13. June 2005 · Comments Off on Pvt. Pimentel: Looking Over My Shoulder, Always · Categories: General, GWOT, Military

(Part 2 of 2)
The question was raised, that the American response to 9/11 has made Americans overseas very much less safe. But I contend that we were never very safe, before, even though American tourists, even the ones venturing into far places like Kashmir and Yemen could assure themselves confidently that they were, between 1970 and 2000. The occasional hijack, or airline bombing, well all that was just a sad case of being in the wrong place, or on the wrong flight at the wrong time. American military and state department employees could never, ever draw that cosy illusion around themselves like a fluffy comforter, thanks to the constant trickle of incidents such as this:

Item: 19 June 1985. Four off-duty Marines assigned to the American Embassy in San Salvador are murdered by local terrorists, while sitting at a table at a sidewalk café. They were in civilian clothes at the time.

Item: 5 April 1986. An explosion at a nightclub in Berlin popular with American service personnel kills three and injures 191. Two of the dead and 41 of the wounded are service personnel. The Libyan government is held responsible.

Item: 5 September 1986. Abu Nidal terrorists hijack a Karachi/Frankfurt Pan Am flight, and divert it to Cypress, demanding the freedom for three convicted murderers in exchange for the lives of the passengers. They eventually kill 22 of them, including two Americans.

Item: 9 September-21 October 1986: Three American citizens, two of them associated with the American University in Beirut are kidnapped. Two of them are held for 5 years by Hisbollah.

Item: 20 October 1987. An Air Force NCO and a retiree are murdered just outside Clark AB, in the Philippines.

Item: 27 December 87. An American civilian employee is killed in the bombing of the USO Club in Barcelona, Spain.

Item: 17 February 1988: Colonel William Higgins, USMC, while serving as part of the United Nations Truce Supervisory Organization in Lebanon, was abducted by Hisbollah. The US refused to negotiate, and Colonel Higgins was excecuted.

Item: 28 June 1988, a defense attaché to the American Embassy in Athens, US Navy Captain William Nordeen is murdered by the N-17 terrorist group, using a car bomb

Item: 21 December 1988. Pan American Flight 103, from Frankfurt to New York, was blown up over Scotland by agents of the government of Libya. Most of the 259 passengers are Americans. Another 11 people are killed on the ground.

Item: 21 April- 26 September 1989. An American army officer is assassinated in Manila, and two military retirees are murdered just outside the gates of Clark AB, the Philippines.

Item: 13 May 1990. Two young enlisted men are found murdered, outside Clark AB, the Philippines.

Item: 7-18 February 1991: Members of a far-leftist Turkish group kill an American civilian contractor at Incirlik AB, and wound an Air Force officer at his home in Izmir.

Item: 12 March 91: Air Force NCO, Ronald Stewart is killed by a car bomb in front of his house, in Athens, by the N-17 group.

Item: 28 October 1991. An American soldier is killed, and his wife wound by a car bomb at a joint Turkish-American base in Ankara. The Turkish Islamic Jihad claims responsibility. at October 28, 1991, Ankara, Turkey. Victor Marwick, an American soldier serving at the Turkish-American base, Tuslog, was killed and his wife wounded in a car bomb attack. Two more car bombs in Istanbul kill an Air Force NCO, and an Egyptian diplomat. The Turkish Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Item: 5 July 1992. In a series of incidents in southeastern Turkey, the Kurdish PKK kidnaps 19 Western tourists, including one American. They are all eventually released unharmed.

Item: 26 February 1993. A bomb in a café in downtown Cairo kills three. Two Americans are among the injured.

Item: 8 March 1995 Two gunmen armed with AK-47s open fire on a van belonging to the US Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan. Two embassy staffers are killed, one injured.

Item: 4 July 1995. A Kashmiri militant group takes six tourists, including two Americans hostage, demanding the release of Muslim militants held in Indian prisions. One of the Americans escapes, and the militants execute a Norwegian hostage. Both the American and Indian governments refuse to deal. It is assumed the rest of the hostages were killed in 1996 by their captors.

Item: 13 November 1995. A car bomb in the parking lot of a building that houses a US military advisory group in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia kills seven person, five of them American citizens.

Item: 25 June 1996. An explosive-laden fuel truck explodes outside the Khobar Towers housing facility in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. 19 American military personnel are killed, and 515 persons are injured. A group identified as the Saudi Hizbollah is held responsible.

Item: 12 November 1997. Four American employees of an oil company and their Pakistani driver are murdered by two unidentified gunmen, as they leave the Sheraton Hotel in Karachi, Pakistan.
Item: 7 August 1998. Car bombs explode at the US Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, and at the US Embassy in Dar es Sala’am, Tanzania. 292 are killed in Nairobi, including 12 Americans and injured over 5,000. The Dar es Sala’am explosion kills 11 and injures 86. Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network claims responsibility.

Item: 28 December 1998. Sixteen tourists, including two Americans are kidnapped in Yemen. One hostage and a Yemeni guide escaped, and four hostages were later killed when local authorities closed in.

Item: 12 October 2000. A small boat laden with explosives rammed the USS Cole. The explosion kills 13 sailors and injures 33.

A day or so after 9/11, a State department employee mused on a Slate thread, that well, now everyone else knew what it was like to live with the threat, and the aftermath of terrorist acts. Everyone else on the thread immediately jumped all over him for inappropriate schadenfreude, but my daughter and I rather agreed. 9/11 was huge, was horrendous… but in a way, to some of us, it was already something familiar. We had already been there, for a long, long time.

And about Private Edward Pimentel? He was a young soldier, disco-hopping and having a good time. He was seen leaving a club with a young woman who was later identified as a member of the Red Army Faction. His body was found within a day or so; it was noted in the military newspaper Stars & Stripes, that he was murdered specifically for his military ID card, which may have been used by the Red Army Faction to get a car bomb into a well-guarded Rhein-Main AB in 1985.

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