Where Is the Evidence? [Archives:1998/34/Viewpoint]

August 24 1998

On August 20th, American President Bill Clinton ordered the bombing of a medicine manufacturing plant in Khartoum, Sudan, and six sites in Afghanistan. The objective was to hit back at terrorists. Many innocent civilians were killed in those raids.
Question: Where is the evidence?
I do not want to argue the legality of the US administration’s decision to take the law in its own hands by acting alone – contrary to international law – and attacking sovereign nations that are members of the UN. The US action is presented simply as an effort to avenge itself of terrorists or to “defend its interests” as Sandy Burger said. But at the very least, the world community wants evidence that the American war machine is used to punish real terrorists.
No evidence was produced. US President Bill Clinton says he has “compelling information” that alleged groups were allegedly planning attacks against US interests.
Now that is far-fetched.
Question: What have the raids achieved?
Little has been achieved in terms of delivering a “crippling blow” to alleged terrorists. Actually, other than demolishing a few buildings and killing several innocent civilians, the raids did little more. In fact, the US administration does not really know the full impact of the raids.
On the other hand, the attacks have increased the hatred for Americans among the Sudanese, Afghani and other Muslims. It has increased the resolve to make American life more difficult whenever and wherever possible.
It has shown that the US administration finds Arab and Muslim blood easy to spill, as it does not feel it can be held accountable for it.
Question: Who do we believe?
The US administration says it has “compelling information” about the drug plant and the sites in Afghanistan. Yet, no evidence is offered. Two of the Afghani camp bombed on August 20th were actually built by the Americans in their support of the Mujahideen in the early 1980s. The Sudanese government has invited the UN Security Council to send an investigation mission to determine the truth. The Council will probably address this in an urgent session tomorrow, Tuesday, August 24th.

I believe 3 factors were at play in the American decision.
First, there is a preponderant influence of Jewish Americans in the present administration. These people have a problem with Arabs and Muslims, and therefore, they tend to push US policy to an inimical position.
Second, there is a feeling that Arabs and Muslims can be killed without worrying about paying the price. The Americans had earlier bombed Libya. They later found out that the accusation they had used was not correct.
Third, President Clinton, deeply disgraced and humiliated by the Monica Lewinsky revelations, must have felt he needed an issue to divert media focus and to rally support at home.
I think the American administration has acted hastily on this matter. If it has proof, it is important to present it to the world. Without proof, it is hard to accept that American military muscle can be used to kill people, and indiscriminately, at that. The US cannot simply accuse, and proceed to kill.
Prof. Dr. Abdulaziz AL-SAQQAF
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher