Criticism gives comfort to the enemy in time of war

Posted: Monday, July 04, 2005

Ketchikan Daily News By Lew Williams

This July 4, the observance of the founding of this nation is clouded by baseless bombast that is disheartening. It gives comfort to our enemies in time of war.

A time of war?

Look at the record:

Islamic terrorists hate Americans. They are pledged to kill us all and have been trying for more than 20 years. If that isn't war, what is?

• In 1989, Hashemi Rafsanjani, speaker of the Iranian parliament , said "hijack planes, blow up factories in Western countries ... declare open war on American interests throughout the world."

• In February 1998, Osama bin Laden declared that "to kill the Americans and their allies, civilians, and military is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it."

• On Aug. 6, 2004, an al-Qaida statement given Reuters news agency said: "All compounds, bases and means of transport, especially Western and American airlines, will be a direct target for our coming operations in the near future."

Do they mean it?

• April 18, 1983, 63 people were killed and 120 injured in a suicide bomb attack on the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, for which the Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.

• Oct. 23, 1983, 241 Americans were killed in a bomb attack on a Marine barracks in Beirut by the same Islamic Jihad.

• April 12, 1984, 18 U.S. servicemen were killed and 83 people injured by a bomb attack on a restaurant near the U.S. Air Force base in Torrejon, Spain.

• Sept. 20, 1984, a suicide bomb attack on the U.S. Embassy in East Beirut killed 23 and injured 20 for which Iranian-backed Hezbollah claimed credit.

• June 14, 1985, two Hezbollah terrorists hijacked a TWA jetliner and forced it to fly to Beirut where an American serviceman, who was a passenger, was killed and his body thrown on the tarmac. The other 152 passengers were released.

• Oct. 7, 1985, four Palestinian Liberation Front terrorists seized an Italian cruise ship in the Mediterranean, taking 700 hostages, all who were later released except for a handicapped American tourist who was thrown overboard.

• March 30, 1986, Palestinian terrorists detonated a bomb as TWA Flight 840 approached the Athens airport, killing four Americans.

• Feb. 17, 1988, a U.S. Marine Corps officer serving with the UN Truce Supervisory Organization in Lebanon, was kidnapped and murdered by Hezbollah.

• April 14, 1988, the Jihad Brigade exploded a bomb outside a USO club in Naples, killing a U.S. sailor.

• Aug. 8, 1988, Pakistan's president and the U.S. ambassador were among the 39 killed when a bomb exploded aboard a C-130 transport taking off from Bahawalpu, Pakistan.

• Dec. 21, 1988, all 259 people were killed when a bomb blew a Pan Am 747 out of the sky over Lockerbie, Scotland.

• Feb. 26, 1993, six people were killed when Islamic terrorists exploded a bomb in New York's World Trade Center.

• April 14, 1993, Iraqi intelligence agents attempted to assassinate former President George H. W. Bush, during his visit to Kuwait.

• Nov. 13, 1995, five U.S. servicemen where killed in a bomb attack on a training center in Ryadh, Saudi Arabia.

• June 25, 1996, 19 American servicemen were killed and 385 injured when a truck bomb exploded near a U.S. Air Force housing area at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

• Feb. 23, 1997, a Palestinian gunman opened fire on tourists on the observation deck of New York's Empire State Building, killing a Danish tourist and injuring dozens before killing himself.

• Nov. 12, 1997, the Islamic Revolutionary Council claimed credit for killing four Americans as they drove away from their hotel in Karachi.

• Aug. 7, 1998, 224 people were killed in simultaneous bomb attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania by Islamic terrorists linked to Osama bin Laden.

• Oct. 12, 2000, 17 U.S. sailors were killed and 39 injured when a small boat loaded with explosives rammed the USS Cole at Aden.

• Sept. 11, 2001, Two hijacked airliners crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The Pentagon was struck by a third hijacked plane. A fourth plane, suspected to be bound for a high-profile target in Washington, crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. More than 3,000 citizens of the U.S. and other nations were killed.

After that, and hundreds of other bomb attacks, kidnappings and murders perpetrated against Americans on every continent in the world, Americans woke up. At least most did.

The Taliban was defeated in Afghanistan and Saddam's Baathists, who ignored a dozen U.N. resolutions, were defeated in Iraq. But Muslim atrocities continued with the beheading, on TV, of an American reporter in Afghanistan and the murder, mutilation and hanging of four U.S. contractors in Iraq. It's amazing that London-based Amnesty International and some Americans worry more about our treatment of prisoners of war at Guantanamo.

It is sad, sad, sad, this July 4th to have the anniversary of the founding this great nation clouded by the rantings of those more intent on defeating President Bush than they are of defeating our enemies. Some members of Congress - Reid, Byrd, Clinton, Durbin, Pelosi, Kennedy, Biden, Finestein, Kucinich, Kerry, Hagel - call the president a liar and imply our military is composed of sadistic torturers led by incompetent officers from their commander-in-chief on down. They cite no legitimate facts, just broad-brush rhetoric.

It is crazy. They are beginning to make talkers like Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Hannity and Ingraham sound like moderates!

• Lew Williams Jr. is former publisher of the Ketchikan Daily News.

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