Ask a leftist or a Paulestinian why Usama bin Laden orchestrated the 9/11 attacks, and you’re likely to get a lecture involving imperialism, cultural insensitivity, blowback, or all of the above, while a conservative would be more likely to blame radical Islamic ideology. Tonight’s “Hannity” explores a far simpler factor—he thought he could get away with it:
HANNITY: A former Usama bin Laden associate has come forward with shocking allegations about the 9/11 terror attacks. Now, the man’s name is Noman Benotman, and he claims that he was with bin Laden in the months just prior to the attacks.
And now, in an interview with a WTOP reporter, the man says bin Laden was stunned at the way the U.S. responded to the attacks. Now he says the Al Qaeda leader did not expect President George W. Bush to retaliate the way he did [...]
NOMAN BENOTMAN, FORMER BIN LADEN ASSOCIATE: What happened after the 11th of September, it’s beyond the imagination. I am 100 percent sure they haven’t a clue about what is going to happen. They said, “This time, maybe they’re going to launch 200 cruise missiles.”
The WTOP report quotes an unnamed CIA official as backing up Benotman (former head of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group), but also quotes Michael Scheuer (the Left’s favorite CIA vet) as more skeptical: “I come hard up against an awful lot of evidence that [harsh American retaliation is] exactly what [bin Laden] wanted.”
Regardless of Benotman’s personal credibility, the underlying point is obvious: bad guys are more brazen when they believe the consequences of their actions will be light or nonexistent. And as Hannity and Lt. Col. Oliver North discuss, the abysmal record of the 1990s under the Clinton Administration gave bin Laden ample cause for optimism:
NORTH: I don’t think anybody should have expected Bill Clinton to respond any differently than what he did after embassies are blown up or ships are hit, all the rest of the things that occurred in the Clinton administration.
The bottom line of it is, George W. Bush was not cut from the same bolt of cloth as William Jefferson Blythe Clinton, and we ought to be thankful for it.
HANNITY: Well, but what he is saying, the way I’m interpreting this, after the embassy bombings in Kenya, Tanzania, the Khobar Towers, the USS Cole, the first Trade Center bombing, is that they’re at war with us. America is not going to respond. So they anticipated…
NORTH: The same kind of response.
HANNITY: … the same kind of non-response.
Granted, in the case of jihadists willing to martyr themselves for Allah, fear of death is less of an deterrent than in, say, the Cold War. But note well that Usama himself wasn’t among the hijacking party, and while individual jihadist nuts will always plague us as long as violent, totalitarian interpretations of Islam thrive, terrorist groups and rogue states are actually trying to accomplish something. Irrational and dogmatic though they may be, leaders and would-be recruits aren’t entirely incapable of noticing whether their strategies are bearing fruit, or just bringing hell upon themselves.
After the lessons of the twentieth century, we in the twenty-first should have thrown appeasement onto history’s ash heap a long time ago and never looked back. But incredibly, we still have one major political party firmly behind the suicidal doctrine, and fringe voices in the other who cling to it without the slightest regard for reality. The War on Terror isn’t going anywhere, and the sooner adults who understand that regain control, the better.