Thursday, July 27, 2006

250

This should be required reading for all Americans!

Navy Captain Dan Ouimette's speech to the Pensacola Civitan Club on February 19th, 2003:

America WAKE UP!


That's what we think we heard on the 11th of September 2001 and maybe it
was, but I think it should have been "Get Out of Bed!" In fact, I think
the alarm clock has been buzzing since 1979 and we have continued to hit
the snooze button and roll over for a few more minutes of peaceful sleep
since then.

It was a cool fall day in November 1979 in a country going through a
religious and political upheaval when a group of Iranian students
attacked and seized the American Embassy in Tehran. This seizure was an
outright attack on American soil; it was an attack that held the world's
most powerful country hostage and paralyzed a Presidency. The attack on
this sovereign US embassy set the stage for the events to follow for the
next 23 years.

America was still reeling from the aftermath of the Viet Nam experience
and had a serious threat from the Soviet Union when then, President
Carter, had to do something. He chose to conduct a clandestine raid in
the desert. The ill-fated mission ended in ruin, but stood as a symbol
of America's inability to deal with terrorism. America's military had
been decimated and downsized / right sized since the end of the Viet Nam
war. A poorly trained, poorly equipped and poorly organized military was
called on to execute a complex mission that was doomed from the start.

Shortly after the Tehran experience, Americans began to be kidnapped and
killed throughout the Middle East. America could do little to protect
her citizens living and working abroad. The attacks against US soil
continued. In April of 1983 a large vehicle packed with high explosives
was driven into the US Embassy compound in Beirut. When it explodes, it
kills 63 people. The alarm went off again and America hit the Snooze
Button once more. Then just six short months later a large truck heavily
laden down with over 2500 pounds of TNT smashed through the main gate of
the US Marine Corps headquarters in Beirut. 241 US servicemen are
killed. America mourns her dead and hit the Snooze Button once more.
Two months later in December 1983, another truck loaded with explosives
is driven into the US Embassy in Kuwait, and America continues her
slumber. The following year, in September 1984, another van was driven
into the gates of the US Embassy in Beirut and America slept.

Soon the terrorism spreads to Europe. In April 1985 a bomb explodes in a
restaurant frequented by US soldiers in Madrid. Then in August a
Volkswagen loaded with explosives is driven into the main gate of the US
Air Force Base at Rhein-Main, 22 are killed and the Snooze Alarm is
buzzing louder and louder as US soil is continually attacked. Fifty-nine
days later a cruise ship, the Achille Lauro is hijacked and we watched as
an American in a wheelchair is singled out of the passenger list and
executed. The terrorists then shift their tactics to bombing civilian
airliners when they bomb TWA Flight 840 in April of 1986 that killed 4
and the most tragic bombing, Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland
in 1988, killing 259. America wants to treat these terrorist acts as
crimes; in fact we are still trying to bring these people to trial.
These are acts of war...the Wake Up alarm is louder and louder.

The terrorists decide to bring the fight to America. In January 1993,
two CIA agents are shot and killed as they enter CIA headquarters in
Langley, Virginia. The following month, February 1993, a group of
terrorists are arrested after a rented van packed with explosives is
driven into the underground parking garage of the World Trade Center in
New York City. Six people are killed and over 1000 are injured. Still
this is a crime and not an act of war? The Snooze alarm is depressed
again.

Then in November 1995 a car bomb explodes at a US military complex in
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia killing seven service men and women. A few months
later in June of 1996, another truck bomb explodes only 35 yards from the
US military compound in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. It destroys the Khobar
Towers, a US Air Force barracks, killing 19 and injuring over 500.

The terrorists are getting braver and smarter as they see that America
does not respond decisively. They move to coordinate their attacks in a
simultaneous attack on two US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. These
attacks were planned with precision, they kill 224. America responds
with cruise missile attacks and goes back to sleep.

The USS Cole was docked in the port of Aden, Yemen for refueling on 12
October 2000, when a small craft pulled along side the ship and exploded
killing 17 US Navy Sailors. Attacking a US War Ship is an act of war,
but we sent the FBI to investigate the crime and went back to sleep.

And of course you know the events of 11 September 2001. Most Americans
think this was the first attack against US soil or in America. How wrong
they are. America has been under a constant attack since 1979 and we
chose to hit the snooze alarm and roll over and go back to sleep.


In the news lately we have seen lots of finger pointing from every high
official in government over what they knew and what they didn't know.
But if you've read the papers and paid a little attention I think you can
see exactly what they knew. You don't have to be in the FBI or CIA or on
the National Security Council to see the pattern that has been developing
since 1979. The President is right on when he says we are engaged in a
war. I think we have been in a war for the past 23 years and it will
continue until we as a people decide enough is enough.

America has to "Get out of Bed" and act decisively now. America has
changed forever. We have to be ready to pay the price and make the
sacrifice to ensure our way of life continues. We cannot afford to hit
the Snooze Button again and roll over and go back to sleep. We have to
make the terrorists know that in the words of Admiral Yamamoto after the
attack on Pearl Harbor "that all they have done is to awaken a sleeping
giant.

Thank you very much.

Dan Ouimette
Pensacola Civitan
19 Feb 2003

1 comment:

Pixie said...

I'll probably get in trouble for this, but I copy, pasted and printed...and put it on the bulletin board in the lunchroom at work.

Bring it on.

Hope you're well, beautiful.

Happiness and Gerba Daisies!... in fact, I'll post some for ya!

{{{Cristin}}}}