I Was a Witness to History

Denizens of LewRockwell.com will be surprised that I was in the hall when the President of the United States made his great speech declaring war on state-sponsored terrorism. How I accomplished that feat I will explain later.

The telegenic President looked splendid and fully in charge of the occasion. Though he had been known to commit a verbal gaffe or two in his time, there would be none this day. Security was tightest, VIPs were everywhere, and the press corps was corpulent. Funny that they call it the press "corps" ("organized subdivision of the military establishment" ~ Webster’s).

The President spoke from a prepared text, undoubtedly written by others, but so expressing his true feelings that it appeared that he was formulating his words spontaneously. He called recent terrorist attacks on American citizens and military personnel "acts of war," and a threat to "our way of life" and our "democracy." He put the blame for terrorism squarely on the backs of the depraved states that allow terrorists to operate freely.

The President named names and promised coordinated action against those states. He made it clear that he believed that the terrorists who are murdering American citizens and attacking American installations are being trained, financed, and directly or indirectly controlled by a core group of radical and totalitarian governments, a new international version of Murder, Incorporated. He said the goal of the terrorists was to force America to withdraw from the world and abandon its friends. He compared their tactics to those of Nazi Germany and called on all "civilized" nations to rise up against them. He promised to bring the terrorists to justice.

The speech was well-received and frequently interrupted by applause by members of both parties. The press reacted favorably, even those who had normally opposed the President. Americans were reassured that here was a guy who was tough enough and determined enough to get the job done. Here was a President, once the object of ridicule, but now generally agreed to be able to rise to the level of the great challenge ahead. Here was a President who was committed to rebuilding a strong national defense after our forces had deteriorated during a Democratic administration. Here was a President capable of restoring respect for America after years of weakness and drift.

I had the honor and privilege of being in Washington, DC, to witness this speech in person, having cleared a rigorous security check beforehand. I will never forget this once in a lifetime, historic event. I will never forget the President’s historic speech targeting state-sponsored terrorism. Nor do I think that anyone else who was present will forget this great speech by President Ronald Reagan before the American Bar Association on July 8, 1985. After all, this was the date when the nation was assured that terrorism would soon be vanquished and our muscular, tendentious and interventionist foreign policy would not have to be "altered" or "disrupted." The Wilsonian US could continue to call the shots all over the globe without fear of retaliation against the Homeland and the Department of Defense (of countries other than the United States).”

September 25, 2001

James Ostrowski is an attorney practicing at 984 Ellicott Square, Buffalo, New York 14203; (716) 854-1440; FAX 853-1303. See his website at http://jimostrowski.com.