After the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, the Left moved quickly to
use it as an excuse to enact draconian federal gun control.
Fortunately, saner heads prevailed by showing that no new gun control
laws would have been the slightest deterrent to that tragedy.
In the wake of the World Trade Center disaster, we certainly need
defensive measures to prevent another occurrence and to ensure the
safety of air travel, as well as the offensive measures already
initiated by President Bush. But confiscating pocket knives and sewing
scissors from little old ladies will do nothing to fill the now-empty
planes with confident passengers.
The threat of terrorism comes from an identifiable group of alien
males, between the ages of 20 and 35, whom our government has willfully
or negligently allowed to live and travel in the United States. Yet,
in the thousands of print articles and television and radio segments
that have recorded the events of 9/11 and their aftermath, one has to
search with a microscope to find any mention of the government's
culpability in regard to immigration and visa practices.
Since the 19 hijackers are all dead, there is no national security
reason that can justify withholding information about them from the
American public. We want the answers to so many questions.
Who were the immigration officials who let them into our country
and under what pretenses? What did the hijackers say on their visa
applications and airport arrival cards, and who okayed those documents
as legally filled out and signed?
What was the hijackers' previous employment and country of
emigration? Who were their U.S. guarantors of employment after arrival
in the United States?
Who is responsible for failing to keep track of them in this
country and failing to expel them when their visas expired? Most if
not all of the hijackers were illegally in this country because their
visas had expired.
It's time that the American people wake up to how the Left has
practically deified such concepts as "multiculturalism," "tolerance,"
"diversity," "political correctness," and "melting pot," while
demonizing such concepts as "profiling" and "conspiracy." All cultures
are not equally deserving of respect, we should be highly restrictive
about who we allow into our country, it was an identifiable group that
perpetrated the 9/11 atrocity, aliens are not entitled to the same
rights as citizens, and it certainly had to be a criminal conspiracy to
hijack four planes simultaneously.
We cannot tolerate new security measures that treat citizens and
aliens alike, such as a national I.D. card. Any new legislation must
make that clear distinction because American citizens are not willing
to live in a police state.
As one example of government overreaching, the Justice Department
has just asked Congress to permanently amend FERPA (Family Educational
Rights and Privacy Act) to authorize the Departments of Justice and
Education to get student education records in order to assist in
investigating terrorism. For 27 years, FERPA has been a good and
respected guardian of student privacy rights in their school and
The only way such legislation could be tolerable is if it applies
only to aliens. Stopping terrorism does not require federal
bureaucrats to snoop through the academic records of law-abiding
students and graduates.
President Bush's announcement of a new Cabinet-level Office of
Homeland Security, with as yet undefined duties, is neither new nor
reassuring. In 1999, President Clinton's Deputy Secretary of Defense
John Hamre floated the idea of creating a Homelands Defense Command
under which a unit of U.S. troops, commanded by a four-star general,
would take charge in case of a terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
Discussion of such plans within the Clinton Administration
included an article in the Autumn 1997 "Parameters," the scholarly
publication of the Army War College. The article predicted that "the
growing prospect of terrorism in our own country . . . will almost
inevitably trigger an intervention by the military," and "legal
niceties or strict construction of prohibited conduct will be a minor
Clinton issued a Presidential Decision Directive to authorize
military intervention against terrorism on our own soil. Secretary of
Defense William Cohen said in an Army Times interview that "Terrorism
is escalating to the point that Americans soon may have to choose
between civil liberties and more intrusive means of protection."
The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 is supposed to protect us against
a President using the Army to enforce the law against civilians. Later
laws, however, have carved out a number of exceptions that authorize
the President, after proclaiming a state of emergency, to send active-
duty soldiers to respond to a crisis and serve under the direction of
the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Our limited experience with law enforcement by the U.S. military
is not reassuring. When U.S. Army tanks stormed the Branch Davidian
compound in Waco in 1993, scores of innocent people were killed.
As Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) stated last week, "We must not allow our
constitutional freedoms to become victims of these violent attacks. ...
We should first examine why the attacks occurred."