Oklahoma Bombing & World Opinion
Date: Thu, 4 May 95 19:20:52 PDT
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Subject: Oklahoma Bombing & World Opinion
Forwarded-by: Sheila Brown <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Forwarded-by: christine kotek <email@example.com>
OKLAHOMA BOMBING: TERRORISM, "MADE IN THE USA"
(World Opinion Roundup) (3060)
(Foreign analysts have commented extensively on the apprehension of
right-wing militant Americans as suspects in the bombing of the
federal building in Oklahoma City and President Clinton's rapid
marshaling of the resources of the federal government to aid the
victims and pursue the investigation.
(Many media outlets praised President Clinton for his handling of the
situation. Commentators in Muslim countries were relieved at the
revelation that their coreligionists appear not to have been involved
in the attack. They lauded President Clinton's efforts to avoid
accusing any group without clear evidence. Here are excerpts from
some of the editorial comments from around the world.)
BBC TV's Breakfast news aired this lead report by Wesley Kerr from
Oklahoma (4/24): "Amid the national mourning, America's leaders
signalled a tough clampdown on the extreme right-wing forces
apparently responsible for the country's worst act of terrorism....The
Clinton administration has handled this crisis and criminal
investigation with firmness."
The centrist Independent said (4/24), "Signs are growing that the
Oklahoma City bomb outrage may have important political repercussions
in the United States, both for the fire-breathing world of
conservative talk radio, and for the radical Republicanism the talk
show hosts so venerate....Its crude pro-gun, anti-government rhetoric,
many claim, may have been taken too literally by the men who destroyed
the Alfred P. Murrah building, killing scores of government
The conservative Times noted (4/24), "The Oklahoma bombing has
resolved for good the question President Clinton was forced to
confront during a White House press conference the previous night --
was he still relevant as a political leader? From the moment the bomb
went off, Americans looked to him, not to Newt Gingrich or Robert
Dole, to rally the nation and articulate their anger and grief. It
was he who ordered the biggest manhunt in U.S. history, and he who
devoted all available federal resources to the search for
survivors....Mr. Clinton has used this unexpected opportunity well,
coming across as angry but resolute and very much in charge...."
Centrist Stuttgarter Zeitung and Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger carrying an
editorial by Washington correspondent Juergen Koar (4/24), "This is a
new shock for the American people....Terrorism is not only an import
article, brought into the country by evil foreigners, but is also
'Made in the USA.'...
"The real challenge to the American people now, however, consists of
fending off attacks on their open, freedom-loving society without
overreacting.... The fact is that violence is rampant in the United
States, that conflicts are all too often resolved with the help of a
Right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin in a front-page editorial by
Manfred Rowold (4/24): "The attack, which was obviously aimed at the
federal power in Washington, will contribute to a strengthening rather
than a weakening of the central authorities."
Private TV TF-1 commented (4/22), "The fact that the attack stems from
domestic extremism makes the Americans think about their own values.
And that is very worrisome for them today."
A commentary in conservative Le Figaro (4/24): "After the Oklahoma
bombing, the U.S. administration will certainly be tempted to root out
militias. Paranoid, these groups are probably expecting it."
Foreign affairs writer Roger Huisman observed in conservative Catholic
Het Belang van Limburg (4/24), "The de-facto state of siege, which has
existed since the explosion on Wednesday, has restored Clinton fully
in his function and has shown him as the real leader in the United
"Oklahoma will be a core issue in next year's presidential elections
and Clinton's Republican opponents will be careful in their attacks
against the federal government. Their message that the state is a
bogeyman who is only seeking to cheat the citizen and to patronize him
will sound like hollow rhetoric."
The leading Toronto Globe and Mail commented (4/21), "The real
question in Oklahoma City is not why it happened but why it did not
happen before....The reason is simple: Such mass attacks are not very
effective...they seldom force governments to change their
policies....The IRA learned this lesson the hard
way...discredited....There will of course, be other attacks like this
week's bombing. But if civilized governments are implacable, and
smart, they will win out in the end. Terror can be beaten. Ask the
The liberal Montreal Gazette opined (4/21), "Fortress America is
vulnerable....Having emerged from the shadow of the Cold War nuclear
threat, Western society seems suddenly so vulnerable to a different
evil: A random act of savagery that can occur anywhere at any time.
It is, in some ways, even scarier."
Barbara Kramzar said in left-of-center, independent Republika (4/24),
"The ideas supported by McVeigh and a part of the Michigan militia are
also a reflection of the rightist political philosophy that is more
and more (predominant) in the United States....It has to be said that
ideas of the American political right...increasingly influence
political and everyday life in the United States. Radio speakers of
the Rush Limbaugh type...with their undisguised hatred for everything
left of center, are very influential on the American political
stage....They advocate the very ideas which McVeigh carried out so
Center-left El Mundo commented (4/24), "The Japanese terrorist threat
on Disneyland underscores how defenseless open, free societies are
against this type of action which is much more difficult to combat
than the danger presented by a conventional military enemy. It is not
only a question of public order...but also of education because the
birthplace of many sects can be found in ignorance and lack of
In the view of Hasan Cemal on mass-appeal Sabah's page one (4/24),
"The bomb...in Oklahoma City proved that the richest and strongest
country also has its share of terrorism....Another strong and rich
country, Japan, is experiencing terrorism....Terrorism has already
become a part of our daily life (in Turkey)....Terrorism is
universal....All of humanity must cooperate to fight against this
random insanity....There no longer should be rhetoric on international
and bilateral cooperation against terrorism."
Deputy managing editor Assem El Quersh wrote for pro-government
Al-Ahram (4/23), "Many in the American press and TV networks received
a cold shower and were forced to swallow their tongues, and to
withdraw all their 'assurances' and the lengthy reports that were made
about 'rogue' Middle Eastern Arabs."
In a most unusual move, leading independent Al-Watan (4/23) displayed
prominently on its editorial page an opinion piece printed in English
by Saif Abbas Abdulla, chairman of the Department of Political Science
at Kuwait University. He said, "It is the moral and legal duty of
those civilized members of world community, and those who are the
proponents of democracy, liberty and happiness to stand firm beside
the United States in hunting and capturing the perpetrators of this
cowardly act....And as the Americans say: When the going gets tough,
the tough get going. For God's sake, don't try to test the Americans.
(It) will blow up in your faces."
Influential, internationally-circulated Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (4/21)
pointed out, "The U.S. government in the late '80s announced the war
against terrorism as one of its top foreign policy priorities, but
since that time not much has been done to develop a policy and the
necessary mechanisms to deal with this danger."
"Where Does Freedom Of Expression End?" Both Al-Sharq Al-Awsat and
its English-language companion, the Arab News (4/22) ran this
editorial: "Should freedom of expression include the freedom to incite
people to terror and violence in the name of political lies? The
United States and Britain truly need to clean up their acts in this
respect before they can lecture anyone else about the merits of their
own system of government. It is important for both peoples to realize
that terrorism begins with verbal violence, its main arms being
scandalous lies, before it eventually manifests itself through death
"U.S. Media Totally Unobjective," Government-supported Tishreen (4/24)
opined. "The reality is that after the United States dismissed the
possibility of any involvement by the countries in the Middle East or
by its citizens in the incident, and after official accusations were
made against two white Americans, some Western media instruments
continued to hold Islamic movements responsible for the explosion...."
Moderate, pro-PLO Al-Quds's editorial held (4/24), "Many officials and
media people in the West and in the United States in particular rushed
to blame Arabs and Muslims for the bombing....This comes as part of
the vicious media campaign against Arabs and Muslims which started
years ago to replace the vacuum left by the Soviet Union after its
The right-wing Jerusalem Post said (4/24), "No one can better
understand and sympathize with the feelings of Americans at a time
like this than the people of Israel....Almost half a century ago, the
Jewish Agency building and Ben-Yehuda Street in Jerusalem were
devastated by (explosive-laden) cars....Americans can hardly be blamed
for assuming that Muslim fanatics were responsible for the bombing.
The World Trade Center bombing by such fanatics, intended to produce
even more casualties, used an identical technique...."
Independent Maariv pointed out (4/24), "Bill and Hillary Clinton's
reaction to the Oklahoma City bombing was apt, timely and -- most
importantly -- genuine."
The independent Pioneer's editorial (4/22) reflected the view of many
papers: "President...Clinton...has struck the right note by cautioning
against jumping to conclusions through being influenced by 'Middle
Eastern stereotypes.'...While the United States takes the moral high
road in its crusade against terrorism, it should turn its attention to
Pakistan, which along with Sudan, has become a major exporter of
terror. If it manages to rein in its client state, a good part of the
battle against terrorism would be over."
The English-language Tehran Times maintained (4/22), "Let it be known
that to take up arms when all doors for peaceful solution have been
shut is not the same as malicious, indiscriminate acts of terrorism."
In an editorial (4/24), the center-right Nation opined, "The
bombing...deserves to be condemned in the strongest possible terms as
a mindless act of terror. But the incident has served to highlight
aspects of the American state and society's reaction to the event
which should give pause for thought. The initial knee-jerk reaction
which ascribed blame for the incident, without evidence or
justification, to Muslims, specifically of Middle Eastern origins,
smacks of a paranoid state of mind that lumps all such people in the
category of 'terrorists.'..."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
According to the business-oriented Australian Financial Review (4/24),
"The fetishist hatred of government as innately evil, which is the
glue that holds America's right wing together, appears to have been
the motive for last week's despicable attack in Oklahoma City. But
the excessive enthusiasm of the bombers represents a difference in
degree, rather than substance, (from the) inflammatory rantings of the
right-wing gurus like Limbaugh, Robertson and even allegedly
mainstream politicians like Newt Gingrich....
"It will be interesting to watch America's pro-gun, anti-government
gurus running away from the Michigan militia over the next few
days....Those in American public life who parrot the gutless and
expedient claptrap about the fundamental right to keep and bear arms,
and brand as satanic any government effort to disarm political
extremists will need to examine their consciences in the wake of last
Under the headline,"The United States Has Many Troubles, Forces of the
Extreme Right Go On The Rampage," official Wenhui Daily's Washington
Correspondent Zhu Xinfu wrote (4/24), "The media here hold that the
present U.S. society is disintegrating into a condition of extreme
freedom and the extreme right. In the future, the constant occurrence
of violent acts similar to the Oklahoma bombing will be unavoidable.
At present, American society is turning to the right and is thus
creating more extreme rightists. They are more terrible than
The independent English-language Eastern Express held (4/24), "In the
United States, where the freedom to carry guns has been more
vigorously defended this century than freedom of thought, weapons of
mass destruction are available over the counter and even by mail
order. Even moderate, liberal Americans can be found to support this
'right'. The probability that they may now have to live under
increased security...may cause some to re-examine these values....This
is not a disease confined to one country, but it has come to the
nation that thought itself immune. The United States must search its
soul if it hopes to find a cure."
The independent, English-language Jakarta Post's editorial (4/24)
remarked, "Hopefully, the Oklahoma bombing will shake the world
community enough to bring about...tough, concerted actions. Not just
to wage a war against any terrorist or potential terrorist movement
but also to dig into the very roots of the problem, to prevent the
world's society and system from producing other misfits....But we
believe this problem is as important than the more widely publicized
ongoing 'landmark' international conference on the NPT in New York
The government-controlled Philippine Journal's editorial (4/23)
stressed, "President Ramos' proposal for an international conference
on terrorism...is well taken, urgent and timely. Indeed, it has
assumed a new sense of urgency with the recent terrorist bombing...in
Oklahoma City....The president made the proposal in a letter to
President Clinton in which he also condemned the terrorist attack."
A moderate Hankook Ilbo commentary noted (4/24): "Less than 48 hours
after the bombing, the FBI arrested a suspect who, all evidence shows,
must have done it. The agency's high-tech, systematic investigation
made the speedy arrest possible."
An anti-establishment Hankyoreh Shinmun commentary maintained (4/23),
"President Clinton welcomed the speedy investigation of the Oklahoma
bombing. In spite of the success of the investigation, costs to him
are going to increase. This incident proved that antagonistic
feelings against the president himself and his policies are
The lead editorial of the English-language, independent Nation (4/24)
commented, "For the world, the lesson from the Oklahoma bombing and
the Tokyo gas attacks would seem to be that no country, even the most
developed or civilized, is immune from terrorism. For America, where
the debate about individual rights, and in particular the right to
bear arms, has always been fiercely fought, a new look needs to be
taken at when the right to free speech and association begins to
impinge on the common citizen's right to be free of fear. Surely when
paramilitary groups and gun holders are free to maintain and possess
potentially awesome destructive powers, something is askew."
Port Harcourt's independent Daily Sunray (4/24) held, "Last week's
bombing in Oklahoma was a most savage act. It must be condemned in
the strongest possible terms. The bombing raises the question: Is the
world about to return to the seventies, when groups like the Red
Brigades, Red Army faction, the Baader-Meinhoff Gang, Black September
and loose cannons like Carlos, terrorized the world almost at will?..."
The government-owned Times of Zambia said (4/21), "The American
government...may not be blameless. But there is nothing that can ever
justify so outrageous an action....It is time the whole world awoke to
the dangers posed by terrorism and eschewed that it is directed
LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN
Top-circulation Clarin (4/21) in its feature editorial, said, "Now
that a threatening shadow of a new indiscriminate terrorism falls over
the planet, it is essential to take from historical sources the goals
and energy to confront the difficult challenge."
Readers of center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo (4/21) saw this
editorial: "Strictly speaking, to kill indiscriminately and wholesale,
a trained organization with foreign financing is no longer necessary.
It's enough to have determined or unbalanced individuals, isolated or
in groups, disposed to do it, and the conditions will be easily within
their reach....It is no longer possible to prevent attacks of this
kind. But it is possible, by means of scientific investigation, to
get to their perpetrators....The rigor of the law and swift justice
are the remedies of the civilized world against the barbarism and
savagery of terrorism."
Influential, conservative, business-oriented Estrategia (4/24) opined,
"The world received with horror, indignation and pain the news of the
bombing attack against a federal building in Oklahoma City....
"Unquestionably, in the face of such brutal actions, regardless of
their origin or intention, it is essential that the full force of the
law be applied and that the international community act together to
end the scourge of terrorism. It is very important that the United
States, with the collaboration and support of all countries, acts
forcefully to resolve this condemnable event and punishes, as
examples, those responsible, in a manner that will insure that events
of this sort are not repeated."
Liberal Party-oriented El Tiempo (4/21) said in an editorial, "In this
thing about car bombs, we Colombians have travelled a long and painful
road....That is why we understand, live and feel the pain of the
inhabitants of a city that is beautiful, quiet and far away from the
barbaric use of criminal devices, motivated by despicable minds.
"For this reason, with the moral support of having suffered attacks
like the one in Oklahoma...we Colombians can ask the American people
to understand the difficulties that our country faces in the fight
against drug trafficking."
Top-circulation, conservative La Prensa (4/21) asserted outraged
solidarity with the American people in this editorial: "The human
community expresses its indignation at the cowardice displayed by
these agents of terror, and at the complacency with which some
governments submit so willingly to terrorist extortion."
© 1995 Peter Langston