New York Post--Two American servicemen were killed last week on as signment overseas. No, not in Iraq or Afghanistan, but in Frankfurt, Germany, for the simple act of getting on a bus. A lone Muslim gunman opened fire on the unsuspecting airmen at the Frankfurt airport, killing Nicholas J. Alden and Zachary R. Cuddeback and wounding two others. He shouted "Allah Akbar" as he shot -- making it plain he was murdering in the name of his god.
A few days earlier, four Americans sailing in the Indian Ocean on a mission of Christian mercy -distributing Bibles to remote churches -- were captured by Somali pirates in international waters and executed while US naval officers were trying to negotiate their release.
The reaction from the administration was dispassionately anodyne, as if these people had met with some freak accident. President Obama called Frankfurt a "tragic event," while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the pirate incident left her "deeply saddened and very upset."
Meanwhile, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley did the usual Obama pretzel, avoiding any mention of Islam in connection to Frankfurt. Asked whether the sudden jihad explosion of a Muslim Kosovar holding German citizenship was a terrorist incident, Crowley replied evasively: "Was the shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords a terrorist attack? You have to look at the evidence and look at the motivation, and then you make a judgment, and that is a process as far as I know that is ongoing."
There you have it: an "upset" administration engaged in a "process" over a "tragic event." Is there a better or more pathetic image of a nation in deliberate retreat from great-power status?
'Twas not always thus. Presidents used to understand that an attack on Americans overseas was an attack on the country.
In the earliest days of the republic, President Thomas Jefferson sent the fledgling US Navy to Tripoli in response to acts of brigandage. After years of campaigning, including some serious setbacks, US forces defeated the pirates at sea and sent the Marines ashore. The pasha of Tripoli, used to receiving ransom instead of fixed bayonets, sued for peace.
In 1904, Teddy Roosevelt was outraged by the kidnapping of Ion Perdicaris and his son by a bandit called the Raisuli. With the war cry, "Perdicaris alive or Raisuli dead!" TR sent the military to force the release of the Greek-American expatriate -- and cruised to victory in the presidential election later that year.
In April, 1986, the La Belle disco in Berlin was bombed, killing two US servicemen and wounding more than 50 others, at the behest of Libya's Moammar Khadafy. The atrocity came less than a year after the Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad hijackers of TWA flight 847 singled out an American sailor named Robert Stethem for torture and murder, then threw his body thrown onto the tarmac in Beirut. Realizing that it could no longer be open season on US military personnel abroad, President Ronald Reagan responded to the Berlin attack by bombing Tripoli and Benghazi a couple of weeks later.
In the decades since, America has allowed itself to be hamstrung by the asymmetric nature of radical Islam's war against the West. Its adherents move easily from country to country, apparently secure in their membership in the ummah, or worldwide communion of Muslims. Western nation-states have been largely unable to hold a single "nation" responsible in the court of international law.
Unless and until we can come up with the proper military and political response to such outrages -- perhaps by ramping up our covert-ops missions -- we are going to lose more of our fellow citizens to crimes of opportunity like Frankfurt. As we saw in the run-up to 9/11, unanswered provocations can have the gravest consequences. Americans want more than vague promises to "bring them to justice." They want results.
"When people see a strong horse and a weak horse," said Osama bin Laden in November 2001, "by nature they will like the strong horse." Having declared war on America and Israel in 1996, bin Laden knew who his enemy was.
Do we? (Source)