Quickly now, what do you think is America’s longest and deadliest war? Is it WWI? WWII? The Viet Nam War? The American Revolution? Perhaps, the Civil War? Maybe the Gulf War or the war with Afghanistan? The answer is none of those! America’s longest and deadliest war is ….. THE WAR ON TERROR!
Many people mark 9/11/2001 as the beginning of this war. In my opinion, however, the War on Terror began on December 21, 1988 when terrorists blew up Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 on board as well as 11 people on the ground. That would make it 25 years long and counting, longer than many Americans have even been alive. Since then, numerous bombings and other terrorist acts have been perpetrated on us, including, but not limited to, the bombing of the WTC in 1993, the Murrah Office Building in OKC in 1995, TWA flight 800 over Long Island in 1996, the WTC and UAL flight 93 on 9/11/2001, and the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15. Most of these acts of terrorism were committed by Islamic Jihadists, who freely admit they hate us and want to destroy America and its way of life. Yes, the US is most certainly at war, possibly the most dangerous war in its history. We are fighting for our very existence, and the sooner we realize it, the better.
The only way to win a war, or even survive it, is to be just as tough, ruthless, resolute and resilient as the other guy. That means:
1. We should not coddle terrorists when we catch them. We should treat them as “enemy combatants,” especially those that are non-citizens. We should subject them to enhanced interrogation to extract as much information as possible. (I can understand the desire to handle citizens with more care. After all, they are entitled to the protections of the US constitution, which provides, among other things, the notion that one is innocent until proven guilty, but most terorists have not been citizens.)
2. I see no problem with imprisoning them in “Gitmo” regardless of the conditions there. After all, they are terrrorists. We don’t owe them comfort and conveniences.
3. Don’t be concerned with “why” they did it. Who cares? It’s not relevant. Besides, we already know why. They hate us and want to destroy us and our way of life. Be concerned with the “how,” the identity of their co-conspirators, and what else they might have planned.
4. Tighten up our security procedures. For example, we are far too liberal with student visas. We should limit them from countries that are known terrorist havens, and we should monitor recipients or at least require the universities to report when a student fails to show up or drops out.
5. Tighten our border security. Currently, it leaks like a sieve.
6. Don’t be overly concerned with “political correctness.” It has been well documented that almost all terrorist acts in the last 25 years have been committed by Islamic Jihadists, so our screening and surveillance procedures should reflect that. Remember the famous scene in the movie “Airplane” when the airport security people are strip searching nuns while terrorists go by carrying machine guns? That is a metaphor for the ridiculous heights to which we have taken PC. Tolerance and PC are appropriate in most circumstances, but not when it comes to preventing terrorism.
6. Our politicians and leaders should not be afraid to call these incidents “acts of terror.” They are not “tragedies.” Storm Sandy was a “tragedy.” These are way beyond “tragedies” and labeling them as such is a gross mischaracterization. Such denial of the obvious smacks of playing politics with people’s lives.
7. The various “alphabet agencies” have to put aside their petty jealousies and tighen up their coordination and cooperation with each other. Didn’t we learn anything from 9/11?
PREDICTION AND CONCLUSION
Do you feel safe? Many people don’t feel as safe today as they did before April 15. It reminded us how vulnerable we really are. We are at a huge disadvantage. The reality is we could prevent 100 potential terrorist plots, but the one we miss could be devastating both physically and emotionially. For the most part, acts of terror have been few and far between, but America has an infinite number of “soft” targets, such as schools, shopping malls, cruise ships, movie theatres and sporting events, to name a few. I strongly believe we need to live our lives and not cower in the corner, but at the same time we must be vigilant. See, hear and observe, and report anything suspicious to the authorities.
We have been fighting the war on terror with one hand behind our back. Many Americans are vastly underestimating the seriousness of the situation and need a wake-up call. I say to our leaders and politicians, we elected you to lead; so put on your “big-boy pants” and lead. The American people will take their que from you. Do it before it’s too late.