With unrest at home, an economic slump and two wars in the Middle East, our 21st century America faces several challenges. Among the most prominent is the ever-present threat of terrorism.
On September 27, 1972, President Richard Nixon issued a statement in regard to the evils of what he referred to as “savagery” and “anarchy” just weeks after the murder of Israeli Olympians in Munich by PLO terrorists. Written twenty-nine years before the devastating 9/11 terror attacks, RN’s statement could have easily been released by the Bush White House.
“If the world cannot unite in opposition to terror, if we cannot establish some simple ground rules to hold back the perimeters of lawlessness, if, in short, we cannot act to defend the basic principles of national sovereignty in our own individual interests,” declared President Nixon, “then upon what foundations can we hope to establish international comity?”
In the statement, the President went on to announce the creation of a Cabinet-level Committee to Combat Terrorism, the first anti-terrorism committee of its kind. Chaired by Secretary of State William Rogers, the committee aimed to maximize all necessary resources in the country and abroad to defeat even the most covert terrorists.
In the process, the President confronted an all-too-common myth about terrorism: “There are those that would tell us that terror is the last resort of the weak and oppressed, a product of despair in an age of indifference, and that it seeks only political justice. This is nonsense.”
“The way to seek justice is through negotiation.” Bold aphorisms like this were characteristic of RN. There is little doubt of a direct correlation between this bold statement and the Administration’s negotiations with a handful of countries, many of which had not been friendly with the United States (including China and the Soviet Union).
The ultimatum: “The world is reaching out for peace. The way may be hard and treacherous, but men of reason and decency are determined today, as perhaps never before, to make the effort.” In our global age, it may be wise to consider RN’s words, and “not be disrupted or turned away by those who would loose anarchy upon the world,” nor seek “accommodations with savagery, but rather act to eliminate it.”
Photo: A Black September Terrorist on the roof Israeli Olympic headquarters in Munich, Germany. The PLO terror group killed 11 Israeli athletes. Two weeks later, RN formed the Cabinet-level Committee to Combat Terrorism.