Monday, June 27, 2005

Put The Blame Where It Belongs

Just who started this war? My recollection is that en masse and definitive strikes on our shores occurred on September 11, 2001. What happened on that day could not be ignored, at least at the time--the devastation was too great and too close.

And didn't the 9/11 Commission, with 20/20 hindsight, criticize our government for not heeding the warning signs, and didn't that commission recommend tightening-up our national security?

Apparently, the ACLU feels that some of these security measures are undermining scientific developments.

Washington Post:

ACLU Says Bush Is Restricting Science
The Associated Press (published in the Washington Post)
Wednesday, June 22, 2005

"WASHINGTON -- The American Civil Liberties Union charged Tuesday that the Bush administration is placing science under siege by overzealously tightening restrictions on information, individuals and technology in the name of homeland security.

"The administration 'has sought to impose growing restrictions on the free flow of scientific information, unreasonable barriers on the use of scientific materials and increased monitoring of and restrictions on foreign university students, the ACLU said....

"Robert Hopkins of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy criticized the ACLU for seeking to politicize the issue.

"'The report chooses to criticize actions taken to address security concerns in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attack,' Hopkins said. 'The administration has worked in good faith with serious members of the science community, including the National Academies, to determine the best way to enable the conduct of science without providing terrorists with a road map for pursuing their aims.'

"Indeed, the National Academy of Sciences delayed publication of an article at the request of the Department of Health and Human Services over concerns the paper could provide terrorists information on poisoning the milk supply....

"But the ACLU contends that the administration has been overzealous, reversing past government openness by creating a presumption of secrecy and lengthening classification periods.

"The report lists other science restrictions, including limiting the access of foreign scholars to information, restricting their participation in some areas of research and tightening visa rules with the result of blocking or delaying visits to this country by foreign students and teachers...."

Previous to 9/11, I taught English as a Second Language to adults at a Korean Learning Center. When the visa regulations tightened, I found myself without a job because the number of foreign students was greatly reduced. Now, I seriously doubt that any of my students, most of them South Koreans, posed any threat. And I miss my job as an adult ESL teacher because adult students are often more serious about learning than are teenagers or youngsters.

I believe, however, that losing my job was a small price to pay for improving national security. Our universities are fonts of information for those desiring access to nuclear material, and I believe that our President is right to limit access to such material. In fact, Saddam's nuclear-development specialist, Mahdi Obeidi, the author of The Bomb In My Garden, has pointed out that he visited several universities, including the University of Virginia, to obtain information which he used to develop nuclear centrifuges, each capable of producing one bomb per year.

I, for one, never want to see another day like September 11, 2001. Airplanes flying into buildings was a tragedy and a wake-up call. A nuclear attack would be even worse and could well bring about a hideous, new world order--a whole world held hostage and under siege.

Note: Red indicates amendment to previous version.
A tip of my hat to Mustang, who pointed out the shortcomings of the first draft.

6 Comments:

At 6/27/2005 10:21 PM, Blogger Mustang said...

My dear friend: Let me disagree with you just a bit. The first attack on our homeland occurred in 1993 when a bunch of idiots attempted to blow up the WTC from the basement level. You will recall that the reaction of the Clinton administration was to "do nothing" substantial. Yes, Muslims were arrested and prosecuted, but I'm sure they'll be released in a short while, write a book, and run for Congress.

Other attacks on our "homeland" occurred at two American embassies, one military barracks, and a ship of war. In each of these cases, the Clinton administration talked the talk, but they failed to walk to walk.

This country has been "at war" for quite some time -- but the only people who knew it were the Muslims who were planning and executing their acts of terror.

Does it surprise you that in the 1970s, when Muslims were busy as little bees hijacking aircraft, murdering passengers, and blowing up airplanes, that no one in our government "had a clue" about what was really going on, and worse still, didn't ACT on behalf of America? Why are none of these officials, including most recently SecState Albreight, being held accountable for literally opening America's doors to extremists?

Okay -- I'm done. I think I go and kick the neighbor's dog.

 
At 6/27/2005 10:33 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Mustang,
You are absolutely correct that we had a previous attack in 1993. In a few minutes, I'm going to amend that portion. But even before 1993, a jihadist struck the CIA here in Virginia.

I struggled with that word "homeland," because I'm fully mindful of the attacks on our embassies, the barracks in Beirut, and the USS Cole.

At least, the state of Virginia had the sense to execute the jihadist who struck the CIA, right? That's my recollection. I wasn't very tuned in until 9/11.

I particularly like this portion of your comment: "This country has been "at war" for quite some time -- but the only people who knew it were the Muslims who were planning and executing their acts of terror."

I read the other day that Saddam Hussein is busy penning his book.

 
At 6/27/2005 11:08 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Mustang,
And one more thing (You know how fond I am of that phrase)...As you pointed out, this war has been going on for a long time. In one way or another, the United States has been under attack for over thirty years. But for the first time, on 9/11 the attacks were so devastating that they could not be ignored nor given short shrift on the news. The method of attack came as a surprise, and I can understand why; but the fact that the attack came should not have been a surprise. The fact that our government was surprised doesn't speak well of several administrations.

The Gates of Vienna blog has a wonderful article on just how long this war has been going on @
http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2004/10/newest-phase-of-very-old-war.html

I rather imagine that you've read it.

The first time I read the title "The Gates of Vienna," I immediately knew the reference. I wonder if others immediately recognize the reference. I hope so, but I have my doubts. What happened there in 1683 doesn't receive a lot of space in many history books.

Islam has been at war with Western civilization almost from the first days of Mohammed the Prophet. Once he and his dreams were "rejected," he came up with a way to solve that rejection: eliminate and/or subjugate the non-Muslims. That is the politically-incorrect truth. The early verses of peace in the Koran were repudiated. Then the haddiths came along and solidified the ideology into the militantism we know today.

So, to use your words, we've been "'at war' for quite some time -- but the only people who knew it were the Muslims who were planning and executing their acts of terror."

 
At 6/28/2005 6:33 PM, Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

Brillian piece, and brilliant analysis by both of you guys! I was going to throw in my two cents worth, but you have said what needs to be said!

 
At 6/28/2005 7:51 PM, Blogger Esther said...

AOW, I like that part of mustang's comment too -- its very important but not enough people seem to realize it. The jihadists have been trying and trying to get us to realize they were declaring war but we kept ignoring them (thanks Clinton!). So they had to keep stepping it up. Finally we couldn't ignore it. But we will be the ones to end it. I hope. Great post!

 
At 6/29/2005 12:24 AM, Blogger Shah Alexander said...

I found your blog on Political Yen/Yang.

I am concerned with growing perception gap between Americans and Europeans-Japanese. Also, it is important to correct misunderstandings on America and the Middle East, among the global public. I discuss this issue on my blog.

 

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