Monday, October 11, 2004

With the Elections Coming, Remember This

I was able to watch the Presidential Debate on Friday. This was the first debate I've been able to watch. Every evening, I've got something going on, but Friday was free. I think most people could agree (I don't care what media "professionals" say) that Bush won. He pounded Kerry on just about every single point. Sure, Kerry said something smart every once in a while, but he couldn't give a single answer without referring to his opponent. Most of the time, he didn't answer the questions posed. In Bush's retorts, he came back at Kerry and answered the questions asked.

There are just certain things I look for when considering my vote. I was able to vote for president for the first time when Bush and Gore were going at it in 2000. Of course, this was before the terrorists took out the twin towers and a big chunk of the Pentagon. Now, one of my greatest concerns is who will do the most to keep me safe. I want someone in office who's trustworthy. I don't want to hear something one day that I agree with just to hear one or two days later that the whole plan has changed because our leader has changed his mind. Again. I can't trust someone who's always changing his mind!

Also, in light of recent events, I need to make sure that whoever ends up in office is going to do everything in his power to protect this country from further attacks. I (and you should, too) have had to ask myself, "Who would the terrorists want to be the next president of the U.S.?" Of course, they'd want someone whose policies toward terrorism were more relaxed. Which of the candidates fits that profile? That's not who we want!

Some of my newer readers might not have seen the post I wrote in June about America basically being under constant attack by terrorists since 1979, so I've decided to repost the text of the speech that I referred to in that post, just to make us think a little more about the elections coming up and who we really want to be in office for the next four years.

This speech was given by U.S. Navy Captain Ouimette, the Executive Officer at Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida.

Here it is:

AMERICA NEEDS TO WAKE UP!

That's what we think we heard on the 11th of September 2001 (When more than 3,000 Americans were killed ) and maybe it was, but I think it should  have been "Get Out of Bed!" In fact, I think the alarm clock has been buzzing since 1979 and we have continued to hit the snooze button and roll over for a few more minutes of peaceful sleep since then.

It was a cool fall day in November 1979 in a country going through a religious and political upheaval when a group of Iranian students attacked and seized the American Embassy in Tehran. This seizure was an outright attack on American soil; it was an attack that held the world's most  powerful country hostage and paralyzed a Presidency. The attack on this sovereign U. S. embassy set the stage for events to follow for the next 23 years.

America was still reeling from the aftermath of the Vietnam experience and had a serious threat from the Soviet Union when then-President Carter had to do something. He chose to conduct a clandestine raid in the desert. The ill-fated mission ended in ruin, but stood as a symbol of America's inability to deal with terrorism.

America's military had been decimated and down-sized/right-sized since the end of the Vietnam War. A poorly trained, poorly equipped and poorly organized military was called on to execute a complex mission that was doomed from the start.

Shortly after the Tehran experience, Americans began to be kidnapped and killed throughout the Middle East. America could do little to
protect her citizens living and working abroad. The attacks against US soil continued.

In April of 1983, a large vehicle packed with high explosives was driven into the US Embassy compound in Beirut. When it exploded, it killed 63 people. The alarm went off again and America hit the Snooze Button once more.

Then just six short months later, a large truck, heavily laden down with over 2,500 pounds of TNT, smashes through the main gate of the US Marine Corps headquarters in Beirut and 241 US servicemen are killed. America mourns her dead and hits the Snooze Button once more.

Two months later in December 1983, another truck loaded with explosives is driven into the US Embassy in Kuwait, and America continues her slumber.

The following year, in September 1984, another van was driven into the gates of the US Embassy in Beirut, and America slept.

Soon the terrorism spreads to Europe. In April 1985, a bomb explodes in a restaurant frequented by US soldiers in Madrid.
Then in August, a Volkswagen loaded with explosives is driven into the main gate of the US Air Force Base at Rhein-Main; 22 are killed and the
snooze alarm is buzzing louder and louder as US interests are continually attacked.

Fifty-nine days later, a cruise ship, the Achille Lauro, is hijacked and we watched as an American in a wheelchair is singled out of the
passenger list and executed.

The terrorists then shift their tactics to bombing civilian airliners when they bomb TWA Flight 840 in April of 1986 that killed 4, and the
most tragic bombing, Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, killing 259.

Clinton treated these terrorist acts as crimes; in fact, we are still trying to bring these people to trial. These are acts of war. The wake-up alarm is getting louder and louder.

The terrorists decide to bring the fight to America. In January 1993, two CIA agents are shot and killed as they enter CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

The following month, February 1993, a group of terrorists are arrested after a rented van packed with explosives is driven into the underground parking garage of the World Trade Center in New York City. Six people are killed and over 1000 are injured. Still, this is a crime and not an act of war? The Snooze alarm is depressed again.

Then in November 1995, a car bomb explodes at a US military complex in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, killing seven service men and women.

A few months later in June of 1996, another truck bomb explodes only 35 yards from the US military compound in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. It destroys the Khobar Towers, a US Air Force barracks, killing 19 and injuring over 500. (*Editor's note: Ron predicted that these living quarters were prime targets when he was there in 1991. He mentioned the possible threat, and no one listened.)

The terrorists are getting braver and smarter as they see that America does not respond decisively. They move to coordinate their attacks in a simultaneous attack on two US  embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. These attacks were planned with precision. They kill 224. America responds with cruise missile attacks
and goes back to sleep.

The USS Cole was docked in the port of Aden, Yemen, for refueling on 12 October 2000, when a small craft pulled along side the ship and exploded, killing 17 US Navy Sailors. Attacking a US War Ship is an act of war, but we sent the FBI to investigate the crime and went back to sleep.

And, of course, you know the events of 11 September 2001. Most Americans think this was the first attack against US soil or in America. How wrong they are. America has been under a constant attack since 1979 and we chose to hit the snooze alarm and roll over and go back to sleep.

In the news lately, we have seen lots of finger pointing from every high official in government over what they knew and what they didn't know. But if you've read the papers and paid a little attention, I think you can see exactly what they knew. You don't have to be in the FBI or CIA or on the National Security Council to see the pattern that has been developing since 1979.

Our President is right on when he says we are engaged in a war. I think we have been in a war for the past 23 years and it will continue until we, as a people, decide enough is enough.

America needs to "Get out of Bed" and act decisively now. America has been changed forever. We have to be ready to pay the price and make the
sacrifice to ensure our way of life continues. We cannot afford to keep hitting the snooze button again and again and rolling over and going back to
sleep.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Admiral Yamamoto said "...it seems all we have done is awakened a sleeping giant."  This is the message we need to disseminate to terrorists around the world.

Support Our Troops and support President Bush for having the courage, political or militarily, to address what so many who preceded him didn't have the backbone to do, both Democrat and Republican. This is not a political thing to be hashed over in an election year; this is an AMERICAN thing. This is about our Freedom and the Freedom of our children and grandchildren in years to come.

Please forward this, especially to the young people and all those who dozed off in history class and who seem so quick to protest such a
necessary military action.

If God is your Co-Pilot---Change seats!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't really know what debate you were listening to on Friday. Bush evaded more questions than he answered. Most tellingly, I think, is that he was not able to answer the question re: mistakes he has made in office and what he has done to correct them. The Bush administration has refused to be accountable for many of the worst policy blunders (foreign or domestic) in recent American history.

Meanwhile, Kerry did answer the questions. I think Kerry has a clearer understanding of how the war on terror needs to be prosecuted. A key point of his strategy is that we need to repair relationships with our allies. After September 11, the world largely was with America. In a few short months, the Bush administration squandered this good will. I personally do not feel safer than I did Sept. 10.

I plan on holding Bush accountable November 2.

Mean

Mrs. T. Swede said...

First, I would like to ask that you not post anonymously on my blog. I tend to ban those who post anonymously.

Secondly, you are entitled to your opinion. I personally think that the question about mistakes made during Bush's administration was a planted question. Who's really going to address all the mistakes they've made during a debate that could determine whether he keeps his job or not? I certainly would want to avoid the question. Wouldn't you? We're all ashamed of some decisions we've made at one time or another, and we do what we can to rectify the situations.

Thirdly, how can you be sure that we're not safer than we were before the "War on Terror"? Do you have another situation with another president that you can compare to? If so, I'd like to know who and when. Almost every other president since 1979 (as you could see by the event list) has ignored signs of terrorism and acts of war against America. Should the U.S. just keep hitting the "snooze bar" and ignore these terrorists, or should we be doing something to keep it from happening again? That's the question I was asking.

I think you just skipped past the list of terror events after reading about my view of the debate from last Friday.

I'm not going to hold the President personally responsible for acts that have been going on since 1979. He's the only one who's had the guts to do anything about them.

Anonymous said...

1. I'm the same anonymous from before (I am not a blogger and don't plan on being one, so I don't want to get a username, etc.).

2. I'm all the more impressed by leaders who can look at their performance, critique it, and improve. Bush and others from his administration have said in the last few weeks that they would not change one thing about how they prosecuted the war and the occupation period in Iraq. Whether you agreed or disagreed about the U.S. invading Iraq, I don't think any objective person could look at how we have conducted the occupation period and judge it a success. Bremer, Bush's pick to head the occupation authority, deemed the policy as lacking. To me, it does not look like the Bush administration has any goal of improving their Iraq policy.

3. I can't prove we are not safer than before the war on terror. I said I personally do not feel safer. Why do I not feel safer? Because there are thousands if not millions of people who, since the invasion and occupation of Iraq, consider the u.s. their enemy. Bush has said that we are fighting the terrorists in Iraq so that we don't have to fight them here. Well, does this make me feel safer? No. Not when I know people who have died in Iraq. Not when I fear that others I love will die in Iraq. I don't think there is a chance that we will "hit the snooze bar" again (regardless of who is elected). The question is who can best lead America and how that should be done.

Another reason I do not feel safer--because so much of the improvements in "homeland security" are cosmetic. Does taking off my shoes make me safer when over 90 per cent of cargo containers coming into U.S. ports are not screened? If a "dirty bomb" were placed into any one of these cargo containers, a port (and the city that often surrounds American ports) would be devastated.

So, what should the U.S. do? We should secure Iraq. The Iraqi people for the most part want democracy and we should help them get there. We should get more countries involved in Iraq. Every country in the region has a stake in a stable Iraq. The U.S. needs to convince Arab and European leaders of this and get them to cooperate in bringing about democracy in Iraq.

Bush says that a free, democratic world would be a more peaceful world. I agree. So, let's not have a foreign policy in which we promote democracy in Iraq by using troops from countries that can hardly be labeled democracies (Ukraine and Azerbaijan as two examples). Let's not tell people that the U.S. respects human rights and freedom above all else and then sell out when the government of those people brutually repress civil liberties and trample human rights so that we can maintain a military base on their territory (Uzbekistan as an example: the U.S. gov't revoked millions of dollars in economic assistance (as legislated by congress) when Uzbekistan failed to improve the human rights situation. Weeks later the Pentagon doubled the amount of assistance that was revoked by giving Uzbekistan military aid and payment for the U.S. base there.) But, I digress.

Like you I'm not going to hold Bush responsible for things that happenend before his watch. I am going to hold him responsible for the policy decisions that he has made that have negatively impacted the view of America in the world and our security.

Mrs. T. Swede said...

You don't have to get a Blogger account or a username to leave a first name at the end of your post so I know to whom I am speaking, just FYI. Others have left their names, and you can, too. Unless you're scared I might know who you are.

Look again at these statements: "So, what should the U.S. do? We should secure Iraq. The Iraqi people for the most part want democracy and we should help them get there. We should get more countries involved in Iraq. Every country in the region has a stake in a stable Iraq. The U.S. needs to convince Arab and European leaders of this and get them to cooperate in bringing about democracy in Iraq…

"So, let's not have a foreign policy in which we promote democracy in Iraq by using troops from countries that can hardly be labeled democracies."

I agree that we should secure Iraq, and that employing the assistance of countries that can be described as less than democratic to achieve democracy is a controversial, eyebrow-raising way to do things. But in these statements, you seem to have contradicted yourself. Which democratic countries in the Arab and European areas are you talking about? I'd particularly like an example of a democratic Arab country.

If you look back in history, it is very rare that a president has been voted out of office during wartime. I think Bush is on the right track, and given four more years, he will prove that he knows what he's doing. (Not that I'd want to see the war go on for that long.) I don't have the same confidence in someone who can't make up his mind, someone considered a "flip-flopper" and the most liberal senator in the Senate. You never know what's going to come out of his mouth and whether he'll be consistent or not. I can't trust someone like that. Maybe you can, but I don't see how.

As far as the mistakes of the Bush administration, I don't believe anyone who says that they haven't ever made any mistakes. I believe that they don't want to remind people of those mistakes because they're working to correct them. Whether they actually think that way, I'll never know. You'll notice, though, that Kerry wasn't asked the same question. How many mistakes has he made? Let's approach this from another angle: How many times has he said something and then gone back and changed the wording so the two statements were contradictory? Which did he really mean? Care to count and respond on his behalf?

I'm not an avid Bush supporter. I think he's made some mistakes and done some things that he probably should have done differently. But I am very much against voting for someone like Kerry, who I feel can't be trusted to be consistent. Other countries wouldn't trust someone like that. I don't like where he stands on other issues, either. "I'm a Catholic but I support the killing of fetuses because a woman has the right to choose, and I'm going to make the tax payers pay for those abortions. I don't care if I can no longer commune because of my beliefs and that the Church is telling people not to vote for me because of my views on abortion." I can't respect that. And that's just one issue. There are so many. (And, yes, I know he didn't say that verbatim. I'm taking some of his phrases and putting my own spin on them to put them into one statement.)

No matter how hard you might try, Mr. or Ms. Scared-to-leave-a-name, you're not going to change my mind. I can't trust Kerry, and I don't like his political platforms, no matter how much you or anyone else will try to convince me he's the better candidate. I do, however, wish there was a better Republican candidate so I'd have more of a choice. But I and other will have to take what we can get. Hopefully, we won't get an untrustworthy flip-flopper in the end.