The bomb aboard Flight 840 took only four lives, far fewer than the 166 people who died two days earlier when a Mexican jetliner crashed into a mountainside in central Mexico, but it was one of the most chilling episodes in the generation-old saga of airborne terrorism. The bombing demonstrated that neither governments nor airlines have yet found the means to make air travelers safe from terrorist attacks.Emphasis added to point out a familiar phrase phased out in 2009 (and now another iteration) by the reset crew in a meager hope to change hearts and minds. So if anyone tells you it was Bush's rhetoric that spawned terrorism they are simply forgetting their history.
Nor was there any sense that the war against terrorism was being won on the ground.
Some will never forget. Three of the four murdered Americans were sucked out through the bomb hole as the Boeing 727 descended through 11,000 feet for Athens, Greece on a short-hop from Rome. A coroner later found they were possibly alive all the way to the ground. A Lebanese woman was accused of placing a micro bomb under seat 10F on the preceding flight but was never convicted.
While popular wisdom says that terrorism ramped up after the 1993 WTC bombing or September 11, the mid 80s were probably the most active decade in the last few. At the time the left accused Reagan of ramping it up because like Bush 43, he took an aggressive stance (at least for awhile). Bush 41 was more careful but he also took the offensive, and the attacks continued. Obama appears to have a more passive strategy similar to Clinton's--perhaps sneakier due to his awesome smartness and Chicago cunning--but the result will likely be the same until Israel is removed from the Middle East. For starters.
As to 840, depending on sources the attack was either carried out by the Abu Nidal Organization, whose founder met his death in Baghdad shortly before the invasion, or by the 15 May Organization, whose leader Abu Ibrahim is still alive and was last seen in Iraq. Anyone see the common thread? Ibrahim is a master bomb-maker and was credited with devising micro-seat bombs, of which TWA 840 likely encountered.
Coincidentally, the bomber of the WTC in 93 was experimenting with micro-bombs and used one on Philippine Airlines 434 in 1994. Ramzi Yousef's uncle also had a plan to use them on 11 trans-pacific flights in the mid 90s--itself likely borrowed from Ibrahim's largely thwarted attack on 12 planes in the mid 80s. KSM went on to devise and coordinate 9/11, of course.
The glaring and still unanswered question is whether there was any coordination between the largely pan-Arabic terrorists of the 80s and the Islamic variety of the 90s as to bomb making or airliner training? Iraq had an old 727 sitting at their training site at Salmon Pak and some think they farmed out training, but regardless of whether any training or coordination occurred Iraq was still undoubtedly home to at least two notorious expert terrorists who had killed Americans, and probably more.
So when folks say Saddam Hussein was not a player in global terrorism and that we attacked him for no reason they are simply forgetting their history. Again.
And here we are 24 years later and still worried to death over saying the word bomb on an airplane. BTW, the idiot Qatari diplomat was heading to the Supermax to visit Ali al-Marri, KSM's sleeper agent sent to America on 9/10/01 to await further instructions to blow stuff up. Held for awhile as an enemy combatant at a Navy brig, he later copped a plea last year to almost zero media fanfare. He will get out of jail with some life left to live.