Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Nov. 28, 2001 /13 Kislev, 5762

Michael Ledeen

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

The Barbara Olson Bomb: Understanding the war -- SOMETIME in the past week, the U.S. Air Force dropped a 500-pound bomb with Barbara Olson's name on it on our enemies in Afghanistan. It couldn't happen to a more deserving lot, and we can all hope that there will be many more Barbara bombs in the years to come. After all, Santa Barbara protects bombers and firemen - in Italian, Santa Barbara means a big explosion - and both are deeply involved in this conflict.

If you want to understand why we are fighting this war, and how we became so vulnerable to our enemies, get yourself a copy of Barbara Olson's last book, The Final Days , just published by feisty Al Regnery. It's a delightful read, bursting with Barbara's passion for America and her contempt for the corrupt Clintons who did so much to weaken both our virtue and our awareness of our international mission.

It is eerie to listen to Barbara list all the terrorists pardoned by the Clintons, while they pillaged the White House and rescued Marc Rich from his status as badly wanted person. All those Puerto Rican killers-their group carried out 130 bombings between 1974 and 1983 - pardoned in time for Hillary's Senate run in New York. And of course those two wretched white girls, Susan "I rob banks with black people" Rosenberg, lionized by 60 Minutes and praised by Rep. Nadler of New York, and Linda Sue Evans, who conspired to bomb the Capitol in 1983.

To those who criticized him for the wholesale indulgences provided this striking array of terrorists, Clinton responded in his usual way: with a lie. For example, he blandly denied that any of the Puerto Rican terrorists had ever been convicted of "crimes involving the killing or maiming of any individual." They had actually killed and maimed several individuals. But Clinton couldn't be bothered with the truth, which was that these were dangerous people who should have stayed in prison. Not one of them had showed remorse, not one could reasonably have been considered rehabilitated for life in civil society.

Barbara knew better than most that lies have consequences, and presidential lying about the gravity of terrorism contributed to our oral and intellectual disarmament during the Clinton years. Yes, Clinton declared his "war against terrorism," and yes, every so often he ordered the launch of a cruise missile or two at a symbolic target in the Middle East, but now that we know what a serious antiterrorist war looks like, we can see the hollowness of Clinton's. He never devised a serious strategy to fight the terrorists because he didn't want to fight them. For Clinton, the entire issue was purely political, and a serious fight would have forced him to make real commitments and thereby limit his political options.

Indeed, reading Barbara's book helps understand the greatest mystery of Clinton's sham war against terrorism, namely his refusal to accept the Sudanese offer to deliver Osama bin Laden to us. Clinton's aides and apologists have put themselves through some fascinating mental contortion to explain away this incredible blunder - indeed it verges on madness - but I think Barbara's got it right: It wasn't politically attractive. If we had arrested bin Laden, it would have focused public attention on the terrorist issue, on which the Clinton administration had been very weak. Clinton reckoned that the arrest wouldn't get him many points with the public, but the ensuing debate and show trial might have damaged him. So bin Laden escaped our clutches, and went on to kill thousands of Americans, including Barbara Olson.

Paradoxically, the Clintons were feeble towards our enemies but very dangerous to the American people and the constitutional order. Contemptuous of the legislative process, especially once the Republicans took control of both houses of Congress, Clinton enacted a long series of executive orders, thereby prompting an alarmingly self-contented remark from one of his top aides, Paul Begala: "Stroke of the pen, law of the land; kind of cool."

Very cool, if you're unwilling to work the system, fight for your principles, and submit to the will of elected representatives. Very uncool for the long-term survival of the checks and balances upon which our freedom depends.

Better than any other observer of the Clintons, Barbara understood that it was all about self-indulgence, and it all rested on their unwavering conviction that they were better than the rest of us, and thus the rules of American society did not properly apply to them. Thus the looting of the White House for their personal use. Thus the ransacking of Air Force One for souvenirs for themselves and their buddies. Thus the pardons for friends of friends, and friends of the family, especially when Hillary's brother stood to make hundreds of thousands of dollars from the pardon of a drug dealer, or when, as in the celebrated Marc Rich/Pinky Green pardon, grace was bestowed on a relative of one of the Clintons' biggest contributors.

It is an outrage that Barbara has been taken from us while the Clintons go about their nefarious business largely undisturbed. But we can console ourselves with the knowledge that our nation's highest-ranking attorney is Barbara's widower Ted. For we know that Ted, more than any other high official of this historic administration, will ceaselessly fight for the highest national standards, tirelessly pursue of the rule of righteous law, and passionately combat the moral rot that the Clintons spread throughout the government.

Those of us who knew her well, and loved her deeply, understand that we are called to continue her fight. It is altogether right that our bombs bear her name, and that our enemies should feel her wrath, for she is our Joan of Arc, and she will continue to inspire our just cause in many battles and for many years still to come.

JWR contributor Michael Ledeen is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of Tocqueville on American Character . Comment by clicking here.


11/13/01: How We're Doing: The Angleton Files, IV
11/06/01: A great revolutionary war is coming
10/25/01: How to talk to a terrorist
10/23/01: Creative Reporting: Learning to appreciate press briefings
10/19/01: Not the Emmys: A Beltway award presentation
10/15/01: Rediscovering American character
10/11/01: Somehow, I've missed Arafat's praise of the first stage of our war on terrorism
10/04/01: What do we not know?
09/28/01: Machiavelli On Our War: Some advice for our leaders
09/25/01: No Room for the U.N.: Keeping Annan & co. out of the picture
09/21/01: Creative destruction
09/14/01: Who Killed Barbara Olson?
08/22/01: How Israel will win this war
08/15/01: Bracing for war
08/09/01: More Dithering Democrats
08/02/01: Delirious Dems
07/31/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit, cont'd
07/19/01: Be careful what you wish for
07/17/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit
07/05/01: Let Slobo Go
05/30/01: Anybody out there afraid of the Republicans?
05/09/01: The bad guys to the rescue
05/07/01: Bye-bye, Blumenthal
04/20/01: Handling China
04/11/01: EXAM TIME!
04/05/01: Chinese over-water torture
03/27/01: Fighting AIDS in Africa is a losing proposition
03/14/01: Big Bird, Oscar, and other threats
03/09/01: Time for a good, old-fashioned purge
03/06/01: Powell’s great (mis)adventure
02/26/01: The Clinton Sopranos
02/20/01: Unity Schmoonity: Sharon is defying the will of the people
01/30/01: The Rest of the Rich Story
01/22/01: Ashcroft the Jew
01/11/01: A fitting close to the Clinton years
12/26/00: Continuing Clinton's shameful legacy
12/21/00: Clinton’s gift for Bush

© 2001, Michael Ledeen