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The Wakeup Call

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  • The Wakeup Call

    America got its long-awaited, long-anticipated and long-dreaded wakeup call.

    The terror war came home in a big way Tuesday, Sept. 11.

    Everything has changed. Nothing will be the same, again.

    Just look at the impact the slaughter and destruction had on George W. Bush and Colin Powell, for instance.

    For months, as Israel has faced, on a daily basis, similar terror incidents carried out by people living within its very borders, Bush and Powell have told the Israelis over and over again: "Show restraint. Negotiate. Don't use excessive force. Don't retaliate. Break the cycle of violence."

    Yet, within hours of the blitzkrieg attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon and the dramatic hijacking of four airliners, the Bush-Powell tune had changed.

    There was no talk of restraint. There was no talk of negotiation. There was no worry about excessive force. There was a promise of retaliation. And we, as a nation, were assured that we would not lay down in hopes the attackers would be satisfied with their blood toll.

    Bush, in fact, asserted he would hold any nation harboring the terrorists accountable for their actions. Israel has been coaxed and bullied by the U.S. to do precisely the opposite.

    Now the U.S. administration says it is outraged and is determined to "punish" those responsible for "the attack on freedom."

    I'm glad to hear it. And, far be it for me to question the sudden good judgment being shown in Washington. But it's illustrative of what I have been saying for the last year. The U.S. has been asking Israel to maintain an untenable course of inaction. In fact, Washington has helped to ensure that terrorism would spread beyond the Middle East to the shores of the U.S. through its shaky, equivocal, timid, impotent, weak, half-way measures in the face of Israel's constant battle with terror.

    Does Bush really get it? Will he follow through on his own promise? Will his demands on Israel change? Does he plan to follow his own advice?

    Who knows? Time will tell. But Americans would do well to remember this moment - to reflect on the pain, to recall this mourning. This is what Israel has been enduring in its own less dramatic way - day after day, drip after drip, explosion after bloody explosion.

    Let me go further. We hear many pundits and administration spokesmen naming names - Sudan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq. Yet, I haven't heard a one of them mention the home state of the chief suspect - Osama bin Laden.

    He's not an Afghani, by the way. He's a Saudi - and that's where his support comes from. That's where his money comes from. That's his lifeline - oil-rich, "moderate" Saudi Arabia.

    Is Washington prepared to issue ultimatums to Mecca? If not, why not?

    The answer, of course, is oil - which is why as a matter of national strategic defense, America needs to do what is necessary to achieve energy independence as quickly as possible. Wars do tend to get messy, you know. And America has the natural resources to be independent of Mideast oil.

    To do so, however, we've got to decide as a nation whether we are more scared of radical environmentalists or radical Muslims. That's the choice before us.

    In a very real sense, we can look at the tens of thousands of casualties in Tuesday's horror as casualties of the radical environmentalists, who have persuaded Americans they would be better off dependent on foreign oil than on marring the landscape or causing undue stress in the elk.

    It's time to get serious, folks. This is war. We don't fight wars with people who control our vital natural resources. But we may have to fight a war with the people supplying us with oil. What are we going to do about that?

    Americans may be called to sacrifice. I think they're ready for such a call. They watched the devastation on TV Tuesday. They will rise to the occasion - if their leaders in Washington ask them to do so.

    It's a time for sacrifices. That means even the elk in Alaska may need to lose a few acres of real estate for the greater good - saving the lives of Americans.
    Written by Joseph Farah
    September 13, 2001

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