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AMERICA  -  WAKE UP”

 

 

WAKE UP AMERICA!  THAT’S WHAT WE THINK WE HEARD ON SEPTEMBER 11TH,  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 ROLLOVER FOR A FEW MORE MINUTES OF PEACEFUL SLEEP SINCE THEN.

 

IT IS 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 SOVERIEGN U.S. EMBASSY SET THE STAGE FOR THE EVENTS TO FOLLOW FOR THE NEXT 23 YEARS.

 

AMERICA WAS STILL REELING FROM THE AFTERMATH OF THE VIETNAM 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 DESSERT.  THE ILL-FATED MISSION ENDED IN RUIN,  AND STOOD AS A SYMBOL OF AMERICA’S INABILITY TO DEAL WITH TERRORISM.  AMERICA’S MILITARY HAD BEEN DECIMATED AND DOWNSIZED SINCE THE END OF THE VIETNAM 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 KIDNAPED AND KILLED THROUGHOUT THE MIDDLE EAST,  AMERICA COULD DO LITTLE TO PROTECT HER CITIZENS LIVING AND WORKING ABROAD.  THE ATTACKS AGAINST U.S. SOIL CONTINUED.

 

IN APRIL, 1983 A LARGE VEHICLE PACKED WITH HIGH EXPLOSIVES WAS DRIVEN INTO THE U.S. EMBASSY COMPOUND IN BEIRUT.  WHEN IT EXPLODED,  IT KILLED 63 PEOPLE.  THE ALARM WENT OFF AGAIN AND AMERICA HIT THE SNOOZE BUTTON ONCE AGAIN.

 

THEN JUST SIX SHORT MONTHS LATER A LARGE TRUCK HEAVILY LADEN WITH OVER 2500 POUNDS OF TNT SMASHED THROUGH THE MAIN GATE OF THE U.S. MARINE CORPS HEADQUARTERS IN BEIRUT.  241 U.S. SERVICEMEN WERE KILLED.  AMERICA MOURNED HER DEAD AND HIT THE SNOOZE BUTTON ONCE MORE.

 

TWO MONTHS LATER IN DECEMBER,  1983,  ANOTHER TRUCK LOADED WITH EXPLOSIVES IS DRIVEN INTO THE U.S. EMBASSY IN KUWAIT,  AND AMERICA CONTINUES TO SLUMBER.

 

THE FOLLOWING YEAR,  IN SEPTEMBER,  1984,  ANOTHER VAN WAS DRIVEN INTO THE GATES OF THE U.S. EMBASSY IN BEIRUT AND AMERICA SLEPT.  SOON THE TERRORISM SPREADS TO EUROPE.  IN APRIL,  1985,  A BOMB EXPLODES IN A RESTAURANT FREQUENTED BY U.S. SOLDIERS IN MADRID.  THEN IN AUGUST A VOLKSWAGEN LOADED WITH EXPLOSIVES IS DRIVEN THROUGH THE MAIN GATE OF THE U.S. AIR FORCE BASE AT RHEIN-MAIN,  22 ARE KILLED AND THE SNOOZE BUTTON IS BUZZING LOUDER AND LOUDER AS U.S. SOIL IS CONTINUALLY ATTACKED.

59 DAYS LATER A CRUISE SHIP,  THE ACHILLE LAURO,  IS HIJACKED AND WE WATCHED AS AN AMERICAN IN A WHEELCHAIR IS SINGLED OUT IN 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 AND THEN THE MOST TRAGIC BOMBING OF 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,  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 1,000 ARE INJURED.  STILL THIS IS A CRIME AND NOT AN ACT OF WAR?  THE SNOOZE BUTTON ALARM IS DEPRESSED AGAIN.

 

THEN IN NOVEMBER,  1995 A CAR BOMB EXPLODES AT A U.S. MILITARY COMPLEX IN RIYADH,  AUDI ARABIA,  KILLING SEVEN SERVICEMEN AND SERVICEWOMEN.  A FEW MONTHS LATER IN JUNE,  1996 ANOTHER TRUCK BOMB EXPLODES ONLY 35 YARDS FROM THE U.S. AIR FORCE BARRACKS KILLING 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  SIMULTANEOUS BOMBINGS ON TWO U.S. EMBASSIES IN KENYA AND TANZANIA.  THESE ATTACKS WERE PLANNED WITH PRECISION,  KILLING 244.  AMERICA RESPONDS WITH CRUISE MISSLE ATTACKS AND GOES BACK TO SLEEP.

 

THE USS COLE WAS DOCKED IN THE PORT OF ADEN,  YEMEN FOR REFUELING ON OCTOBER 12,  2000,  WHEN A SMALL CRAFT PULLED ALONGSIDE THE SHIP AND EXPLODED KILLING 17 U.S. SAILORS AND INJURING MANY MORE.  ATTACKING A U.S. 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 SEPTEMBER 11TH,  2001.  MOST THINK THIS WAS THE FIRST ATTACK AGAINST U.S. SOIL OR IN AMERICA.  HOW WRONG THEY ARE.  AMERICA HAS BEEN UNDER CONSTANT ATTACK SINCE 1979 AND WE CHOOSE TO HIT THE SNOOZE ALARM,  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 THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL TO SEE THE PATTERN THAT THAS BEEN DEVELOPING SINCE 1979.

 

THE PRESIDENT IS RIGHT ON WHEN HE SAYS WE ARE 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.”

 

DO THE MATH,  OVER 4,000 AMERICANS KILLED AND THOUSANDS MORE INJURED BY TERRORISTS.  AND,  SOME PEOPLE STILL THINK OUR ACTIONS IN THE MIDDLE EAST ARE WRONG.  GO FIGURE!

 

HERE WE GO AGAIN.  IN THE LAST TWO WEEKS PALISTINE,  RIYADH,  SAUDI ARABIA AND CASABLANCA - - - MORE KILLINGS.

 

IN CLOSING,  WE WILL HAVE A NEW GENERATION OF VETERANS THAT WILL BE COMING OFF ACTIVE DUTY.  IT IS A CHALLENGE FOR THE VETERANS’ ORGANIZATIONS TO WELCOME THEM WITH OPEN ARMS.  WE CAN DO MUCH FOR THEM.  THANK YOU.

 

                                   HERK SWANEY

 

THIS SPEECH WAS GIVEN BY CAPTAIN DAN OUIMETTE,  XO,  NAS PENSACOLA,  FLORIDA ON FEBRUARY 19TH  2003.

 

COLONEL HERK SWANEY,  USMC,  RETIRED,  GAVE THIS SPEECH AT THE MEMORIAL SERVICE,  VETERANS MEMORIAL CEMETARY,  SANTA ROSA,  CALIFORNIA ON MEMORIAL DAY,  MAY 26TH  2003. (WITH A FEW ADDITONS)

 

ADDENDUM:

DO NOT FORGET THE INCIDENTS JUST PRIOR TO THE NEW YEAR’S CELEBRATIONS OF JANUARY 1ST,  2000.  TERRORIST PLOTS WERE DISCOVERED JUST IN TIME.  IN SEATTLE A TERRORIST CELL WAS INTERCEPTED AS IT ATTEMPTED TO BRING EXPLOSIVES INTO THE U.S. WITH THE INTENT TO DESTROY LANDMARKS IN AMERICA, INCLUDING THE “SPACE NEEDLE”  IN SEATTLE AND THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE IN SAN FRANCISCO.   ANOTHER GROUP OF TERRORISTS WERE DISCOVERED IN THE NEW YORK / NEW JERSEY AREA.  THEIR MISSION:  TO DESTORY LANDMARKS AND CRIPPLE TRANSPORTATION IN THE NEW YORK CITY AREA.  THE TARGETS INCLUDED THE WORLD TRADE CENTER,  THE STATUE OF LIBERTY,  AS WELL AS TUNNELS AND BRIDGES IN THE LOWER MANHATTEN AREA.  FORTUNATELY THESE PLOTS WERE DISCOVERED AND THE TERRORISTS JAILED.  ONE OF THE MAJOR REASONS FOR THE 9/11 WORLD TRADE CENTER ATTACK WAS TO FORCE THE UNITED STATES TO RELEASE THE RINGLEADERS OF THESE PLOTS.  WE MUST NEVER GIVE IN TO TERRORISTS DEMANDS!!!  TO DO SO WILL ONLY ENCOURAGE THEM IN THEIR COWARDLY WAYS.

 

SEAN McDONALD,  FORMERLY SGT USMC 1966-1970 2ND BN, 9TH MARINES

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