Rep. Rohrbacher: Bush Didn’t Respond Properly to Russian School Bombing

Rep. Dana Rohrbacher
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Rep. Dana Rohrbacher (AP Photo)

( – Rep. Dana Rohrbacher (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats, said Friday that former President George W. Bush did not respond properly to the Beslan school bombing in 2004 in which Islamic separatist militants – mostly Chechen – killed over 380 people – about 180 of them children.

“And I remember calling the White House personally, and I talked directly to Condoleezza Rice and told her ‘Now is the time that we can establish a close and new and positive relationship with Russia and recruit them to work with us in areas of mutual interest that we couldn’t do before. Now’s the time for us to stand with these folks,’” Rohrbacher said at a hearing titled, “Islamic extremism in Chechnya: A Threat to the U.S. Homeland.”

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Boston Marathon bombing suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaeva are Chechens from Russia who received asylum in the U.S. Three people were killed and at least 100 injured when two bombs exploded near the marathon finish line on April 15th.

Rohrbacher said he advised Rice at the time to send Bush to Russia “to stand next to Putin and say that Americans stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Russia and yes, the government of Russia in opposing and defeating those who had murdered children in order to obtain their political ends.”

“As we’ve seen in Boston, the young man who put the bomb down did so right behind an 8-year-old boy,” said the congressman.

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“Now the answer was evident that no, the president didn’t go there,” he added.

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Russia showed its solidarity with the U.S. by erecting a monument to the victims of 9/11 across from where the World Trade Center was, Rohrbacher said.

“Let’s also note that—how many people here know that the Russians have built a monument in memory of … the Americans killed on 9/11?” he asked.

“How many know that right across from where the World Trade Center was, looking across the bay, there’s a beautiful monument that was built by the Russian people and the Russian government expressing solidarity and the sorrow and heartache of seeing their people – ordinary people, Americans and citizens, young people, old people – losing their lives like this to a terrorist attack?” Rohrbacher added.

The congressman said the Boston bombing should serve as an impetus for the U.S. to work with Russia in the future to fight terrorism.

“Today I would hope that what happened in Boston and the fact that it related directly back to Russia and Chechnya in terms of there’s a line we can draw, that I hope that that will motivate us to work with Russia in order to defeat those who would murder children in order to obtain their goals,” Rohrbacher said.




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