Friday, August 21, 2009

Compare and Contrast 
When it looked like the Achille Lauro terrorists were going to go free - terrorists who had only killed a handful of people, Ronald Reagan dispatched the U.S. Navy to intercept the airplane flying them home, over international waters, forced the plane down, and brought them to justice.

At 5:30 P.M. on Thursday, October 10, President Reagan was aboard Air Force One, returning to Washington, D.C. from a speaking engagement in the Chicago area, when word reached him that the terrorists were getting away. He authorized the carrier USS Saratoga, patrolling the Adriatic Sea, to put seven F-14 Tomcats into the air. Their orders: divert the Egyptian aircraft to a NATO base at Sigonella, Sicily. The appearance of the Tomcats unnerved the EgyptAir pilot, who compliantly altered course for Sicily. He had no way of knowing that the American "top guns" had orders to refrain from shooting down the 737 without direct instructions from the president.

Initially the Italians were not disposed to cooperate, scrambling their own warplanes to prevent a landing at Sigonella, but after a call from Reagan, Italy's Prime Minister Bettino Craxi gave permission to land. The American plan was to load the Palestinians onto a U.S. military aircraft and transport them to the States. But when American troops encircled the 737 they found themselves surrounded in turn by Italian soldiers. Italy had decided that since the Achille Lauro was an Italian vessel, the hijackers should be tried in Italian courts. The terrorists faced charges of premeditated murder, kidnapping and hijacking. When Reagan called Craxi this time, the Italian leader wouldn't budge -- Abul Abbas and his cronies would remain in Italian hands. After Arafat threatened *uncontrollable reactions" if the Italians turned Abbas over to the Americans, Italy refused a U.S. request to extradite the terrorist leader. Abbas was soon freed. In 1986 the four hijackers were convicted and sentenced to long prison terms,

The American public emphatically approved of the bold mid-flight interception of the Achille Lauro terrorists. Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak decorated the 737 pilot and demanded an apology from the United States. Reagan vowed he would never apologize.

When Scotland let the Lockerbie bomber go free - an ogre who murdered hundreds - Obama, the Apologist-in-Chief, dispatched a letter expressing "disappointment."

Splash, out


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"When Italy let the Achille Lauro terrorists go free"

I think you meant to write when the Egyptians released them.

I was on duty in a Surveillance and Warning Center in Korea when the news of the interception came across. The ROKs were rather startled by the spontaneous cheering that broke out in what was normally a very quiet room.

And those that say that Sadaam had no connections to terrorism should research where "Mr" Abbas spent his last years. At least, in my mind, providing sanctuary is a "connection".
Fixed, thanks.
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