The Self Made Pundit
Friday, September 21, 2001
President Bush's speech to Congress, the nation and the world last night hit all the right notes. It was forceful, eloquent and uncompromising in the face of evil.
We also thought the Democratic Party's response given by Sen. Tom Daschle was just right. Although news reports had stated that there would be no Democractic response to the President's call to arms, Sen. Daschle delivered it by hugging Bush as he left the podium. That hug delivered the right message. Although Democrats and Republicans have strong differences of opinion on many issues of domestic -- and even defense -- policy, on the issue of responding to the terrorism of last week, Americans stand united.
Thursday, September 20, 2001
The New York Times deserves credit today for promptly following up on The Self Made Pundit's comment on the need to follow the money trial of the World Trade Center terrorists that appeared in our premiere posting yesterday. (Our 9/19/01 posting.) The Times's response is all the more impressive since as of this morning only Mrs. Pundit and the little Pundits were aware of the existence of The Self Made Pundit. See Roadblocks Cited in Efforts to Trace bin Laden's Money.
The Times article discusses the problems involved in tracking and shutting down the funding of Osama bin Landen's terrorist operations. Apparently one of those problems has been the senior Senator from Texas. According to the Times, last year Sen. Phil Gramm almost single handedly blocked a Clinton administration bill which would have given "the Treasury secretary broad power to bar foreign countries and banks from access to the American financial market unless they cooperated with money-laundering investigations."
Perhaps it's not surprising that Sen. Gramm blocked the bill, given his ties to the banking industry. What is astounding, however, is that even after last week's terrorist atrocities, he still opposes the bill, calling it "totalitarian." (I'm sure we all remember how vigorous money laundering investigations were the hallmark of the Soviet Union.) Showing a keen appreciation for the complexities involved in combating terrorism in the 21st Century, Sen. Gramm said that "The way to deal with terrorists is to hunt them down and kill them." Apparently it has not occurred to the former economics professor that it might be a good idea to deprive terrorists of the capital they use to fund mass murder during the many months -- or even years -- it might take to hunt them down.
Wednesday, September 19, 2001
Much has been written about the shadowy and faceless nature of the terrorists that butchered Americans last week. We need to remember that these evildoers are not phantoms, they operate in the real world and leave tracks. In today's New York Times, U.S. Gen Anthony C. Zinni makes the excellent point that in combating Osama bin Laden and his terrorists,"You need to go after the network that is collecting money, his investments in legitimate companies, the laundering of money, and the banks that look the other way."
These terrorists have been spending thousands of dollars on intercontinental flights, flying lessons and supporting and coordinating their operations. Federal authorities should do their best to find the sources of these funds and shut them down. We should demand that countries harboring the financial foundations of terrorism seize the assets and freeze the accounts. Maximum pressure and sanctions should be applied to any government that refuses to help stop the financing of mass murder. This is just one of the ways we should be draining the swamps.