Former Congressman and Army officer Allen West tells Newsmax that the bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday show once again that terrorism is “relentless” and demands constant vigilance.
The Florida Republican also warns that every American is in a “combat zone” due to the threat of terrorists, who seek to create as much death and destruction as possible.
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West rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel and served in Iraq and Afghanistan before his retirement in 2004. He was a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the Tea Party caucus but lost his House seat in redistricted Florida in 2012. West is now director of Next Generation programming at PJ Media.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV on Tuesday, West discusses the tragedy that unfolded in Boston.
“First of all I want to send out heartfelt condolences to those who have lost a loved one, those who are wounded – multiple amputees – as well as some of the South Florida running community that were there in Boston.
“One of the things we have to understand is this idea of terrorism is something that is relentless, it’s very determined, it’s very diligent, and we have to continue to keep the pressure on. Remember we have to be right every time and they only have to be right one time, and we saw that occur.
“It is very troubling that again we have this happen, but we were very successful, maybe even lucky, that the Times Square bombing did not occur, we had the underwear bomber that was on the aircraft that was landing in Detroit, we had the gentleman who wanted to take an attack against President Bush down in Texas.”
Senior White House officials say they consider this an act of terrorism. But President Barack Obama, speaking from the White House on Monday, pointedly avoided using the words “terror” or “terrorism.”
“It is significant,” West observes. “I hate to say it but in a lot of people’s minds we still have not resolved the issue of Benghazi and many of us are concerned about that. A lot of the words that we heard from the president yesterday kind of mirrored what we heard about Benghazi, and we have not gotten to the bottom of it, we have not brought anyone to justice. We lost an ambassador, two former Navy SEALs and a state department worker, and we know it’s a terrorist attack.
“Words do matter and I can’t understand why the president did not call this a terrorist attack because that’s what everyone has called it, especially when we look at the issue of improvised explosive devices and the fact that they were from the waist down so you had the horrific effect of losing limbs, but also the fact that you had multiple explosions. This is kind of like a kill zone that was designed there toward that finish line at the Boston Marathon.”
Mideast and terrorism expert Walid Phares told Newsmax on Monday that there’s a 50/50 chance the Boston bombings are the work of foreign terrorists, perhaps al-Qaida. West was asked if the bombings appear to be an act of jihad or domestic terrorism.
“We don’t know. We have to get to the bottom of it and I’m sure a bomb always leaves a signature and we have some of the top bomb experts and forensic experts in the world and they’ll be able to piece it together,” he responds.
“But when you look at what we call in the military the TTP, the tactic technique procedures, yes it does look like the type of event and improvised explosive device that you would see in the combat zone in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“But we also have to understand that IEDs are used down in Mexico and we know that we have a Hezbollah influence down there and an Iranian influence in South America. We need to wait and make sure we get the right type of evidence.”
As for the motive of whoever was responsible, West declares: “The motive is very clear — to instill terrorism. The motive was to create as much death and destruction and maiming of American citizens.
“This was a very intricately planned event and the fact that it was in hour four of the marathon means you have security that is relaxing a little bit, you have more of the family-oriented runners that are coming in, so the perpetrators knew exactly what they were doing.”
Asked if we can expect similar attacks in the future, West tells Newsmax: “The element of surprise is lost and that’s the thing that a terrorist wants to create. I don’t believe that they will want to try to follow that with another type of attack because you already have people at a heightened state of security and awareness.
“But unfortunately in this 21st century battlefield that I’ve spoken about so often, every one of us is in a combat zone and we have to understand that terrorists do not have borders or boundaries. They will go after civilians. That’s just the nature of who they are, and we have to start identifying them and we have to extricate them out of our society as we find them, and also trace back to the people that are sponsoring these types of terrorist events and eliminate them as well.”
Tensions remain high between North Korea and the United States, despite Secretary of State John Kerry’s appeal to China to diffuse the situation. Asked for his analysis of how the Obama administration has dealt with this, West says: “The thing is it’s not just the Obama administration, it’s several administrations prior to that. I was stationed in Korea in 1995 and North Korea is just about international extortion. When they get to the point where they want more aid, food aid or whatever, they become very threatening, and we’re going to have to let them know there’s no more negotiating, compromising.
“We need to put the pressure on China to get their little mad dog Kim Jong Un under control in that rogue Stalinist state. But when you look at China, they feel that they have an economic advantage over us because of our debt. So I don’t think that you can really be in a position to persuade the Chinese to do anything.
“We’re going to have to stand firm. We’re going to have to be ready to take action. You will see North Korea probably try to take some type of small-scale action like they did sinking the South Korea vessel, or fire some artillery into South Korean territory, to try to show they’re serious.
“I don’t think that they could launch any type of missile that will threaten the United States or any of our territories but you do have to be concerned about what they can do on a regional scale.”
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