Point counterpoint: Examining U.S. position in the War on Terror (Jones)

President Clinton did nothing to stop al-Qaida. For nearly a decade, al-Qaida launched a series of escalating attacks-in Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, New York and Yemen. Americans died. Terrorists celebrated. After each attack, Clinton appeared on television and promised the American people that the terrorists would be caught and punished-this time for sure. Only, it never happened.

The government of the Sudan-where Osama bin Laden established training camps-offered to turn over bin Laden to the United States. On each of the three separate occasions, from 1996 to 1999, Clinton turned them down. Samuel Berger, then deputy national security adviser, confirmed this in a Washington Post story. Clinton had a chance to decapitate al-Qaida. Instead, he bombed empty tents in the Afghani desert and a Sudanese aspirin factory.

After the attacks on Sept. 11, President Bush created the Department of Homeland Security, inaugurated new security measures in airports and unleashed the U.S. covert operations and intelligence communities.

We deposed two dictatorships that were supporting terrorists with money, weapons and training camps. The Taliban’s Afghanistan was a hellish land of oppression. Women were second-class citizens, subject to brutal beatings for failure to cover every inch of their bodies. Torture was common for offenses as slight as having too short of a beard. Today, Afghanistan is a democracy and the Taliban is history. Liberals opposed the liberation of Afghanistan.

Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, had a 25-year legacy of torture, rape and mass murder. Hussein gassed Kurds, killed on a whim and sought weapons of mass destruction. We freed Iraq, over the opposition of American liberals and so-called “allies.”

French, German and Russian companies supported the Iraqi regime. Prime Minister Jacques Chirac of France personally sold Hussein a nuclear reactor in 1981, with which Hussein could produce fissionable materials for a nuclear bomb. Germany sold him dual-purpose bio-weapons equipment and built Iraqi bunker complexes. Russia sold Hussein weapons and other material, right up to the day America invaded.

These three countries opposed the liberation of Iraq, for good reason. They were Hussein’s arms suppliers, oil profiteers and close allies. Yet Democrats claimed that we had to kowtow to these three governments in order to validate our liberation of Iraq. Not doing so made the war “unilateral.”

According to leftists, a military coalition of nearly a dozen nations is “unilateral.” A reconstruction coalition of more than 40 nations is “unilateral.” An anti-terrorism coalition of more than 60 nations is “unilateral.” On this issue, basic math skills seem beyond most liberals.

It isn’t the United States that has been ostracized. Just after Operation Iraqi Freedom was launched, Chirac complained that the United States had ostracized him, because so many European Union countries supported our efforts. Just this month, Germany’s Chancellor Gerhard Schrder announced that he was reversing course with regard to foreign policy in an attempt to mend fences with the United States. We haven’t ostracized France, France ostracized us by refusing to help in our hour of need.

We have captured two-thirds of al-Qaida’s leadership, shut down front organizations in America and rolled up cell after cell. We have freed more than 50 million people from dictatorships. Libya has renounced terror and re entered the community of nations. Most importantly, we have given hope back to the people of the Middle East.

As reported in The New York Times, Omar Amiralay, a Syrian filmmaker, made a documentary critical of Syria’s ruling fascist Baath party. After Hussein’s fall, Amiralay said, he gained the courage to make his movie because “the myth of having to live under despots for eternity collapsed.”

People of the Middle East, who have suffered under the heels of despots for hundreds of years, have been freed and given hope. All of this progress, all of these accomplishments, all of this success and liberals claim that Bush has done “nothing.”

Unfortunately for them, the records of Bush and Clinton tell a different story.

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