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INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY
Today's Democrats are nothing like Presidents Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy, who with courage and decisive action kept on top of their jobs and aggressively confronted one national defense crisis after another.
Jimmy Carter, elected during the Cold War with the Soviet Union, and (1) believing Americans had an inordinate fear of communism, (2) lifted U.S. citizens' travel bans to Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia and (3) pardoned draft evaders.
President Carter (4) also stopped B-1 bomber production, (5) gave away our strategically located Panama Canal and (6) made human rights the central focus of his foreign policy.
That led Carter, a Democrat, (7) to make a monumental miscalculation and withdraw U.S. support for our long-standing Mideast military ally, the Shah of Iran. (8) Carter simply didn't like the Shah's alleged mistreatment of imprisoned Soviet spies.
The Soviets, (9) with close military ties to Iraq, a 1,500-mile border with Iran and eyes on Afghanistan, aggressively tried to encircle, infiltrate, subvert and overthrow Iran's government for its oil deposits and warm-water ports several times after Russian troops attempted to stay there at the end of WWII. These were all communist threats to Iran that Carter never understood.
Carter (10) thought Ayatollah Khomeini, a Muslim exile in Paris, would make a fairer Iranian leader than the Shah because he was a religious man. (11) With U.S. support withdrawn, the Shah was overthrown, and (12) the ayatollah returned and promptly proclaimed Iran an Islamic nation. (13) Executions followed. Palestinian hit men were hired to secretly eliminate the opposition so the religious mullahs couldn't be blamed.
Iran's ayatollah (14) then introduces the idea of suicide bombers to the Palestine Liberation Organization and paid $35,000 to PLO families whose young people were brainwashed to attack and kill as many Israeli citizens as possible by blowing themselves up. This inhumane menace has grown unchallenged.
The ayatollah (15) next created and financed with Iran's oil wealth Hezbollah, a terrorist organization that later bombed our barracks in Beirut, killing 241 Marines and sailors. With Iran's encouragement this summer, (16) Hezbollah attacked Israel and started a war that damaged Lebanon and (17) diverted the world's attention from Iran's nuclear bomb program.
In November 1979, Iranians, including (18) Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, their current puppet president who was elected in an unfree, rigged election in which opponents were intimidated into not running, (19) stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and held 52 U.S. personnel hostage for 444 days.
Carter, after nearly six months, (20) belatedly attempted a poorly executed rescue with only six Navy helicopters (three were lost or disabled in sandstorms) and Air Force planes with Delta Force commandos. The mission was aborted, but foul-ups on the ground resulted in a loss of eight aircraft, five airman and three Marines. The bungled plan was never put down on paper for the Joint Chiefs to evaluate. There were practice sessions, but no full dress rehearsal, and pilots weren't allowed to meet with their weather forecasters because someone in authority worried about security.
America (21) can thank the well-meaning but naive and inexperienced Democrat, Jimmy Carter, for a foreign policy that lost a strong military ally, Iran, and (22) put the U.S. at odds with a gangster regime that was determined to build nuclear bombs to wipe Israel off the map and threaten the U.S. and other nations. Iran also has a working relationship with al-Qaida, which also wants nukes. Care to connect the dots?
Shortly after a meeting at which Carter kissed Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev on each cheek, (23) the USSR invaded Afghanistan. Carter the appeaser was shocked. "I can't believe the Russians lied to me," he said.
During the Carter Democrat period, (24) communism was on a rampage worldwide. In an unrestrained country-capturing spree, communists took over (25) Ethiopia, (26) South Yemen ( (27) located at the mouth of the Red Sea where they could block Mideast oil shipments and access to the Suez Canal), (28) Afghanistan, (29) Angola, (30) Cambodia, (31) Mozambique, (32) Grenada and ( 33) Nicaragua.
Compared to the pre-Vietnam War defense budget in 1964, Carter requested in fiscal 1982's defense budget (34) a 45% reduction in fighter aircraft, (35) a 75% reduction in ships, (36) an 83% reduction in attack submarines and (37) a 90% reduction in helicopters.
The Soviets for years (38) consistently spent 15% of their GDP on defense; (39) in 1980 we spent under 5%. As a percentage of our government's spending, defense was lower than before Pearl Harbor. No wonder a Republican, Ronald Reagan, had to vastly increase defense spending to help us win the 45-year-old Cold War and relegate the USSR to the ash heap of history - an astounding feat no one (except Reagan) believed possible.
In addition to a communist enemy rapidly expanding its territorial conquests, Reagan (40) inherited from Democratic management a 12% inflation rate (highest in 34 years), (41) 21% interest rates (highest since Abraham Lincoln was president), (42) a depleted military and (43) a serious energy crisis.
For eight years (44) congressional Democrats ridiculed and fought with Reagan and were on the wrong side of nearly all his defense and economic policies. They said he wasn't bright - an "amiable dunce," as party elder Clark Clifford (45) put it. They maintained his tax cuts wouldn't work, (46) that he insulted the Soviets by labeling them the "Evil Empire" (47) and that he was going to start World War III by putting missiles in West Germany to counter new Soviet SS-20 nuclear missiles installed in East Germany. (48) John Kerry wanted a nuclear freeze that would guarantee the Soviets overwhelming tactical nuclear superiority in Europe. (49) Kerry seemed to constantly advise retreating, giving up and handing our enemies what they wanted - a recipe for us to lose every war.
Democrats waffled (50) on Reagan's request for support of Contras who were fighting to stay alive and take Nicaragua back from Daniel Ortega's communist Sandinistas. Each month, the Soviets poured $50 million worth of Russian tanks, anti-aircraft weapons, Hind attack helicopters and munitions into that central American country.
Democratic leaders (51) all dismissed as a ridiculous pipe dream Reagan's plan for the U.S. to develop a missile that could shoot down incoming enemy missiles. (52) Showing no vision, Democrats mockingly called it Star Wars.
Democratic politicians (53) were proved wrong on virtually every vital Reagan policy. (54) His tax cuts set off a huge seven-year economic boom that created 20 million new jobs. (55) Interest rates tumbled from 21% to 7 1/2%. (56) Inflation nose-dived from 12% to 3%. And (57) oil prices collapsed when - contrary to warnings from Democrats - he removed price controls on natural gas.
Reagan's motto was "Peace through Strength," (58) not peace through weakness and accommodation. With his steadfast determination and perseverance, the communists were kicked out of Grenada and defeated in Nicaragua, Ethiopia and Afghanistan. And for the first time in history Soviet expansion ended.
Reagan (59) never quit exerting pressure on the Soviets. In Berlin, he demanded that Gorbachev "tear down this wall," and in time the Berlin Wall fell. In the end the communist Soviet Union dissolved. The Reagan-Bush administration had won the Cold War.
Years later, (60) a group of Russian generals were asked about the one key that led to the collapse of the USSR. They were unanimous in their response: "Star Wars." Gorbachev feared it would render the Soviets' nuclear missiles obsolete for an overwhelming first strike, and they could not afford to build the hundreds more that would be needed or hope to match America's great technical ability. (61) So Gorbachev threw in the towel after Reagan held firm at Reykjavik and refused to stop SDI research. Years later (62) Gorbachev said he didn't think it could have ever happened if Reagan hadn't been there.
In July 2001, (63) the U.S. military used an SDI missile launched thousands of miles away and flying at near bullet speed to blow a test missile out of the sky. (64) Democrats from Dukakis to Gore to Kerry all said this would be impossible and that missile defense would never work. They were all wrong. Reagan was right.
The current terrorist threat (65) to U.S. national security did not begin on 9/11, but in the early 1990s. Bill Clinton was elected November 1992. (66) The first bombing of our World Trade Center on Feb. 26, 1993, killed six people and injured 1,000. Terrorists hoped to kill 250,000. (67) Some of the apprehended terrorists were trained in bomb making at the Khalden terrorist camp in Afghanistan.
October 1993. (68) A Somali warlord, with help from weapons and top trainers sent by al-Qaida, shot down two U.S. Blackhawk helicopters. Eighteen Americans were killed and 73 wounded. Clinton, under pressure from a Democratic Congress, ordered retreat and withdrawal of all U.S. forces. Said Osama bin Laden: "They planned for a long struggle, but the U.S. rushed out in shame."
January 1995. (69) Philippine police discovered Ramzi Yousef, mastermind of the World Trade Center bombing, had a plan to blow up 12 American airliners over the ocean and fly a plane into CIA headquarters. They informed Clinton's government of the plot.
Bin Laden (70) tried to buy weapons-grade uranium to develop a weapon that would kill on a mass basis - like Hiroshima. (71) In November 1995, a car bomb exploded at a Saudi-U.S. joint facility in Riyadh, killing five Americans.
June 1996. (72) Khobar Towers, which housed U.S. Air Force personnel in Saudi Arabia, was blown up by Saudi Hezbollahs with help from Iran and some al-Qaida involvement. Nineteen Americans were killed and 372 wounded.
July-August 1996. (73) The U.S. received from senior level al-Qaida defectors intelligence on the creation, character, direction and intentions of al-Qaida.
February 1998. (74) Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri issued a fatwa declaring "war on America" and making the murder of any American anywhere on earth the "individual duty" of every Muslim.
May 29, 1998. Finally, (75) after a long series of deadly bombings carried out since 1992, and bin Laden calls to attack the U.S., Clinton's CIA created a plan to raid and capture the al-Qaida leader at his Tarnak Farms compound in Afghanistan. After months of planning, consultations with senior officials in other departments and numerous full rehearsals that went well, the raid was called off at the last moment by CIA Director George Tenet and others worried about possible collateral damage and second-guessing and recrimination if bin Laden didn't survive.
Aug. 7, 1998. (76) Al-Qaida blew up U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, five minutes apart, killing 200, injuring 5,000.
Now (77) Clinton's team, wanting to take stronger action, decided to fire Tomahawk missiles at bin Laden's training camps as well as a Sudan aspirin factory. (78) But the administration gave up to 48 hours notice to certain people, including the chief of staff of Pakistan's army, so India wouldn't think the missiles were aimed at them. Somehow forewarned, bin Laden and his terrorist leaders all left - no terrorists were killed, but U.S. ineffectiveness was on full display.
Dec. 20, 1998. (79) Intelligence knew bin Laden would be at the Haii house in Kandahar but again passed up the opportunity due to potential collateral damage and the risk of failure. (80) Clinton approved a plan by his national security adviser, Sandy Berger, to use tribals to capture bin Laden. But nothing happened.
Next, (81) the Pentagon created a plan to use an HC 130 gunship, a more precise method, against bin Laden's headquarters, but the plan was later shelved. Lt. Gen. William Boykin, deputy undersecretary of defense, told the 9/11 Commission "opportunities were missed due to an unwillingness to take risks and a lack of vision and understanding."
Feb. 10, 1999. (82) The CIA knew bin Laden would be at a desert hunting camp the next morning, the 11th. But the military failed to act because an official airplane of the United Arab Emirates was there and it was feared an Emirate prince or official might be killed.
May 1999. (83) Detailed reports from several sources let the CIA know that bin Laden would be in Kandahar for five days. Everyone agreed it was the best chance to get bin Laden. But word came to stand down. It was believed Tenet and Clinton were again concerned about civilian collateral damage. A key project chief angrily said three opportunities were missed in 36 hours. October 2000, (84) the USS Cole was bombed, killing 17 U.S. sailors. No action was taken due to concerns expressed by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
Americans must learn from history and costly mistakes. Sadly, (85) Democrat Jimmy Carter, a Southern peanut farmer, became our Neville Chamberlain, creating the specific conditions that have brought us the three greatest threats to our national security today: 1) (86) Iran's nuke-bound terrorists; 2) (87) al-Qaida and other terrorists; and 3) (88) North Korea and its nuclear weapons.
Carter's (89) inability to deal with the Soviet communists emboldened them to invade Afghanistan. A 23-year-old bin Laden also was drawn there to recruit young Muslim fighters and build a network to raise money for the anti-Soviet jihad that later became al-Qaida.
Years later, (90) civilian Carter took it on himself to go to North Korea and negotiate a peace agreement that would stop that communist country from developing nuclear weapons. He then convinced Clinton and Albright to go along with it. (91) The signed piece of paper proved worthless, as the Koreans easily deceived Democrats and used our money, incentives and technical equipment to build nuclear bombs and increase the threat we face today.
The Clinton administration (92) had at least 10 chances to get bin Laden, but it repeatedly could not make the decision to act. There were too many people and departments involved, too much confusion and no strong leader to make the tough decisions to act. They were too timid and concerned about repercussions if they failed.
Contrast this inability to take action with Harry Truman's ability to make sound decisions and get results on complex defense issues - from dropping the bomb to end WWII to helping Iran and Turkey stave off the Soviets, from defending Greece from communist takeover following WWII to confronting and beating the Soviet's Berlin blockade with a 14-month night-and-day Berlin airlift, from taking on the North Koreans to ultimately firing the popular Gen. Douglas MacArthur for insubordination.
Further Democratic incompetence in matters of defense emerged from Clinton's attorney general, Janet Reno, and her deputy, Jamie Gorelick. (93) They built a legal barrier that in effect prevented the CIA from sharing intelligence with the FBI before 9/11.
Democrats in the Clinton administration (94) allowed the selling of important defense technology and secrets to the Chinese, who are now engaged in a massive military buildup.
Estimates are that (95) 10,000 to 20,000 terrorists were trained in bin Laden's many camps in the years before 9/11.
Oil is also vital for our national defense. In 1952 we produced 93% of the oil we consumed. Now we depend on the Mideast and others for 66%. Democrats have been largely responsible for this because they have blocked all efforts to drill in Alaska and certain offshore areas estimated to contain 10 billion to 20 billion barrels of crude.
Democrats (96) in Congress condemn current efforts to intercept terrorist phone calls, to mine data to ferret out future attacks against us, and to trace the movement of terrorist money through banks. All the while they want special treatment for enemy prisoners captured on the battlefield. This helps the enemy and undermines our troops in the field.
We're in a war. Something always goes wrong in a war, and our military leaders have made mistakes in Iraq. But quitting and leaving would amount to defeat for the U.S. in the global war on terrorism and create chaos. Quitters never win.
Here's the problem: America needs two strong, sound political parties. As far as domestic policy is concerned, it really doesn't make much difference if Democrats or Republicans are in power. Ours is a free, entrepreneurial society where anyone can do anything he or she wants if they have a positive attitude and the desire to work, learn and achieve. Ambitious people come from all over the world to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity. This is one reason our economy is so resilient, continually bouncing back from periodic setbacks, driven by new inventions and achievements.
However, (97) when it comes to which party has proved more capable in acting to defend and protect Americans from foreign enemies, there is only one choice. From Johnson to Carter to Clinton, virtually all the defense policies and decisions made by Democratic administrations have been unsuccessful. And in many cases, they have unintentionally but materially increased the danger to our national security and the safety of all Americans.