October 15, 2003


U.S. Citizens Ordered to Leave Gaza (AP, 10/15/03)

U.S. citizens were ordered to leave the Gaza Strip following a deadly attack on a convoy of U.S. diplomats Wednesday, diplomatic sources said.

Three Americans, apparently security guards for diplomats, were killed in the attack near the Palestinian town of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip.

Several hours after the bombing, U.S. investigators were attacked by Palestinian stone throwers and sped away as their cars were pelted by rocks.

It has been easy to say -- and I have said -- that the US acted pusilanimously throughout the '90s when we did not respond forcefully to terrorist attacks against our people, our property and our interests. We did not respond forcefully to the first attack on the twin towers. We did not respond forcefully to the attack on the Khobar Towers. We did not respond forcefully to the attack on the Cole. The result of our failure to respond was not gratitude for our forbearance, but scorn at our weakness.

Have we learned our lesson?

Posted by David Cohen at October 15, 2003 4:57 PM

I hope that was rhetorical question because the answer is no. It will continue to be no until an attack happens here killing at least 100,000, and even then I suspect some on the left will still feel the same as they do now...."we had it coming".

Posted by: BJW at October 15, 2003 5:38 PM

My question is only partially rhetorical. My own estimate, though, is that it is very unlikely that we will respond to this attack.

Posted by: David Cohen at October 15, 2003 5:55 PM

The Khobar Towers attack gives some evidence against David's argument. That attack was carried out by Saudi Arabian members of Hezbollah with some assistance from the Iranian government. Yet despite our failure to "respond forcefully" to this attack, so far as I know no Americans have been attacked by Hezbollah since then.

On the other hand, we certainly inspired scorn from the government of Saudi Arabia. That government's extreme reluctance to assist the initial investiagation is unforgivable and should have led to the immediate termination of our defense agreement. Unfortunately, the Saudis learned that as long as they kept the oil flowing they can get away with practically anything.

So maybe David's right, after all.

Posted by: Peter Caress at October 15, 2003 7:45 PM

The real question is will the State Department begin to understand what the Israelis have been trying to tell them for years.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at October 15, 2003 11:54 PM

The response should come against Damascus.

Posted by: oj at October 16, 2003 12:59 AM

or Arafat. or Hamas.

I don't care who it comes against, I want a response.

Posted by: pj at October 16, 2003 10:16 AM


Colin Powell used some harsh language. Or were you looking for something a little stronger?

I predict that the US will respond to this attack by pressuring Israel and continuing to give money to the PA and Egypt.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at October 16, 2003 2:07 PM

One thing that makes negotiations in the Middle East such a joke is that we're always to the "left: of the Israelis, so whatever they might agree to is always taken by the Arabs as a starting poinnt, from which to ask the US to bargain them down.

On the other hand, negotiations between North and South Korea are about as serious and realistic as negotiations with an insane madman can get. That's because we're consistently to the "right" of SK, so NK knows that what SK offers is the best they're going to get, and thus SK negotiators have actual power.

This is great opportunity to get to the right of Sharon (normally a hard thing to do.) Unleash some *serious* whoopass on Gaza - a cluster bomb in every known location of Hamas or Islamic Jihad. Sharon will scream bloody murder, and the Palestinians will gain a new appreciation of just how much restraint the IDF really shows.

Too bad it'll never happen. After all, we can't treat the people who danced in the streets when the towers fell as if they were our enemies, can we?

Posted by: ralph phelan at October 19, 2003 3:35 PM