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Jewish World Review Sept. 14, 2001 / 25 Elul, 5761

Michael Ledeen

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Who Killed Barbara Olson? -- WAY before yesterday there were three Barbaras, close as sisters, joined by their zest for life, their volcanic passions, their total commitment to their loved ones, their fearless work for freedom. Barbara Olson, Barbara Comstock, Barbara Ledeen. All three chose to fight for their convictions.

All three were singled out by the Left for slanderous attacks, dehumanizing slogans, the usual stereotypes. Had there been a feminist movement worthy of the name, they would have been its heroines; instead, because they rejected the fashionable causes, insisted on traditional virtue, fought limits on real choices, and relentlessly exposed the emptiness of the Leftist slogans, they became the feminists' targets.

Now there are two. And what a loss we have suffered. Barbara Olson was a life force, a protean woman who lived life as it is supposed to be lived, celebrating the good times to the full, enduring its worst moments with grim resolve, supporting her friends and allies at all times, taking the fight to her enemies with joyful enthusiasm. She had one of the quickest and finest minds in Washington. Married to one of the greatest attorneys of our time, she was the equal of anyone in legal and political debate. But above all, she was our Braveheart, leading us into battle with the cry of "Freeeeeedom," carrying the flag of proud independence.

Braveheart to the end, fighting to the last. She had the presence of mind and the force of will to call Ted from her doomed aircraft to ask, "What should I tell the pilot to do?" Unwilling to go quiet into the dark night she wanted marching orders, for herself and for the people around her. She would not cow in the rear of the plane and submit to the murderous instructions of her captors; she wanted to go down fighting.

Perhaps she did. A person from the White House told me that there is reason to believe that plane/bomb was intended for the presidential residence, not the Pentagon, and that something happened to make it swerve suddenly. I like to think that at the last, Barbara charged the cabin, survived the knife thrusts of the monsters, and hurled herself at the kamikaze pilot, putting the plane into a loop toward Virginia.

A great woman, a woman of immeasurable valor, who brought a singular light into our lives. To see Ted with her was to understand the power of an enduring love. He was so proud of her, so delighted by her, so totally overcome with her love for him, that he knew he was the luckiest of men.

The death of such a person cannot be accepted, cannot be digested and must be avenged. Her killers are many, from the evil men on the plane to their supporters and Svengalis around the world, to all those among us who dehumanize their political opponents and thereby facilitate the transition from the politics of personal destruction to the physical destruction of their opponents. She was killed by a fraudulent and arrogant establishment that pretended it was capable of providing our people with good security and our leaders with good intelligence. Why are they permitted to remain at their posts? And not least of all, she was killed by a corrupt elite that celebrates murder, provided that the killers hold the right views and slaughter those who are political lepers. "No Regrets for a Love of Explosives" babbles the New York Times headline atop a disgraceful puff piece on Weathermen killers that appeared on the day of Barbara Olson's murder.

My America, the real America, abhors these people, as Barbara did and as the two surviving Barbaras do. And, in the course of our revenge against the physical killers, the state sponsors, the sources of the money, the dance masters in the streets of the Middle East who reveled in our misery, the leaders of the Hate America and Kill the Jews crowd, we must retain our capacity for righteous indignation against those among us who bear a heavy moral responsibility for it.

If she were still here, Barbara would have led that charge. But there are plenty of us left.

JWR contributor Michael Ledeen is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of Tocqueville on American Character . Comment by clicking here.


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08/15/01: Bracing for war
08/09/01: More Dithering Democrats
08/02/01: Delirious Dems
07/31/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit, cont'd
07/19/01: Be careful what you wish for
07/17/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit
07/05/01: Let Slobo Go
05/30/01: Anybody out there afraid of the Republicans?
05/09/01: The bad guys to the rescue
05/07/01: Bye-bye, Blumenthal
04/20/01: Handling China
04/11/01: EXAM TIME!
04/05/01: Chinese over-water torture
03/27/01: Fighting AIDS in Africa is a losing proposition
03/14/01: Big Bird, Oscar, and other threats
03/09/01: Time for a good, old-fashioned purge
03/06/01: Powell’s great (mis)adventure
02/26/01: The Clinton Sopranos
02/20/01: Unity Schmoonity: Sharon is defying the will of the people
01/30/01: The Rest of the Rich Story
01/22/01: Ashcroft the Jew
01/11/01: A fitting close to the Clinton years
12/26/00: Continuing Clinton's shameful legacy
12/21/00: Clinton’s gift for Bush

© 2001, Michael Ledeen