President Bush's commencement speech at the Coast Guard Academy graduation Wednesday revealed a litany of planned terrorist attacks on the US that have been intercepted and defused before they could be executed.
Information in the speech included some that is newly declassified that gave a broad and sobering view of the intensity of ongoing Al Qaeda efforts to again breach the defenses of the United States and again unleash horror on our citizens. These include bombings, repeated use of aircraft to attack buildings and people, and efforts to poison the water supplies of our major cities.
All were real plans, all were progressing to a horrible conclusion, all were intercepted and defused by our intelligence services, the FBI, police and military. So far.
I was invited to attend the ceremonies as a member of the Connecticut GOP delegation that welcomed the president to our state, and listened closely to his account of the ongoing, behind-the-scenes efforts to keep the terrorists at bay while our troops are fighting them head-on elsewhere.
While I was at the academy, family members were watching the president on the Internet, and the reaction when I returned home was even more dramatic than what I observed on the scene. "We were given a warning," was the succinct and all-to-accurate assessment of his comments.
The huge audience at the academy, several thousand, was warmly receptive to the speech and especially the president's acknowledgement of the major role the Coast Guard plays in our nation's defense.
But I can't help wonder just how far the impact of that speech will extend. A common expression regarding the War on Terror is "The military is at war, America is at the mall."
Unfortunately this seems to be all too true, as a large percentage of our population either has concluded based on no information or false information that we have successfully thwarted the terrorist threat permanently, or that if we up and leave Iraq now there will be no further repercussions to our country.
I believe many Americans have been lulled into this false sense of security because we have been so successful on one hand and the media has been remiss in not reporting either the extent of our successes or the extent of the continued efforts by the terrorists on the other. For instance, it only recently has been reported that the anticipated, full-scale Spring Offensive by Taliban/Al Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan has failed to materialize.
Why? Well because American and NATO troops have been killing terrorists, and especially their field grade commanders there with enormous success. But we don't hear too much about Taliban and Al Qaeda failures, all we hear is how many American or coalition troops have died.
As an example, according to a CNN website, casualties in Afghanistan since the 9-11 attacks are "575 coalition deaths -- 386 Americans, one Australian, 55 Britons, 54 Canadians, one Czech, three Danes, six Dutch, nine French, 21 Germans, nine Italians, one Norwegian, one Portuguese, four Romanians, one South Korean, 20 Spaniards, two Swedes - in the war on terror as of May 21, 2007." I should point out that although these numbers are supposed to be combat casualties in the Afghan theater it turns out the total includes deaths due to accidents, and even some in other areas including Kuwait and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Nonetheless, according to some reports, coalition forces have killed more than 1,000 terrorists in Afghanistan this year, which has put a major crimp in the Taliban's plans to launch any kind of major offensive.
But as American and coalition troops are fighting these maniacs, many Americans are getting really annoyed that they have to be continually reminded of this pesky War on Terror. Presidential candidates don't even want to call it what it is, a War on Terror. They want to come up with some inane, sound-bite, bumper sticker slogan that makes it appear to be different and less dangerous than what it is.
Unfortunately, some Americans in the most unlikely of places are buying into this nonsense. While I was inside the Coast Guard Academy a group of protesters, sponsored by the pro-communist coalition A.N.S.W.E.R, was outside on one corner of the street leading directly to the main gate, touting the downfall of capitalism, sporting terrorist-chic clothing, and dragging American flags in the dirt.
Fortunately, a similar-sized crowd of veterans, organized by Connecticut Gathering of Eagles liaison and former Marine James Bancroft, was on the other side of the street offering an opposing viewpoint. News reports said there were more pro-communist, pro-terrorist supporters than veterans, but Bancroft obviously was far better prepared tactically and had obtained permits that enabled the veterans to extend from the corner of the street more than a hundred yards right to the main gate.
Carloads of families and friends coming in to attend the ceremonies had a brief encounter with the pro-communists, but an extended encounter with the veterans. Good move on Bancroft's part. After the ceremonies had ended, the veterans, as usual, cleaned up after themselves, while the A.N.S.W.E.R. protesters left graffiti including defacing the main sign at the entrance to the academy.
Between the graffiti, the high school kids in terrorist headgear and masks, which really upset the platoons of police on the scene, and the abuse of the American flag, it is hard to find any validity to their viewpoints. The support for communist criminals like Che Guevera and speeches calling for an end to capitalism give a true indication of the intent of the alleged "anti-war, anti-Bush" protesters.
Yet, a person sitting near me claimed that the people outside the gate were well meaning, mainstream Americans who were legitimately exercising their right to free speech. I see. I guess wearing clothing that mimics and celebrates terrorist organizations who routinely murder, torture and rape civilians as a military tactic, carrying signs celebrating communist criminals, and dragging upside down American flags in the dirt are appropriate displays of the "New Patriotism." I must have missed the memo on that.
I'm glad Jim Bancroft, the American Legion Riders and hundreds of other veterans and their supporters lined the street into the academy. If the rag tag, anti-American anti-democracy forces on the other side are indicative of some people's definition of 'mainstream' America, it is clear that another point of view is necessary.
President Bush opened up to America on Wednesday and those who were listening received a rare and while disturbing, nonetheless welcome insight into the information he sees every single day. It would be good for our country if more Americans look up his speech on the Internet and take the time to study what was revealed.
While I appreciate the opportunity to learn more about the daily status of the war against us, one thing in the president's speech that I found technically correct still needs comment. He said, accurately, that one big difference between the War on Terror and the Vietnam War is that back then we were fighting an enemy that could not, and did not intend to invade the US.
Now, we are fighting an enemy that already has shown it intends to and can attack us in our own homes.
Technically that is correct. North Vietnam couldn't invade us here. But North Vietnam was only one piece of the encroaching communism puzzle. I would invite the president's speech writers to take a map of the world as it existed prior to 1917, and then decade by decade from 1917 until 1965 color in all the countries that had fallen to communist domination in red.
Then make a bar graph of the percentage of the world population that was also enslaved by the communists, decade by decade, with a sidebar also showing the continents where communism was making inroads. What you will have is a very visible and very dramatic display of just how far and how fast communism was progressing in its drive to take over the world.
North Vietnam may not have been able to invade the US. But communism, like Islamo-fascism, was driven not by one country, but by ideologues, who respected neither national boundaries, nor international law. Communism was on its way and we now know that even the US had been infiltrated, in our media, our state department, our universities, and our Congress.
Whether North Vietnamese agents would have launched the eventual attack on us is not relevant. What is relevant is that an attack was coming, sooner or later, and the US government decided back then to make a stand in Vietnam before we had to make a stand in New York City.
As a result of having to divert enormous percentages of their resources to Vietnam for more than a decade, the seeds were sown for the ultimate bankruptcy of the Soviet Union, which was the outcome we had wanted.
What the downfall of the Soviet Union showed was that communism was beatable, if we stayed strong and united in our determination to fight it. Many Americans from the 1930s through the 1970s tried to portray communism as a benign economic system that actually was far better than capitalism, much as a speaker outside the Coast Guard Academy claimed on Wednesday.
The truth was that communism was not much different than the terrorism we are facing today, and in practice it was a repressive, brutal governmental system that merely replaced the old forms of government with a new, more controlling, more deadly form.
It would be hard to find a more terrible form of government than communism, but I believe the terrorist have found it. One significant difference between the communists and the terrorists is that the communists didn't believe in any deity, thus they didn't willingly go out on the battlefield to commit suicide.
There were some enemy suicide squads in Vietnam, but no more or less than you will find in any military at war.
But the Islamo-fascists believe in a deity that rewards slaughter, and promises an unbelievably unlikely paradise to its adherents, especially if they blow themselves up to further the cause.
It will be hard to defeat the terrorists, just like it was hard to defeat the communists in the Cold War. But it can be done, if America stays focused, united and aware.
President Bush did his part at the Coast Guard Academy. He told America the truth, he opened up the parts of the files that he could and gave us a glimpse of what he sees every day.
The issue in this case is not President Bush. The issue is just how many people still think A.N.S.W.E.R. represents mainstream America, and whether the rest of the population will wake up and pay attention, or just head off to the mall.
Thursday, May 24, 2007