Tuesday, March 23, 2004

More Weird Things

I'm pretty fascinated by Rumsfeld's scathing indictment of those appeasers in the Reagan administration...

Not long ago, we marked the 20th anniversary of a terrorist attack in Beirut, Lebanon, when the suicide bomb truck attacked the Marine barracks. And that blast killed more than 240 Americans. Soon after that attack, President Reagan and Secretary of State Shultz asked me to serve as the Middle East envoy for a period. That experience taught me lessons about the nature of terrorism that are relevant today as we prosecute the global war on terror. After the attack, one seemingly logical response was to put a cement barricade around the buildings to prevent more truck bombings -- a very logical thing to do. And it had the effect of preventing more truck bombings. But the terrorists very quickly figured out how to get around those barricades, and they began lobbing rocket-propelled grenades over the cement barricades. And the reaction then was to hunker down even more, and they started seeing buildings along the Cornish that runs along the sea in Beirut draped with metal wire mesh coming down from several stories high so that when rocket-propelled grenades hit the mesh, they would bounce off, doing little damage. It worked, again, but only briefly. And the terrorists again adapted. They watched the comings and goings of embassy personnel and began hitting soft targets. They killed people on their way to and from work. So for every defense, first barricades then wire mesh, the terrorists moved to another avenue of attack. One has to note that the terrorists had learned important lessons: that terrorism is a great equalizer, it's a force multiplier, it's cheap, it's deniable, it yields substantial results, it's low risk and it's often without penalty. They had learned that a single attack by influencing public opinion and morale can alter the behavior of great nations