Opinion

EDITORIAL

In case anyone has been wondering recently about what our government is doing in the supposed “War on Terror,” here is some information that should clear everything up. According to top Washington officials, your alert level should now be at yellow, but at the upper end of the elevated level. Don’t you feel safer now that we’ve got a government that is getting things done?
The safety of Americans was put in danger again last week when a tape that supposedly contained Osama bin Laden’s voice making new threats against America surfaced. After the tape was evaluated and deemed authentic, Bush was forced to recognize the threat of Al-Qaeda once again. However, the advent of yet another terrorist threat from Al-Qaeda raises some disturbing questions about our government and our president.
For instance, the American people must wonder if they are being told the truth. Directly after Sept. 11 last year, Bush promised to track down the terrorists and exact payment upon them. More than a year later, the war against Al-Qaeda has all but fizzled out, but the organization still exists. At the same time, the president used the nation’s emotions about the attacks along with anti-terrorist rhetoric to make Iraq our number one focus. And with the media slavishly devoting itself to “Showdown: Iraq,” the American people followed suit. Now that bin Laden is ostensibly still alive and as evil as ever, the American people must wonder how they were tricked into forgetting about him in the first place.
We must also wonder exactly what our government is doing about the threat of terrorism. Many people hold that Bush is doing a terrific job, but a year after the attacks we have little more than a motley amalgamation of agencies that can’t seem to decide which nation is our biggest threat and a color scheme of awareness that seems more like paint-by-numbers with a sadistic twist. A year later, and with renewed threats from Al-Qaeda, we must ask how much more our government knows now than it did then. How much more prepared are we for an attack than we were then? With a president whose attitude toward war with Iraq is eerily similar to that of a fifth grader about to go to recess, have we lost focus on who the real threat is?
The most important question seems to be: what is the government keeping secret from the American people? Recently, Senator Graham, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has spearheaded a movement to declassify information that points to the fact that, on the list of terrorist threats to our nation, Iraq is not anywhere near number one. According to Graham, an Iranian based group called the Hezballah has more operating terrorist camps inside of the United States than Al-Qaeda and poses the greatest threat to homeland security. But this information is kept secret so that Bush can pursue his political war against Iraq while letting the most threatening terrorists go unpunished. So much for the responsibility era of government.
In the end, perhaps it is up to local law enforcement authorities to demand information from the federal government about which cities are targeted by terrorists. We have a right to know, and we owe it to the victims of Sept. 11 to pursue real terrorist threats, not political wars. But if Bush would rather pursue a war to get himself re-elected than make good on his promise to confront terrorism, we as Americans have one option: put the alert level at red and hold on for dear life until election time.

November 19, 2002

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.