- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 4, 2001

Clinton couldn't think outside the poll box

Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright has now provided conclusive evidence that the Clinton administration could not think outside the poll box.

As reported in the Oct. 29 Inside the Beltway, she contends that President Clinton never had the "public support" he needed to take care of Osama bin Laden. "Public support" means, of course, positive poll numbers and focus groups, without which Mr. Clinton couldn't have acted decisively if his next meal depended on it.

I don't remember President Bush standing before the American people and saying, "Polls show you want me to do something about this terrible man." He said, "This is what we're going to do."

Mrs. Albright's claim is assuredly true: Mr. Clinton did not go after the terrorists who bombed our embassies and our ship because the pollsters er, the American people, told him not to. The war we are in today is a direct result of Mr. Clinton's inability to make decisions based on factors other than personal interest.

The exclusive concentration on polls was not actually to gauge public opinion which has some merit. It was to ensure that everyone continued to like Mr. Clinton the most enduring goal of his reign.



Global vigilance needed to guard against future attacks

German Interior Minister Otto Schily's recent visit with Attorney General John Ashcroft in Washington corresponds with the spotlight the FBI is placing on Germany in the investigation of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

In the Oct. 23 article, "Terrorists laundered money globally, Germany suspects," Mr. Schily is quoted as saying: "It is not true that only Germany is the headquarters of terrorism. It is a widespread worldwide network."

It is important to keep this in mind, as terrorism can flourish in any state as long as the right combination of political, economic and social dissatisfaction exists. There are situations that involve more than one country and necessitate multilateral governmental cooperation. This international money laundering investigation is a good example, as it demonstrates the importance of worldwide vigilance.

To combat terrorism is to piece together a global puzzle of economic, political and social pieces and then to dismantle it so it can never be assembled again.



Cowardly lawmakers hide from anthrax threat

In the face of a real but overhyped anthrax threat, Americans attempted to go about their everyday lives. Some flew on airliners. A few went into battle in Afghanistan. For days, however, members of Congress went home and hid.

There is a justification, we're told, for the cowardice on Capitol Hill. According to the logic, our nation's legislators were willing to perform their duties, but did not want to risk their young staff members.

That argument won't wash. Congressional staffers could have chosen to work in the private sector. Instead, they volunteered for public service like the Army Rangers who parachuted into Kandahar on the day Congress went home.

Our national legislature could have responded to the anthrax threat while still conducting its business. It didn't. Next year, let's vote out the incumbents. Let's elect lawmakers who will show up for work.



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