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Of Patron States and Terrorist Plans
September 17, 2001

By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to

New revelations remind us that we have an indispensable duty to respond to any attack waged against America in an immediate and unambiguous manner.

The individual who masterminded the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, Ramzi Ahmed Yusef, had in his possession, plans that included a coordinated succession of US aircraft hijackings and subsequent suicide-style crashes.

One of Osama bin Laden's followers, Abdul Hakim Murad, was arrested in 1995 in the Philippines. In his possession was a laptop computer that likewise contained plans for a coordinated succession of US aircraft hijackings and subsequent bombings or suicide-style crashes.

Khalid Al-Midhar, one of the hijackers of the plane that crashed into the Pentagon, had, prior to the atrocity, made a videotape appearance in Malaysia. He had met with one of the suspects of the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, an incident that has been attributed to Osama bin Laden.

Osama bin Laden has had intelligence and communication links to Saddam Hussein.

Ramzi Ahmed Yusef appears to have ties with Iraq.

Information of this kind, when looked at in its confluence, forces us to reevaluate some persistent and seriously damaging myths.

Myth # 1: Terrorist acts are a law enforcement matter. The 1993 World Trade Center bombing was treated as a criminal matter. This hampered the scope of investigation, the intelligence gathering and the response that was needed to preserve the proper level of apprehension within terrorist groups at large. Acts of terrorism must be dealt with by military and intelligence professionals. Keep the lawyers out of it.

Myth # 2: Diplomacy, rhetoric and investigation are the appropriate responses to terrorism. After extended rhetoric, chest pounding and investigation, US response to the death of 17 sailors in the Yemeni port of Aden was a pitiful reply to a heinous act. We did nothing.

Myth # 3: Nations cannot be held responsible because terrorist organizations act on their own. The notion that something as highly coordinated as the September 11 act of war could be carried out without state support and sanction defies common sense. Terrorist organizations act as surrogates to effectuate the policies of the patron-state. A nation can thereby hide its culpability.

We know too well that it took many years to perfect the diabolical plan of September 11. The fiends have performed their tasks. It is time for us to do ours.

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James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.

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