Everyone Failed to Fight Terrorism

(New Republic) Martin Peretz - The obvious truth behind the current 9/11 Commission hearings is that before 9/11, both the Clinton and Bush administrations were unable or unwilling to mobilize the country against the growing terrorism threat. Our inherited models of military conflict do not encompass transnational terrorism. The Viet Cong did not plant bombs in U.S. cities. The first polity to become acutely conscious of international terrorism was Israel. High-profile, cross-border Palestinian terrorism began at the Munich Olympics in 1972, the beginning of dozens of such incidents. As a consequence, Zionists, and Israel's friends more generally, grasped earlier than others that a new and ugly presence had burst on the world scene. The murder of random civilians, a reversal of the progress made in the rules of war after 1945, seemed primitive. But the terrorism employed by the Palestinian movement relied on quite sophisticated economic and political underpinnings. The Palestinians had the support and assistance of governments - and not just Arab governments - and the help of a wide array of extremist movements.

2004-04-05 00:00:00

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