Why Justice Will Not Prevail

by | Oct 23, 2000

At a memorial service for the sailors killed in the terrorist attack on the USS Cole, President Clinton declared, in the tone of intense emotional sincerity he is so practiced at faking, that “justice will prevail.” It was a cruel lie to tell to the sailors’ mourning families, because everything in Clinton’s past record — […]

At a memorial service for the sailors killed in the terrorist attack on the USS Cole, President Clinton declared, in the tone of intense emotional sincerity he is so practiced at faking, that “justice will prevail.” It was a cruel lie to tell to the sailors’ mourning families, because everything in Clinton’s past record — and in America’s foreign policy — tells us that justice will not prevail.

Did justice prevail in 1998, when Osama bin Laden orchestrated the bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania? Sure, we rounded up a few small fries from bin Laden’s gang and launched a few missiles at his training camp. But bin Laden himself is still safely ensconced in Afghanistan, still under the protection of the country’s radical Islamic rulers. Justice has not prevailed.

Did justice prevail in 1996, when terrorists bombed the Khobar Towers apartment building in Saudi Arabia, killing 19 U.S. Air Force servicemen? The evidence pointed to Iran, but the administration quietly quashed the investigation and simply did nothing. Justice did not prevail; it was not even attempted.

Did justice prevail over the past seven years, as Clinton rewarded a career of terrorism by elevating Yasser Arafat to leader of a would-be Palestinian state? Has justice prevailed in the past few weeks, as Arafat responded to Israeli concessions by initiating a war — only to be asked back to the negotiating table yet again? Justice has not prevailed; it has been turned on its head.

This is what made the attack on the USS Cole possible. Terrorist leaders — and the governments that harbor and support them — know that they are safe from retribution. They know that justice, for Clinton, is just a catchphrase.

It’s no wonder that our military’s morale is low and dropping lower. Our soldiers, sailors, and fliers are being murdered, and their commander in chief has no intention to bring the killers to justice — ensuring that our servicemen will be in even greater danger in the future.

The blame lies partly with Bill Clinton’s belief that words and symbols are more important than reality, so that public expressions of outrage and token bombings are a sufficient response to terrorism. But the betrayal is much deeper than that. America’s surrender in the face of terrorism is not merely the policy of one president. It is the status quo of our foreign policy establishment — and both candidates in this year’s election accept that status quo.

In their second debate, George W. Bush and Al Gore disagreed on many minor issues — but they both agreed that America’s foreign policy should be based on “humility.” Well, no one can claim that America hasn’t been humble in dealing with terrorism.

We refused to capture Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice. Why? To avoid upsetting Afghanistan and its Islamic allies. We dropped the investigation of the Khobar Towers bombing. Why? To improve relations with the bombing’s perpetrator, Iran. We refuse to hold Arafat accountable for his crimes of the past few weeks, much less the past 35 years. Why? To preserve the very “peace process” that put Arafat in power and gave him an army in the first place. We sent the USS Cole to Yemen’s crowded port, despite that country’s history of terrorist attacks on American targets. Why? To pursue better relations with Yemen’s government.

At every stage, our policy has been to sacrifice our interests, our security, our allies, and the lives of our troops — for the sake of appeasing every Third World demagogue and tin-pot dictator on the planet. The candidates warned that American “arrogance” would provoke the world’s hatred. But our humility is merely earning the world’s contempt.

The solution to America’s prostrate humility is precisely what Clinton promised, but will not deliver, to the families of the Cole sailors: justice. As a first step, we need to track down the perpetrators of these bombings and bring them in, dead or alive. But this would only be a start. We must assert our right to go to war, if necessary, against the governments who sponsor terrorism — including Syria, Iran and Afghanistan.

Most of all, we must have the moral self-confidence to assert our right to defend ourselves — and to declare that American interests and security are more important than any diplomatic process or UN resolution.

If President Clinton had done this seven years ago, he could have spared us his phony display of empathy for the Cole families — because their loved ones would still be alive today.

Robert Tracinski was a senior writer for the Ayn Rand Institute from 2000 to 2004. The Institute promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. Mr. Tracinski is editor and publisher of The Intellectual Activist and TIADaily, which offer daily news and analysis from a pro-reason, pro-individualist perspective. To receive a free 30-day trial of the TIA Daily and a FREE pdf issue of the Intellectual Activist please go to TIADaily.com and enter your email address.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

Have a comment?

Post your response in our Capitalism Community on X.

Related articles

Are the Democrats betraying Israel?

Are the Democrats betraying Israel?

Both Biden and his predecessor, President Barack Obama, promised that they had Israel’s back, but it now appears that they are painting a target on its back at a time of its greatest vulnerability.

No spam. Unsubscribe anytime.

Pin It on Pinterest