An illustrated history of terror attacks prior to 9/11
The invaluable Powerline provides an eye-opening database that lists the major terror attacks that occurred during the Clinton administration.
On January 25, 1993, Mir Aimal Kansi, a Pakistani, fired an AK-47 directly into traffic waiting to enter CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, which killed two CIA employees.
On February 26, 1993, Islamic terrorists attempt to bring down the World Trade Center towers by detonating truck bombs in the underground parking garage. The attack fails to topple the twin towers but kills six and injures over 1,000.
On March 12, 1993, a series of coordinated car bombings in Mumbai, India kill 257 and leave 1,400 wounded.
On July 18, 1994, the Jewish Community Center of Buenos Aires, Argentina is bombed, leaving 86 dead and 300 wounded. Hezbollah is blamed for the attack, presumably act as a proxy of Iran.
On July 19, 1994, Alas Chiricanas Flight 00901 was bombed over Panama. The flight killed 21 persons aboard (12 of Jewish descent) and an organization called Ansar Allah, or "Followers of God" claimed knowledge of the attack. Many sources believe that Hezbollah was the true culprit.
On July 26, 1994, the Israeli Embassy in London is bombed, which injures 20. The attack is blamed on Hezbollah.
On December 11, 1994, a bomb exploded aboard Philippines Air Flight 434, killing one. It turns out that Ramzi Yousef assembled a bomb in the lavatory, set the timer for four hours and secreted it under Seat 26K before deplaning at Cebu.
On December 24, 1994, in what could have been a preview of 9/11, Air France Flight 8969 is hijacked by Islamic terrorists who plan to crash the plane in Paris. The hijacking ended with few casualties as French law-enforcement takes control of the situation.
On January 6, 1995, a large-scale Islamist plot to bomb 11 U.S. airliners over the Pacific is dismantled when a laptop computer is fortuitously discovered in a Manila apartment by authorities after a fire. Ramzi Yousef and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed are named by Philippine security personnel as the instigators.
On June 14, 1995, a six day hostage crisis begins as Chechen Islamist rebels storm the Budyonnovsk police station, hospital, city hall, and other buildings. They take between 1,500 and 1,800 hostages including many women and children. 105 civilians and 25 Russian troops perish.
In the months of July through October of 1995, a series of bombings in France by Islamic terrorists kill eight and wound more than 100.
During the months of February and March, 1996, a succession of suicide bombings in Israel kill 60 and wound 284.
On June 25, 1996, the Khobar Towers are bombed by Hezbollah with Iranian backing. Nineteen U.S. servicemen perish and 372 are wounded.
On February 24, 1997, an armed man shoots at tourists on the Empire State Building observation deck. The gunman's note claims that the attack is punishment against the "enemies of Palestine."
On November 17, 1997, Islamist gunmen attack tourists in Luxor, Egypt and kill 62.
On Febuary 14, 1998, Islamic extremists set off bombs at an election rally in the Coimbatore, India, killing 60.
On August 7, 1998, Al Qaeda bombs the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Tanzania, killing 225 and wounding 4,000.
During September, 1998, Chechen rebels bomb a series of Russian apartment buildings, killing around 300.
In December, 1998, Jordanian security officials detect and prevent an attack on American and Israeli tourists, arresting 28 suspects that were reportedly part of the 2000 millenium attack plots.
On December 14, 1998, Ahmed Ressam is captured on the border between the U.S. and Canada. He later confessed to planning to bomb LAX airport as part of the 2000 millenium plots.
On December 24, 1998, Indian Airlines Flight 814 to Delhi, India is hijacked by Islamic terrorists and one passenger is murdered before negotiations end the crisis.
On August 8, 2000, a bomb explodes near Pushkin Square in Moscow, killing 11 and wounding nearly 100.
On August 17, 2000, bombs explode in a Riga, Latvia shopping center, wounding 35.
On October 12, 2000, Al Qaeda bombs the USS Cole, killing 17 U.S. sailors and wounding 40 near Aden, Yemen.
|Between 1993 and 2000, everyone who was paying any attention knew that the threat from Islamic terrorism was grave and getting worse. The catastrophic losses that occurred on Septimeber 11, 2001, could just as easily have happened in 1993, when the first plot to destroy the World Trade Center was carried off successfully, but the terrorists had miscalculated the effect of their explosives, or in 1995, when the plot to destroy eleven American airplanes in flight was thwarted by counter-intelligence work in the Philippines. What did the Clinton administration do in response to this grave threat? Essentially nothing. Worse, Clinton tried to sweep the problem under the rug, lest it disrupt the surface calm and prosperity for which he was eager to claim credit.|
And, astounding as it may sound, Bill Clinton used polls to determine his response to terrorist attacks. Byron York, writing in the National Review (2001 - hat tip: Betsy Newmark) relates this story:
|June 25, 1996, a powerful truck bomb exploded outside the Khobar Towers barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, tearing the front from the building, blasting a crater 35 feet deep, and killing 19 American soldiers. Hundreds more were injured. When news reached Washington, Presi dent Bill Clinton vowed to bring the killers to justice... As Clinton spoke, his top political strategist, Dick Morris, was hard at work conducting polls to gauge the public’s reaction to the bombing...|
"SAUDI BOMBING - recovered from Friday and looking great
Approve Clinton handling 73-20
Big gain from 63-20 on Friday
Security was adequate 52-40
It’s not Clinton’s fault 76-18"
None of these attacks -- or the thousands of others launched by Islamic extremists prior to 2003 -- can be blamed on a U.S. presence in Iraq.
The Democrats' talking points these day are that "Al Qaeda" is the enemy -- as if a laminated Al Qaeda card is necessary to be viewed as a terrorist. The fallacy of that assertion is illustrated by this list. Islamic extremism takes many forms and has many names. To view Bin Laden and Al Qaeda as the only authors who can harm American interests is a vapid and provably wrong position.
Put simply, since 9/11, Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan have been removed as launching points for large-scale terrorist attacks. Instead, terrorists are on their heels, suffering greatly as a coalition whittles away their ranks and destroys their will to fight. Ultimately, economic gentrification of the Middle East, using democratic governmental structures, is the only long-term solution that anyone has suggested.
Ignoring the problem will return us to the days of reaction -- not action. It is a losing strategy. And it is a strategy that will get a lot of innocent people killed.
Betsy Newmark: Bill Clinton's real record on fighting terrorism
Hugh Hewitt: The Path to 9/11, Part II
Michelle Malkin: The President's Address
Real Ugly American: The Path To 9/11 and the Left
RWH: Quick thoughts on Part II of the Path to 9/11
Photo credits: Photo of Riga Latvia, courtesy of Patricia Tourist Office Riga Latvia