact. In all honesty, no one could have possibly conceived of al-Qaida’s plans for Sept. 11. Nonetheless, the democrats will pursue this as far as they can, to mar the image of the Bush administration.

But why? Sure, the DFL might be bitter over the Republican Party’s use of Sept. 11 photos of the president for the purpose of fundraising. But it’s more likely the democrats are capitalizing on this messy situation because it shifts the blame away from them and onto their political opponent. After all, Sept. 11 is the first terroristic act that wasn’t ostensibly the fault of democratic leadership.

Terrorism, however, can be traced back to this “leadership” (or rather the lack thereof). Ten years ago, former President Bill Clinton took office as U.S. troops were being pulled from the Persian Gulf and the war with Iraq. The United States had an opportunity to take out of office one of the worst dictators on the planet: Saddam Hussein. This would have neutralized one of the greatest threats to our nation, especially concerning “weapons of mass destruction.”

In addition, the United States would have had the opportunity to improve its image; we would have been the country that saved a small Middle Eastern nation from a larger, conquering one. Not everyone would have believed that was our true motivation; surely, anti-American sentiment would still exist, but perhaps in at least a more benign form.

For eight years, Clinton had this opportunity and never chose to take advantage of it. Instead, the democratic White House moved to maintain a policy of economic sanctions which, in effect, did little more than punish the innocents of Iraq while their dictator grew steadily richer, his image painted on more buildings and billboards.

We could have removed Hussein from power quickly, as we did with Manuel Noriega in the 1980s. Instead, the Clinton administration chose to go the slow, cowardly route that, after 10 years, has proved utterly fruitless. Meanwhile, the anti-American sentiment intensified.

That animosity boiled over into the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. In those two attacks, 224 people were killed, including 12 Americans. Yet the perpetrators fled to Iran to hide, where in fact many of them remain today.

What did the Clinton administration do in response? Nothing. It allowed the country to suffer terror and violence without seeking just retribution. Terrorist cells across the world noted this, and their brashness grew stronger.

No longer satisfied with just U.S.-affiliated targets, operatives working for Osama bin Laden decided in October, 2000, to hit a full-fledged military target: the U.S.S. Cole. Two men, navigating a boat loaded with explosives, burrowed themselves into the side of the large navy vessel, blowing a gigantic hole in the ship’s hull. Seventeen Americans were killed.

What was the Clinton administration’s response to this terrorist attack? It prohibited U.S. ships from docking in dangerous harbors. In other words, its response was to retreat. In seeking the terrorists involved in the attack, only four of the culprits were caught; the rest, for the most part, were barely hunted. Since the Clinton administration chose to back away, again, from conflict, terrorist cells around the globe became even bolder.

Arguably, the biggest blunder of the Clinton administration – as well as the greatest springboard to Sept. 11 – was the mission to Somalia in 1993. President Clinton sent soldiers to the tiny African country in hopes of rooting out a warlord who had ties to al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden.

One might have hoped the administration was ready to take a strong stand against terrorism. But sorry, not the democrats, and certainly not Bill Clinton. Instead, control of U.S. soldiers was turned over to the United Nations, a governing body whose military incompetence is world-renowned. The result: a botched military mission in which Americans were killed and the bodies of several G.I.s were dragged, naked, through the streets of downtown Mogadishu.

The image of this tragedy became ingrained in the American mindset, and the plea went out to bring our boys home. President Clinton, who for the most part was never anything more than a flimsy branch blowing in the wind of public opinion, readily obeyed and brought U.S. soldiers home, ensuring that those who died that day died for nothing.

The response echoed across the world by the United States’ enemies was a joyous one indeed. Here, the guerillas of this tiny, poverty-stricken nation, one of the poorest in the world, had beaten back the big, bad American threat. And all they had had to do was make them bleed.

Our retreat fostered the reputation Americans were unwilling to fight, and would even cower if introduced to the harsh reality of war. Osama bin Laden himself cited the guerilla victory in Somalia as proof of American weakness: “Our brothers with Somali mujahedeen and God’s power fought the Americans. God granted them victory. America exited dragging its tails in failure, defeat and ruin.”

And what did the Clinton administration do to prove him wrong? During the administration’s tenure, terrorists had bombed a pair of embassies and a navy liner with no repercussions – not to mention forcing the withdrawal of U.S. forces in Somalia before our troops had even had time to fight. Simply put: The administration did nothing.

This inaction gave a taste of success and newfound courage to the terrorists. This dark victory inspired the terrorists of al-Qaida to dare to commit one of the worst terrorist attacks in history, murdering 3,000 Americans.

Despite the heavy hand the Clinton administration had in setting out the red carpet for terrorism, it’s the democrats that point the finger at the Bush administration for its inability to stop the attacks of Sept. 11.

Many political strategists agree that this move by the Democratic Party is one of damage control – an attempt to absolve itself of the blame for Sept. 11. It is the goal of the Democratic Party to preoccupy you with the question of why the Bush administration allegedly “did nothing” to prevent the terrorist attacks two months before Sept. 11.

I think it is more appropriate to ask why the democrats did nothing with their eight years in power. As long as they’re pointing fingers, they might want be honest and point the finger where it truly belongs: at themselves.


Chris Schafer’s column appears alternate weeks. He
welcomes comments at [email protected]. Send letters to
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