President Obama looked grim, firm, and resolute in the sunlit Rose Garden yesterday. He certainly looked presidential. He sternly told the murderers of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens to "make no mistake," justice will be done.
The president needs to read this year-old column by CNSNews.com foreign editor Patrick Goodenough, who reported with admirable restraint the State Department's own history of how Yasser Arafat ordered the murder of U.S. Ambassador to Sudan Cleo Noel, Chief of Mission George Moore, and Belgian Charge d'Affaires Guy Eid in 1973. Belgium is a NATO ally. The State Department documents sourced by Goodenough make clear that official Washington did not doubt that Arafat had personally ordered his terrorists to "finish them off."
All who watch as this current administration makes empty threats and emptier promises should read Goodenough's column. We are constantly told that these acts of terrorism against sovereign U.S. territory - for that is what our embassies and consulates are - are isolated incidents. We are assured that the violent, militant few do not represent the vast mass of the peoples of those countries. Why, then, doesn't the vast mass ever rise up and impose the rule of law by force, if necessary.
These countries are young democracies, we are constantly soothed. Well, the United States was a young democracy in 1786 when Massachusetts militia had to confront rebels led by one Daniel Shays. Shays' Rebellion was put down with a minimal use of force, but firmly put down. Gen. Benjamin Lincoln, who just five years earlier had received the British surrender at Yorktown, led the effort to restore law to the Commonwealth.
A few years later, in 1794, this young democracy confronted the Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania. President George Washington personally reviewed the troops before they went into the field to vindicate the new Constitution and reestablish domestic tranquility.
This is how young democracies behave if they want to remain democracies.
We see no indication that this administration will actually bring anyone to justice. When the new Libyan government - the one we helped put in power - refused to hand over convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, did we threaten to bring him to justice? He had spent comfortable years in a Scottish prison for killing hundreds aboard Pan Am 103 in 1988. The Scots unconscionably let him go free, and Libya's new "democratic" government stiff-armed all U.S. requests to hand him over.
Yasser Arafat, of course, killed more Americans than al-Megrahi did. He invented airline hijacking for terror purposes. We were told, nonetheless, that he had changed his spots. He was permitted to address the UN General Assembly in 1974. By 1989, his terrorist PLO had been re-branded as the Palestinian Authority and welcomed as a partner in the peace process. The United States, under both Republican and Democratic administrations, showered this PLO/PA with billions in foreign aid. Yasser Arafat's followers on the West Bank celebrated 9/11 by dancing in the streets and giving candy to their children as the Twin Towers collapsed in Manhattan.
American taxpayers paid for that candy.
When will we see a turn to realism about the Islamist threat we face? It's not just in the Middle East. We see how videos produced here can inflame them there. A World Wide Web is enough to incite Middle East mobs to murder.
Will we continue to be a free people in our own country if we have to check everything we say and write in a way to make sure it does not offend the always-enraged "Street" in the Middle East?
Giving billions of tax dollars to these faithless friends has not helped. Those who pocket the money are viewed, not without reason, as kept men of the Americans. The sight of American flags being burned in the streets is bad enough. But public opinion polls in these countries we have aided show America is hated more virulently than ever before.
We never brought Yasser Arafat to justice. Bill Clinton brought him, instead, to the South Lawn of the White House. Official Washington honored him as a Nobel Peace Prize recipient. He was invited to address the National Prayer Breakfast. We shook hands. We made nice. And Arafat made off with our money.