Tags: Congress | Tiptoes | Around | Terrorist | War

Congress Tiptoes Around Terrorist War

Wednesday, 12 September 2001 12:00 AM

This despite the fact that scores of lawmakers appearing on nationwide television, and in House and Senate speeches, have denounced the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as "as act of war.”

One of the reasons given for resisting stronger language in the resolution was a need for more specificity when talking about war.

In a copy of the resolution reviewed by NewsMax.com, the word "war” is mentioned in more muted tones, such as "the war to eradicate terrorism,” almost as if to put the monstrous tragedy on a par with the "the war on drugs” or "the war on poverty.”

Nowhere is there any mention that the U.S. "at war.” Those on Capitol Hill who tried to get stronger wording in the resolution even noted it is not necessary to pass a formal declaration of war, something Congress has not done since Pearl Harbor nearly 60 years ago.

"I agree and I would be in favor" of the stronger language, said retired Adm. Thomas Moorer, who was at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese struck.

But in an interview with NewsMax.com, he added, "I think that if we say we view this as a state of war and then don’t act that way, you are weakening the whole case.”

On that point, administration sources assure NewsMax.com that President Bush means exactly what he said when he told the nation Tuesday night that when the U.S. retaliates, it will make no distinction between the terrorists "and those who harbor them.”

Further, there will be no parsing of the meaning of the word "harbor,” recalling a kind of suspicion that has been in vogue ever since ex-President Bill Clinton split hairs on the word "is.”

This president "means business,” is the assurance coming from the Bush regime.

What exactly should be done?

Moorer, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, thinks one answer is to go back to human spies. Human spies were de-emphasized under President Jimmy Carter, who came to office after a Senate committee headed by the late Frank Church, D-Idaho, had demonized intelligence agencies by spotlighting the abuses and ignoring the needs for on-the-ground human intelligence.

America needs "a real true spy that can penetrate a nation on activity and meld in with society and really get [to know] what the other side’s thinking about,” the retired admiral said.

The de-emphasis on human spying was further accelerated under Clinton.

Moorer, who is on the board of NewsMax.com, says the almost total reliance on satellites and other advanced technology for intelligence work "can take a picture of missile sites and take a picture of how many ships are being constructed."

"But when you get into a mind-set like … those who participated in that fiasco [Tuesday], you’ve really got to get next to them and get in the inner circle, so to speak, to know what is really going on, and particularly what might be planned.”

He also advocated "tightening up much better on the people that can get into an airplane in the first place.” That issue was shortly thereafter addressed by Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, who announced tighter airport security.

It is widely known that notorious terrorist Osama bin Laden gets much of his money by threatening private sources, huge corporations within the so-called "moderate” Arab states. If they pay up in the millions, then they can rest assured a pipeline or a hotel or whatever won’t be blown up.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are aware of this. But that kind of extortion against powers that are based in nations that supply the U.S. with much of its oil places Congress on the horns of a political dilemma.

Overnight polls show Americans willing to go to war in retaliation for the first act of warfare on the mainland U.S. since the Civil War, even if it means a temporary shortage of oil. But that is a snapshot of a time when feelings are running high. Past political wars in this country over oil shortages have caused politicians to become gun shy.

Moorer said in his interview that we talk about "awakening the sleeping giant, but then we let the giant go back to sleep again.” It is hoped that won’t happen this time.

Amongst activists who helped this administration into power, there is a dispute as to how best to act against these wealthy and powerful sources of bin Laden’s power.

William J. Murray, chairman of the Religious Freedom Coalition, recommends that the oil fields of Sudan be destroyed. As NewsMax.com has previously reported, Sudanese oil has financed not only a 21st century holocaust in that country, but also has helped to bankroll bin Laden. Sudanese oil is of little interest to the West, Murray claims.

Secondly, he thinks the "moderate” Islamic states, which he believes are "looking the other way” while corporations within their borders shovel money into bin Laden’s terrorist machine, should be made to pay reparations to the U.S. by selling oil to this country "at the actual cost of pumping.”

It’s what you do if they refuse that brings Congress back to its political puzzle, and may or may not have played a role in the fact that its joint resolution was not even stronger than it was. But if Bush really means that he will make no distinction between terrorists and those who protect them, here is a core problem that he may have to confront. Would the U.S. oil reserves at Elk Hills in California alleviate a cutoff?

Murray also would not allow Muslims "to hold any public safety position or work with any federal agency,” suspecting, as many others to, that Muslims in security positions in Boston and Washington airports "more than likely assisted in the hijacking of the aircraft used in the mass murder of Americans.”

That draws an objection from the Rev. Lou Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition. He told NewsMax.com: "I’ve been to Egypt. They’re our friends! I’ve been to Jordan. They’re our friends! I’ve been to Kuwait. They’ve our friends! I’ve been to Saudi Arabia. They’re our friends!”

Sheldon added one of his Muslim employees, whose duties include being his driver, "is devastated by this.”

Others argue that all Muslims should not be made to pay for the attack, any more than all Catholics or all Protestants are blamed for the violence in Northern Ireland.

One idea being bandied about in some Washington quarters is reviving the House and Senate Internal Security panels. They were abolished in the late 1970s.

As NewsMax.com noted several days ago, the House Internal Security Committee was terminated while it was in the midst of an investigation of Moscow’s bankrolling the Communist Party Daily Worker. At the end of the Cold War, it was established that this was true and that Moscow used the Communist Party to fund espionage against this country.

Could such investigative committees have red-flagged some goings on that ultimately culminated in the nightmare that came true Tuesday?

In preparing the article "China Probe Finds Bipartisan Skeletons,” NewsMax.com reviewed reports of the Senate Intelligence Committee and at least one of the rare public hearings that panel has held. This research made it easy to understand why at least one senator doesn’t bother showing up at Intelligence Committee hearings anymore. He did not dispute a definition of that committee’s pressure for bipartisan consensus as resulting in "pure mush.”

"The congressmen [today] don’t really know the ins and outs of intelligence,” said Adm. Moorer, without referring specifically to the work of the Intelligence Committee. "You have to prevail on the Congress the importance and the need for intelligence.”

But some on Capitol Hill believe a House or Senate panel that does not hesitate to use its subpoena power to get the security threats out onto the table, in public when it is necessary and consistent with national security, could be effective.

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This despite the fact that scores of lawmakers appearing on nationwide television, and in House and Senate speeches, have denounced the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as as act of war." One of the reasons given for resisting stronger language in the...
Congress,Tiptoes,Around,Terrorist,War
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2001-00-12
Wednesday, 12 September 2001 12:00 AM
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