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Can our government protect us?

By Samuel L. Blumenfeld
web posted October 29, 2001

The reason why so many Americans are buying guns and traveling less, is because they no longer have confidence in their government's ability to protect them from their enemies. People rented the upper floors of the World Trade Center because they believed that their government would never permit terrorists to stage the kind of attack that took place on September 11th. While no one could visualize the kind of well-planned and coordinated hijackings that led to the destruction of the twin towers, it was assumed that our government was aware of the dangers posed by just ordinary hijackers. After all, we have the FBI and the CIA to protect us. But they didn't. Why not?

Another legacy from Clinton
Another legacy from Clinton

My view is that it has a lot to do with the American mindset lulled into complacency by the corrupt Clinton administration that was in charge of our security for eight years. In a recent article in the New Yorker, Joe Klein wrote: "Clinton spent less concentrated effort on national defense than any other President in recent memory … Even when he began to pay attention he was severely constrained by public opinion and his own unwillingness to take risks."

The FBI had been hobbled by both Bill Clinton and Janet Reno who did not want the FBI to investigate the possible murder of Vince Foster. Further, they did not want the FBI to investigate Clinton's possible treason in giving the Chinese communists secret military technology in exchange for financial contributions. Nor did they want the FBI to investigate the possible Middle Eastern connections with the Oklahoma bombing. The leg in the camouflage pants and army boot found at the truck bombing site was never identified, nor was the body the leg belonged to ever found. That leg may have belonged to a suicide bomber who remained in the truck after Timothy McVeigh had left the scene in a car without license plates.

Also, the actions of the ATF and the FBI in the destruction of the Branch Davidians in Waco disgusted millions of Americans who could no longer trust what was once the most trusted agency in the federal government, the FBI of J. Edgar Hoover. Instead of going after Islamic extremists complicit in the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 and following up on the many leads provided by the trials, the FBI was going after perfectly legal militia groups that had sprung up across America after the Waco disaster. The FBI's mindset, once focused on going after America's enemies was now focused on going after American patriots.

As for the CIA, all of its monitoring of terrorist groups throughout the world provided it with not a single clue as to what might happen on September 11th. Osama bin Laden's worldwide network of terrorists was well known to the CIA. These terrorists bombed two U.S. embassies in Africa. They bombed a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires. They bombed the USS Cole. Those incidents should have made the CIA wonder what bin Laden had in store for the United States on its own soil. Rumors about something big being planned were heard here and there. But they fell on deaf ears in the CIA.

And so, how safe are Americans from their internal enemies? Of course, President Bush has gone out of his way to assure us that the seven million Muslims that live among us are good patriotic Americans. However, it is known that Islamic extremist groups have operated terrorist training camps right here in the U.S.A. According to Dr. Stan Monteith, a video was made of these camps by Steven Emerson, which was scheduled to be shown on PBS, but was canceled.

When all is said and done, the primary purpose of government is to protect its citizens from its enemies. The anthrax scare has added a new and unnerving dimension to the war. Who are sending these deadly letters, and from where are they getting this anthrax powder? Hopefully, the newly invigorated post-Clinton FBI will find out.

Andrew Sullivan, in a recent brilliant article, wrote: "We thought for a long time that the Clinton years would be seen in retrospect as a mixed blessing … But the further we get away from the Clinton years, the more damning they seem. The narcissistic, feckless, escapist culture of an America absent without leave in the world was fomented from the top. The boom at the end of the decade turned out to include a dangerous bubble which the administration did little to prevent … We were warned. But we were coasting … Through the dust clouds of September 11th and during the difficult task ahead, one person hovers over the wreckage -- and that's Bill Clinton. His legacy gets darker and darker with each passing day."

Samuel L. Blumenfeld is the author of eight books on education, including, "Alpha-Phonics: A Primer for Beginning Readers," "The Whole Language/OBE Fraud," and "Homeschooling: A Parents Guide to Teaching Children." These books are available on

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