Wednesday, February 19, 2003

The return of the anti-abortion terrorists

Here's a disturbing trend:

Plot to attack clinic detailed
A Ku Klux Klan leader charged with firearms violations told an undercover informant that he had converted his car into a suicide bomb, authorities said yesterday.

David Hull, 40, of Amwell, Washington County, was arrested last week by federal agents who said he built pipe bombs and had attempted to obtain hand grenades for an abortion clinic bombing.

Police: Woman fired on abortion clinic
Police charged a Cherokee County woman with misdemeanor damage to real property Thursday after she was accused of firing a .12-gauge shotgun into an Asheville abortion clinic. No one was injured.

Both Asheville police and FBI agents have questioned Murphy resident Brenda Kaye Phillips, 44, about the early morning shooting at Femcare, 62 Orange St. in Asheville.

Four years ago, police discovered a partially exploded bomb outside the same clinic.

Many of us who have observed the Bush administration's wink-and-nudge act with anti-abortion activists have feared that it would eventually encourage the extremists among them -- who largely were quiet during the 2000 campaign and have been largely subdued since then -- to resume their former activities. That may be starting to happen.

Other Republicans in key positions have made plain that the domestic terrorism engaged in by the American right would not be viewed as part of Bush's "war on terrorism." Florida Republican Porter J. Goss, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, explicitly said so during hearings on the Sept. 11 attacks.

"The trouble is, 'terrorism' is a very broad word, and it lends itself to a lot of mischief for people who would abuse common sense," Goss said. He then cited bombings of abortion clinics. "To me, that's not the kind of terrorism I'm talking about."

"That's criminal law enforcement," Goss said. "But it would fit most broad definitions of terrorism because the purpose [of those attacks] is to scare people."

Of course, the primary purpose of the 2001 anthrax attacks -- which are widely understood to be acts of terrorism -- clearly also was to scare people, but that point appears to have eluded Goss and the rest of the Republicans.

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