October 2, 2001 | WebMemo on National Security and Defense

James A. Phillips on Terrorism

James A. Phillips, Heritage research fellow, has more than two decades experience examining foreign policy and security issues. Compiled below are some of Phillips's quotes from newspapers and television programs since the September 11 attacks on the United States.

On the attacks...

"In the 90's we began to have indiscriminate, mass killings designed to shake the system to its core. They are ideologically or religiously motivated, unlike the national causes of the 80's, and most involve friends or associates of bin Laden."
-- The New York Times, September 12, 2001

It's too soon to judge the performance of the intelligence community. "Right now, it leaps out more as a failure of domestic airline security."
-- Newsday, September 13, 2001

"The fact that they chose a World Trade Center, which has been hit before, leads me to believe maybe they wanted to finish the job that was done in February 1993, that killed six and injured more than 1,000."
-- Washington Times editorial, September 13, 2001

On Osama bin Laden, who is believed to direct and finance 3,000 to 5,000 Muslim militants around the world...

Bin Laden hates the United States "because of our values. His terrorism is not meant to affect our policies as much as shake our confidence in ourselves, shake the confidence others have in us and help pave the way for a radicalization of the entire Muslin world."
-- USA Today, September 13, 2001

"He's kind of the sugar daddy of terrorism."
-- The Boston Herald, September 15, 2001

"Bin Laden represents the fringe of the fringe."
-- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 16, 2001

On terrorist cells...

"Usually, the local people aren't aware of what the broader aims - or maybe they just know a tiny part of the operation. But they're orchestrated by a guiding hand, who often leaves the country before the terrorist attack occurs."
-- NBC Nightly News, September 13, 2001

On the Taliban...

"Washington should develop a broad regional strategy to uproot the Taliban regime ... in cooperation with Afghanistan's neighbors and Afghan opposition groups."
-- AFX (Asia) wire, September 14, 2001

On Afghanistan...

"A lot of these people went home and tried to adapt what they learned in Afghanistan. Their goal is to replace what they see as corrupt Muslim governments. That is why there was a wave of terrorism throughout the Middle East in the early 1990s. ... Afghanistan is the vanguard and the incubator for radical Islamic revolutionaries. The Taliban made bin Laden dangerous because it gave him a place to hole up. ... It is a virus, a transnational pan-Islamic revolutionary movement."
-- The Washington Times, September 14, 2001

On Iran and Libya...

[I] would be "extremely suspicious" that countries such as Iran and Libya could make a positive contribution to the proposed coalition. [I] might change my mind "if they would be willing to offer bases. That would be proof they would be serious in helping us stage possible air strikes."
-- Associated Press, September 15, 2001

On U.S. vulnerability...

"We've had so many wake-up calls and we've always hit the snooze alarm. I don't think the threat of terrorism has been given high enough priority. ... It's been studied and studied and nobody's been paying attention. ... The United States should not seek retribution without evidence of culpability, of course. But neither should it burden itself with establishing guilt for international terrorist attacks 'beyond a reasonable doubt.'"
-- St. Petersburg (Florida) Times, September 17, 2001

About the Author

James Phillips Senior Research Fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs
Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign and National Security Policy