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Terrorists wanted -- Reward: $2 million
Posted By David Hackworth On 08/26/1998 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled
We’re back to putting posters up on walls like we did when Billy The Kid
was getting his target practice on slow-drawing gunmen.
In simpler times when Americans overseas were shot up, we sent Rough
Riders or gunboats or squadrons of bombers to deal with the perps.
“Don’t Tread on me” was well understood by all foreign capitals of the
world. They knew if they screwed with Uncle Sam they’d get it in the chops.
But times have changed, and so has the nature of conflict. As we lurch
into the 21st century, it’s terrorism that will bring unparalleled horror
to our cities.
Of course, the bombs that killed and wounded hundreds of people in
last week were far from the first blows struck in this brutal form of
warfare. For centuries terrorism has been the tactic of choice of the
madmen and the have-nots — the angries whose motivation comes from being
at the bottom of the pecking order or from religious fanaticism or just
plain old fashioned hatred.
Once upon a time it was easier to deal with terrorists: simply track
their backers, blow up their capitals and declare the responsible
governments hostile states.
But ever since U.S. bombers clobbered Libya’s Muammar al-Gadhafi for
blowing up a Berlin nightclub, terrorists and their supporters have
learned. Now they leave few fingerprints and absolutely no trails to
Remember the 1996 bombing of the USAF billet in Saudi Arabia where 19
American airmen were killed? We’ve spent millions of bucks investigating
and still don’t conclusively know who was behind it.
Besides close to impossible to figure out where they come from,
acts are hard to stop. Not unlike a prisoner who’s determined to bust out
of a slammer, terrorists spend months, even years, planning. They carefully
assemble their bombs and just as meticulously work out escape plans.
Terrorists come in various guises: home-grown like Tim McVeigh of the
Oklahoma City bombing; imported as with the gang who bombed New York’s
World Trade Center; and radical rovers who attack foreigners and their
facilities right around the globe.
Like government spending, each year the number of terrorist attacks go
and their bang gets bigger. Sure, there are pipe bombs like the ones the
anti-abortionist haters prefer, but the trend is for bigger, more horrific
weapons employed much more frequently.
Superterrorism is the next phase: weapons of mass destruction (WMD) such
as the sarin nerve gas Japanese extremists released in the Tokyo subway in
1995; biological weapons; and even portable atomic bombs.
In fact, since the Soviet Union stroked out, it’s no longer a question
if WMD will be used on Main Street USA, but rather when. Suitcase-size
nukes capable of doing a Hiroshima or Nagasaki and other mass weapons of
horror according to several sources have already become the newest,
trendiest terrorist tool.
Is the Pentagon ready for superterrorism? They move their lips about it,
but it’s not the highest priority. As usual, they’re preparing for the last
war, Desert Storm. Except for a few maverick thinkers, the Washington
establishment is brain-dead or into deep denial.
In 1995, a Pentagon study called Terror 2000 predicted the wave of
terrorism we’re now seeing. The report was buried by presidential aides who
didn’t want to panic the people. The White House view was, if we don’t talk
about it, maybe it’ll go away. Unfortunately, many of predictions featured
in this comprehensive report have already occurred.
The key to making it through the next decade is to follow the Boy
marching song and be prepared. What’s needed is good intelligence that
stops attacks before they happen and alert, informed citizens who report
suspicious characters and activities immediately.
Another preventive measure would be to get out of foreign killing zones.
Let’s face it, Americans in general are not liked overseas. Our country has
done some horrible things in the name of combating evil and we have a lot
of enemies out there who reckon it’s pay back time. It’s time to draw in
our horns while we re-evaluate our M.O., bring as many of our folks as
possible back home and start preparing for what was unthinkable only a few
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