The Real Terrorists
September 11, 2002
by Gary Aldrich - Volume 2, Issue 43
This article was first published on TownHall.com - September 11, 2002.
Marketing gurus and psychologists understand that harmless radicals can be made to appear dangerous in the eyes of the general population if a PR campaign is clever enough. I submit that a storm of news articles, complemented with a choir of willing TV pundits expressing “alarm” and “outrage,” can demonize any group – regardless of their true potential to harm others or negatively impact on national security.
And who holds great sway in determining the media’s focus on alleged radicals from the opposite party’s fringe, whether they choose to exercise this power or not? I believe a case can be made that this power falls, in large part, into the hands of whatever political party occupies the Oval Office.
After the demonization process is complete, the full forces of the federal law enforcement community – armed with new powers and fat budgets provided by a compliant Congress as a knee-jerk reaction – can then move forward to “eliminate the threat.” A political jihad can be launched by the party in power to wound the opposition party if the allegations are broad enough and repeated often enough. Even though a fringe radical group has nothing at all to do with a legitimate, mainstream political agenda, their over-the-top statements and actions can be made to look like party ideology.
An honest political party in power would never stoop to such dangerous and underhanded tactics, unless that party had nothing left of value to offer the voters. Why would such tactics be dangerous? Because while the media and the nation is absorbed with the phony threat being hyped by the administration in power, real threats will be ignored. In the meantime, the real terrorists can grow in strength and numbers.
Several recent examples are available to support this contention. After taking office in 1993, Bill Clinton’s Department of Justice, led by Janet Reno, convinced the nation that a rag-tag group of religious fanatics in Texas, cobbled together by a man exhibiting behavior not seen since the Jonestown massacre, were in a position to break out and threaten vast numbers of innocent citizens.
We were never told exactly how these fanatics would do this, and close examination has proven the absurdity of the claims, as this group was nothing more than a small band of deranged, confused citizens. In fact, a case can be made that many of these so-called members were held against their will by plain old-fashioned brainwashing, including verbal and physical abuse.
The Branch Davidians, living far away from any neighbors on a compound near Waco, Texas, had accumulated a stockpile of arms, some illegal. The ATF had obtained search warrants and were attempting to serve those warrants on the compound when a gun fight broke out. We have since learned that the ATF could have served the warrants in a safe, peaceful manner since David Koresh, the leader of this sect, often went to the nearby town alone. Both sides claim the other side fired the first shots. The nation cringed as four federal officers were slain by Davidian gunfire. The raid was broadcast on TV because the ATF had wanted to achieve a public relations coup, but their incompetence caused a chain of events that led to a massive loss of life.
The Clinton White House, suffering criticism from the botched and deadly raid, dumped the case on the FBI, who then sent in their Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) for the purpose of arresting the murderers of the ATF agents. Led by George Stephanopoulos, the Clinton White House went into full spin-mode to justify the killings. In order to do this, they had to paint the Branch Davidians as dangerous terrorists.
In fact, this group consisted of perhaps a dozen men, heavily armed, effectively isolated far from the nearest town, totally surrounded by hundreds of highly trained, well equipped federal, state and local law enforcement officials. In other words, they posed no threat, except to themselves and the law enforcement officers who held them in virtual captivity. There was no reason to storm the compound, unless it was to rescue hostages. If the goal was to rescue hostages, the FBI sure had a deadly way of going about it.
There is no doubt that there were dangerous men inside that compound, but the majority were women and children. Regardless of the obvious innocence of most of the complex’s occupants, the Clinton White House worked in concert with a willing media to demonize all who were unfortunate enough to fall under the spell of Koresh – a modern day Jim Jones.
Instead of treating the women and children as innocent captives, at risk from a forced group suicide, the Clinton Justice Department pushed for an early end to the stand-off through the use of military-like violence, led by a former tank commander who was heading up the FBI’s HRT. The extensive dangers of the raid were carefully explained to Janet Reno and relayed to the Clinton White House, but a green light was given anyway.
In order to justify this extraordinary level of violence by federal authorities on U.S. soil, it was necessary to dehumanize all who were behind those flimsy walls – not a difficult task. All the occupants were “religious fanatics” and most were white. They were “loony Christians” led by an “angry white man” whose top lieutenants were also “angry white men.” And, they had exercised their Second Amendment rights – they were armed.
In other words, they were part of the “Vast Right Wing.” According to the Clinton White House and Janet Reno’s Justice Department, this was reason enough to allow a tank attack, crashing through walls and spraying large doses of toxic tear gas at kids.
When the FBI finally brought an end to the standoff in Waco, more than 20 children had died in a flaming murder-suicidal tragedy. But the Branch Davidians had been demonized by the White House and the media so effectively that many Americans seemed confused and didn’t know whether to cheer or cry about the loss of innocent life. The standoff was over; the immediate threat was removed, but a new so-called major threat to our nation had been revealed:
Angry white men, who were part of a “Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.”
Meanwhile, a terrorist attack of a real kind was underway, designed to take down the Twin Towers of New York’s World Trade Center. While Janet Reno opened sweeping investigations designed to identify and arrest a vast network of Christians engaged in a conspiracy to commit violent acts at abortion clinics – a network that never existed – al Qaeda operatives in Somalia killed 17 of our U.S. soldiers. Did Bill Clinton know this was the handiwork of Osama bin Laden? If he knew, he never let on.
Two years after Waco, two young men, apparently seriously demented but not aligned with any political party anyone knows of, blew up a federal office building in Oklahoma City. Although there are a growing number of individuals who claim that Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols acted in concert with individuals described as “Middle Easterners” we were told that the bombing was all about “Angry White Men” aligned with others in this country loosely described as “the Militia.”
As FBI agents fanned out to discover new pockets of religious fanatics, abortion clinic protesters and old men wearing flannel shirts with red suspenders who were oddly intent on protecting the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, Osama bin Laden, a real terrorist, moved his pawns into place, ready to inflict catastrophic damage.
An incompetent and dishonest Clinton, distracted by young interns, a wrathful wife and determined political opponents, failed to recognize the scope of danger bin Laden posed to our national security, leaving us vulnerable to even more devastating attacks. Clinton remained distracted, mired in his own muck, as Saddam Hussein chased our inspectors out of Iraq.
Now it appears that we’ll pick up the Iraq “tab” as well, and it will be paid for with more American blood. Behold the Clinton legacy – it is truly terrible.
People say the Clintons were “so smart,” but decent, smart people don’t demonize others as “terrorists” simply because they want to maintain power and privilege. They don’t want it, or need it, that badly. Only dishonest and dull-witted political hacks fear “the loyal opposition.”