Every administration from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush bears some of the blame. Dick Clarke bears a big heap of it because it was he who was in the catbird’s seat to do something about it for more than a decade. Tragically, it was the decade in which we did the least.
We did nothing after terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in 1993, killing six and injuring more than 1,000 Americans.
We did nothing in 1996 when sixteen U.S. servicemen were killed in the bombing of the Khobar Towers.
When our embassies were attacked in 1998, killing 263 people, our only response was to fire a few missiles on an empty tent.
Is it any wonder? Is it any wonder that after that decade of weak-willed responses to that murderous terror, our enemies thought we would never fight back?
In the 1990's is when Dick Clarke should have resigned. In the 1990's is when he should have apologized. That is when he should have written his book. That is, if he really had America’s best interest at heart.
Some will say, “We owe it to the families” to get more information about what happened in the past and I can understand that. But no amount of finger-pointing will bring our victims back.
So, now we owe it to future families and all of America now in jeopardy not to encourage more terrorists, resulting in even more grieving families, perhaps many more over the ones of 9/11.
It’s obvious to me that this country is rapidly dividing itself into two camps: the wimps and the warriors.
The ones who want to argue and assess and appease, and the ones who want to carry this fight to our enemies and kill him them before they kill us. And, in case you haven’t figured it out, I proudly belong to the latter.
This is a time like no other in the history of this country, and this country is being crippled with petty partisan politics of the worst possible kind. In time of war, it is not just unpatriotic; it is stupid, and it is criminal.
So, I pray that all this time, all this energy, all this talk and all this attention could be focused on the future instead of the past.
I pray we would stop pointing fingers, assigning blame and wringing our hands about what happened on that day David McCullogh has called “the worst day in our history” more than two years ago.
And instead, pour all of our energy into how we can kill these terrorists before they kill us - again.
For make no mistake about it. They watch these hearings. They are scheming and smiling about the distraction and the divisiveness they see in America. And while they may not know who said it years ago in America, they know instinctively that a house divided cannot stand.
There is one other group that we should remember is listening to all of this - our troops. I was in Iraq in January and one day when I was meeting with the 1st Armored Division, a unit with a proud history known as Old Ironsides, we were discussing troop morale, and the Commanding General said it was top notch.
And I turned to the Division’s Sergeant Major, the top enlisted man in the division, a big, burly, 6-foot-3, 240 pound African American and I said, “That’s good, but how do you sustain that kind of morale?”
Without hesitation he narrowed his eyes, and he looked at me and said “The morale will stay high just as long as these troops know the people back home support us.”
Just as long as the people back home support us. What kind of message are these hearings and the outrageously political speeches on the floor of the Senate yesterday sending to those marvelous young Americans in the uniform of our country?
I say Unite America! Before it is too late! Put aside these petty partisan differences when it comes to the protection of our people.
Argue and argue and argue and debate and debate and debate over all the other things – jobs and education and the deficit and the environment – but please, please do not use the lives of Americans and the security of this country as a cheap-shot political talking point.
There is a man who can bring a crowd to it's feet. There is a democrat like they used to make them. Proud to be American and loving his country above and beyond internationalist movements and partisan politics. They certainly don't make them like that anymore....
Smilin' Paul Villa U.S. Senate 2004
Proud Member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy and 2 SUV Family