Monday, February 19, 2007

Bush Hesitates On Attacking Al-Queda Camps

It is scary this morning to read in the New York Times that the Bush Administration is hesitating to attack Al Qaeda training camps in Pakistan, across the border from Afghanistan, for fear of causing civilian casualties.

This was the same excuse the Clinton Administration used repeatedly in the years between the 1998 attack on U.S. embassies in East Africa and its departure from power eight months before the terror attacks against New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001. During that period, U.S. terror experts came up with several proposals to go after Osama bin Laden and his infrastructure, but, always, queasy officials from President Clinton on down refused to approve such attacks.

The results are well known. Three thousand Americans died on 9/11, and another 3,000 have already died in the wars that followed it.

Now, is the Bush Administration going to sit around and wait for a new devastating Al Qaeda attack in Europe or the United States, before it decides to act decisively to crush the terror organization?

It is worth recalling, as a friend did for me today, that on Sept. 24, 2001, President Bush declared that unless any country opposed terror, we would assume it was with it, and act accordingly.

But that resolution has given way since to let the Musharraf regime in Pakistan play both sides with impunity.

In the world as it is, Muslim duplicity is a real problem. Musharraf pretends to be a friend of the U.S., but he enters into an agreement with the terrorists in North Waziristan, next to Afghanistan, to give them a privileged sanctuary, from which they can attack the Hamid Karzai regime in Afghanistan, and its U.S. and NATO allies.

It is true, Pakistan has suffered from several recent suicide bombings. But at the same time, Pakistan may have been involved, through extremist organizations allowed to operate there, in today's fire bombing of an Indian train that killed 67 persons on a run between New Delhi and Pakistan. Indian authorities said new, more sophisticated fire bombs were used to murder passengers on the train. But so many Pakistani passengers died that there was also speculation the perpetrator could have been Indian extremists trying to embitter relations.

The New York Times says today that Washington has become aware that Al Qaeda has "re-established significant control over their once battered worldwide terror network and over the past year have set up a band of training campaigns in the tribal regions near the Afghan border" (lead paragraph of the lead story in the paper).

The question, then, is what is going to be done about these developments?

Just because queasy Democrats in Washington don't have the stomach to face the present situation realistically is not an excuse for the Administration to hold back. It is duty bound to protect the American people and must do so. Besides, public opinion could turn around if U.S. forces were to do something really decisive. I don't believe the security operation in Baghdad is it.

As the New York Times story observes, there is proof that British Muslim terrorists involved in attacks on the London subways and an abortive plot last summer to blow up airliners over the Atlantic have been found to have traveled to Pakistan for training.

The safety of Americans is involved in the present situation. If we know the location of Al Qaeda training camps, we must strike to destroy them.

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