Reelected Nov. 6, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden cited one foreign policy accomplishment — the death of Osama bin Laden May 2, 2011. On the campaign trail Obama practically took all the credit for bin Laden’s death after Seal Team 6 shot him as he reached for a weapon.
With the election over, perhaps now we can move beyond this year-and-a-half-old foreign policy “achievement.”
But before we move on to a new year, it may be enlightening to look back to an earlier time when the name al Qaeda or Osama bin Laden were not exactly household words. In 1987 Lt. Col. Oliver North was testifying before a Senate hearing as to why the National Security staffer spent $60,000 of taxpayers’ money on a home security system.
“‘Isn’t that just a little excessive?’” asked the senator
“No, sir,” said North.
“No? And why not?” the senator asked.
“Because the lives of my family and I were threatened, sir.”
“Threatened? By whom?” the senator questioned.
“By a Muslim terrorist, sir,” North answered.
“Terrorist? What terrorist could possibly scare you that much?”
“His name is Osama bin Laden, sir,” North replied.
The senator was Al Gore, and he thought it was amusing that he had trouble pronouncing bin Laden’s name. It’s a sure thing he and a lot of other people can pronounce that name now.
“Why are you so afraid of this man?” Gore asked.
“Because, sir, he is the most evil person alive that I know of and the Muslims are trying to take over America and destroy it from the inside out and putting their people into our political offices,” North said.
“And what do you recommend we do about him?” asked Gore.
“Well, sir, if it was up to me, I would recommend that an assassin team be formed to eliminate him and his men from the face of the earth.”
And for this we must credit President George W. Bush for starting the killer aerial drone program and President Obama for really expanding it.
What it really required, in addition to Obama’s greatly expanded drone program is a tough foreign policy, one as tough as the Israelis. Which brings us back to Osama’s successful plot to blow up the World Trade Center Sept. 1, 2001. One of the suicide pilots was Mohammad Atta. The Israelis imprisoned him for blowing up a bus in Israel in 1986.
As part of President Bill Clinton’s Oslo deal with the Palestinians — a deal which Yasser Arafat never kept – the Israelis were supposed to release political prisoners. But the Israelis didn’t want to release any “with blood on their hands.” Clinton’s secretary of state, Warren Christopher, insisted they release all. And that is how Mohammad Atta was freed to later fly into the World Trade Center. Once a terrorist always a terrorist.
And Bill Clinton at the Democratic National Convention praised President Obama for killing Osama bin Laden. He sure had a personal interest in being thankful for the death of what Oliver North called “the most evil person … that I know.”
Let’s hope future presidents and secretaries of state just let imprisoned terrorists stay in prison. Which brings us back to the terrorists imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It’s time to move those military tribunals along and keep the really bad guys such as 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed imprisoned in Gitmo for life. He is what the New York times refers to as one of 16 “high value” detainees. Thank goodness for the House and Senate, which overwhelmingly voted against bringing KSM and others to New York for trial. Keep them in Gitmo. Congress set out tribunal parameters approved by the courts. It is time to follow through.