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Our Finest Hour By: Scott E. Rutter
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, January 05, 2004


With regard to terror and safety; let there be no doubt that we as Americans are better off today than we were one year ago. We are on the offense and are taking a stand. Individuals that are part of terror networks and working to attack our country are currently being caught before their acts are committed. The recent communication intercepts and coordination with French Intelligence resulting in the cancellation of several commercial airline flights on Christmas Day is a testament to our aggressive efforts to protect our citizens before horrific acts are committed. We must continue to move forward ever so carefully to protect our freedoms and privacy. The words of President John F. Kennedy, "The mere absence of war is not necessarily peace," signify the thought process and prescription for us as Americans to adhere to as we continue our efforts to reduce and avoid terrorist acts in our back yard and around the world.

The removal of Saddaam Hussein and his regime of terror as well as the Taliban in Afghanistan was a necessary ingredient in our efforts to counter terror. Our success in Iraq will once and for all prevent future atrocities by a brutal tyrant against the Iraqi people. One cannot argue that intelligence proved that we were justified in believing that weapons of mass destruction and chemical munitions were available to Saddam Hussein and could be used against innocent people as has been done in the past. Each and every day a new thread to the global terror network is identified, which either originated or passed through the defunct Iraqi Regime.

Once and for all this belligerent regime in Iraq is gone. The lack of foresight of then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell to exploit the opportunity to destroy the Iraqi regime in 1991 during Desert Storm resulted in a decade of meaningless and wasted diplomatic efforts of the Clinton administration and the fruitless spending of American taxpayer dollars. Then, we should have continued on to Baghdad. I saw first hand the effects of ten years of physical and mental neglect of a generation of children. Thousands of people were killed indiscriminately without due process of law. In 1991 my company was responsible for securing the final peace negotiation site, Safwan Airfield in Southern Iraq. After 100 hours of ruthless combat with minimal casualties, I wondered why we held back and didn’t go the distance. Because of our misstep, the world Saddam Hussein from continued its reign of torture and the network of terror strengthened. Had we been more aggressive and recognized the severity of the threat, September 11th 2001 may have never happened.

One cannot argue the fact that intelligence proved that we were justified in invading Iraq. All sources of intelligence and a preponderance of the evidence stated that weapons of mass destruction and chemical munitions were available and could be used against innocent people or as a terrorist threat. President Bush rose to the occasion to once and for all remove this clear and present danger from the free world. We watched as other ‘friends’ deserted our efforts for fear of retaliation or monetary gain. France, Germany, Russia and many others found excuses. Great Britain, Spain and Australia clearly understood the risk of retreat. The liberation of Iraq was a brilliant and necessary act of initiative that demonstrated to the world that we as Americans, and our great allies, are united in our commitment to the protection of free people and the promotion of democracy our founding fathers envisioned.

Our efforts must continue to be on the offense to find terrorist cells before they target our vulnerabilities. Our intelligence models and analysis must target high payoff areas that remain vulnerable to terrorist attacks. We must continue to develop our protection infrastructure to mitigate the threat against these vulnerabilities. We must work shoulder to shoulder with our allies to ferret out these Al Qaeda vermin. Our counter terror campaign will demonstrate our will to maintain stability in these delicate times. The result will protect future generations from these evils. We are only now beginning to see the second and third order effects that are the result of our Commander in Chief’s efforts in our aggressive campaign. Information from our efforts directly impacted Muammar Gaddafi and his Libyan regime to concede its efforts to harbor and develop banned weapons.

We must continue to support our allies in the Middle East in their movements to support freedom and democratic ideals and to prevent atrocities directed against innocent women and children. The dominos are now falling in a productive direction as we develop and expand human intelligence collections efforts at the international and domestic spheres.

Our military and the American people have once again proven themselves to be mutually supportive of each other. At this very moment, our service members and members of the intelligence community continue their efforts in the War on Terror. Whether along the North and South Korean border, in Afghanistan or aboard reconnaissance aircraft collecting vital information in the Philippines these Americans proudly serve. We must not give in.

U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Scott E. Rutter is a Philadelphia native and a highly decorated combat commander from both Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. He is a former Senior Intelligence Officer in the Defense Intelligence Agency. In addition to his deployments in the Middle East he served forward deployed in South Korea from 1997 until 1999.


U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Scott E. Rutter, a speaker for Young America’s Foundation, is a Philadelphia native and a highly decorated combat commander from both Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. He is a former Senior Intelligence Officer in the Defense Intelligence Agency. In addition to his deployments in the Middle East he served forward deployed in South Korea from 1997 until 1999.


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