by drlimerick, Wed Feb 22, 2006 at 05:29:35 AM EST
President Ronald Reagan, June 18, 1985, during the TWA 847 hijacking crisis:
Q. Mr. President, you've said repeatedly during your administration, as you've said tonight, that you can't give in to terrorism. But each time that we've had one of these incidents, such as the case of the marines who died in Beirut, there had been a lot of talk from the administration but no action. Is there any danger that terrorists in the Middle East might get the feeling that the U.S. bark is worse than its bite and that they can do these things with impunity knowing we won't retaliate?
The President. Well, I hope not. But again, let me just point out to you in that incident, a man who committed the crime--or men--I don't know how many were in the truck--they're gone. . . . Now, how do you establish a connection between them and someone else? Was there someone else that set them on their way--you have no way of knowing. So, again, as I say, you're left with only one form of retaliation and that is if you just aim in the general direction and kill some people, well, then, you're a terrorist, too.
Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, et al., in a nutshell.