Recent events indicate America needs protection
But as the events in Spain illustrated, public, mass transportation is an entirely different matter.
Roughly 4 million Americans board commuter trains daily. In the New York area alone, each day hundreds of thousands of commuters step on trains in New Jersey, Long Island and Connecticut with absolutely no security screening, carrying luggage, which is not examined and proceed into Manhattan, the center of our nation’s financial and business communities. No suicide is required! A terrorist could board the train in Stamford or Westport, Conn., carrying a suitcase full of explosives and simply get off at the next station, abandoning his luggage to detonate in the heart of New York City.
The first phone call I received after last week’s bombings in Madrid was from a friend in New York City. His first words were “Can you imagine if that had happened in Grand Central Station!” A million or so commuters pass through Grand Central Station in the middle of Manhattan each day. The disruption such an attack would cause in America and to the international economy is incalculable.
Though with perhaps less catastrophic potential, subways and buses offer huge, soft target opportunities for terrorist in America.
If you have never visited Israel, you cannot imagine the level of security that is maintained in that country. Vigilant soldiers and private guards wearing body armor and armed with automatic and semi-automatic weapons are virtually everywhere. Yet, despite this extraordinary level of security, suicide bombings occur over and over.
The events of Sept. 11, 2001, and the ongoing situation in Israel prove that as long as terrorist cells are allowed to exist anywhere in the world, they will maintain the ability to occasionally strike into the heart of Western society. Does anyone doubt that a key goal of the terrorist is to unleash a nuclear catastrophe in an American city?
So what can America and Western societies do to protect themselves?
The most obvious first steps for the United States are strict border controls and a massive effort to screen and take appropriate action with regard to aliens already in the US. Do we have the political will for this? Will the courts cooperate, or would such an action become another opportunity for underemployed lawyers and the ACLU?
Our military needs to be provided the manpower and material to fulfill its mission.
Our intelligence services, the CIA on the international front and the FBI inside the U.S., need the wherewithal to sniff out terrorist and all their schemes before the events occur.
Americans will need to decide if the privacy of their e-mail, cell phone calls, travel habits or library records and book-buying history is more important than preventing a nuclear holocaust inside our borders.
During our half century of Cold War with the Soviet Union, America’s left chose to believe that the threat from world Communism was entirely imaginary. Occasional events, like the bloodbath in Hungary in 1956 or Czechoslovakia’s failed effort at independence in 1968, did not appear to remove the left’s blindfold.
It’s difficult, after witnessing the events of 9/11, to similarly underestimate the danger that we face today. Perhaps to those of us who once had an opportunity to work and dine in the World Trade Center, what happened on 9/11 is far more tangible than is it to most Californians. I can only guess what effect a terrorist attack on target-rich San Francisco would have on opinions here. Perhaps our leaders would rush to reach an accommodation with the terrorist perpetrators.
Sunday, the people of Spain made their opinions clear by returning the Socialists to power and in effect, bowing out of the war on terrorism. I can only suppose that the majority of Spaniards believe that by doing the terrorist will, they will be safe from future terrorist attacks.
It’s certain that as this is written, terrorist leaders are trying to weigh the effect a massive attack would have on our November presidential election.
How many Americans now view the candidacy of John Kerry an opportunity for America to opt out of the war on terror? To find safety, will Americans not only elect the anti-war candidate, but also be willing to meet all the demands of the world’s Islamic fundamentalist?
Shall we begin by abandoning our ally, Israel, the only open society and democracy in the entire Middle East?
Shall we ban alcohol, cover up our women, take away their vote and driving privileges? Shall we prepare to accept Islam and outlaw all other religions inside our borders?
To his credit, insiders in the Kerry campaign have quietly assured supporters that after he is elected, President Kerry will announce that the debate on the war on terror is over, we’re at war, and we absolutely need to win.
Unfortunately, Sen. Kerry has a long and consistent record of opposition to our military and intelligence services.
If the events of 9/11 can be characterized as a failure of America’s intelligence services, no individuals can be more identified with that failure than Sen. John Kerry, who has worked diligently to weaken our intelligence services throughout his senate career, and the late Sen. Frank Church, who led efforts to cripple the CIA and FBI in the 1970s – events from which our intelligence services clearly have never recovered.
As the senator from Massachusetts, John Kerry has always shown a disinterest in our nation’s security. It’s well known that just prior to 9/11, Sen. Kerry chose to ignore warnings of security lapses at Boston’s Logan Airport (where most of the 9/11 terrorist boarded their aircraft) because the “individuals voicing the concerns were not Sen. Kerry’s constituents.”
After this fall’s election, Americans may find themselves in a war for survival, being led by a president and party without the will or demonstrated ability to lead any war.
When asked what they would do differently in the war on terror, Democrats to a man, all drone on about enlisting the aid of the European Community and the United Nations.
The events in Spain and elsewhere have proven without a doubt that our fair weather allies have no stomach for this or any other fight. Just a few years ago, NATO was not even willing to stop the bloodbath in the former Yugoslavia until it was dragged kicking and screaming into the conflict by the Clinton administration, and then only as long as American airpower provided most of the punch.
Of the nearly 300 million Americans, perhaps 25 – 30 percent has the understanding and fortitude to face the military and moral challenges of the 21st century. On the shoulders of this group rests the future of Western society. No ally can be expected to stand with us. Clear majorities in Europe and elsewhere (nearly two-thirds of the electorate in Spain) favor surrender. The contempt many outsiders and most of the world’s have-nots feel for American society is so intense that it cannot be overestimated. Third World leaders, political and religious, continue to blame their self-inflicted poverty on our affluence: “Americans have too much, so they have nothing,” they say.
Bus bombings, movie theater bombings, mall bombings, attacks on sporting events and our transportation system – the harm international terrorists can do to our way of life is incalculable. Unless we Americans alone can muster up the determination to meet the terrorist challenge, our society and future generations worldwide face a very bleak future.
Prentiss Davis is a Truckee resident.