4-10 Palmer

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 13, 2004

If you haven’t been keeping up with the 9-11 Commission hearings currently being held by Congress you may have missed something that I think is indicative of the danger America faces.

The hearings are revealing that we not only face danger from enemies abroad, but also from danger within.

There is an astounding inability in Washington, D.C. to grasp the fact that we are in a world war against an enemy committed to killing us.

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This is an enemy that is completely indiscriminate in its targets…an enemy that considers all people that do not hold their fanatical views of Islam to be targets for destruction.

The killing of four Americans in Fallujah, Iraq and the mutilation of the bodies of two of the victims should be vivid evidence that the people we are fighting are products of a barbaric culture.

Few Americans have seen the pictures of the mutilated bodies; I have seen them.

Looking at the faces of the fanatics as they desecrated the bodies of the slain Americans makes it clear that we have only two choices in dealing with such people.

We can either weakly pull back and try to appease them, or we can take the war to them and destroy their terrorist networks.

Unfortunately, in the 9-11 Commission hearings, Richard Clarke, the disgruntled former terrorism advisor, is telling the American people that the government should apologize for the attacks on 9-11.

Don’t get me wrong-the government’s screw-ups are well documented and it is quite clear that there were major lapses in the effort to protect America.

But the U.S. government is not responsible for the attacks.

In case the critics have forgotten, it was fanatical murderers following a perverted form of their religion that carried out the attacks on 9-11.

To focus our attention on all that wasn’t done or that was done wrong in the Bush administration, or even the Clinton administration for that matter, and start a self-defeating, emotionally paralyzing and morale-killing sob session over our failures is dangerous.

We are at war and winning the war should take precedence over everything else until we have won it.

If we had to have this hearing on 9-11, the focus should have been on improving national security and not assigning blame.

We need to concentrate on our enemies in all their ruthless savagery. The hearings that are taking place right now are not useful, and furthermore can be potentially harmful in that they can undermine national resolve and may well encourage more aggressive efforts on the part of the terrorists. We need to build America’s resolve, not weaken it.

Moreover, our government should not be having a public discussion about our intelligence capabilities or our failures.

Whatever we have the capability to do in a covert manner should remain hidden from our enemies as well as whatever weaknesses exist in our intelligence gathering and defense efforts.

None of this needs to be broadcast or printed for all to see.

The Commission was supposedly formed as a “bi-partisan” commission to determine if there were any breakdowns in our efforts to defend the nation against terrorist attacks that could be addressed to prevent future attacks.

What the Commission has become is a highly-partisan, media-aided assault against President Bush that shows how far the Left will go to defeat him, even to the point of exposing America to greater danger.

In the end, the 9-11 Commission report will reveal little of strategic importance in terms of improving national security, but it may reveal a lot to our enemies about our weaknesses.

Oliver North, who was an expert on counterterrorism under President Ronald Reagan, called the 9-11 Commission hearings to date “…a frustrating exercise in Washington finger pointing.”

He wrote, “For terrorists plotting their next attack on American citizens, it was another peek inside our past and current intelligence capabilities-and our vulnerabilities.”

Americans love reality TV shows, and so do the terrorists, especially when the shows reveal the weak spots in our defenses.

The stupidity of members of Congress in allowing this to go on gives our enemies the opportunity to create new and horrifying realities for us, like the one we watched live on 9-11.