- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 9, 2001

Some politicians state that a chemical, biological or nuclear attack on U.S. soil is inevitable. They throw up their hands at such a prospect.
Are we to understand that we are supposed to sit back and wait for the day when a nuclear attack burns the flesh off our children's bodies? Are we to wait for the day when our children writhe in agony as they die from some hideous disease spread by terrorists? Is our generation less than the ones that have gone before it?
I say no to all of the above. Americans are tough and we fight back. I for one will not keep silent when there is a way we can overcome this threat.
The terrorist war is just another war and we have been through many. During the Cold War, we were protected from nuclear war by MAD, or Mutually Assured Destruction. This meant that the United States and the Soviet Union had so many missiles pointed at each other that a first strike by either side meant the certain destruction of both countries. Therefore, no nuclear weapons were ever used.
This didn't eliminate our fear. For 40 years we lived with the constant fear of nuclear attack but we survived it and we got on with our lives anyway.
Terrorists understand two things: force and terror. Obviously, we cannot employ a policy of MAD to counter the threat posed by the terrorists' possible use of weapons of mass destruction. The terrorists represent a tiny threat compared to the Soviet Union. A new policy is required.
We should turn their own weapon against them and employ a policy of terror against the terrorists. For them to threaten us with weapons of mass destruction is almost laughable, like a mouse threatening a lion. It is time for the lion to charge. The U.S. should announce that any use of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons against the United States, whether at home or abroad, would bring a swift and immediate response in kind and on a larger scale. For example, if the terrorists were to explode a suitcase nuclear device in Cleveland, then we nuke an entire province of Afghanistan or Iraq. With the ensuing outcry over tens of thousands of deaths, we would no doubt respond with a nuclear counterattack of at least this size in any case, and the terrorists and their sponsors had better be forewarned of it.
Some would contend that such a policy may not deter madmen who want to bring on the end of the world. There could be a few such lunatics in the ranks of the Islamic extremists, but I think the vast majority of the terrorists are after power. It is my understanding that they want to spread their version of the Muslim religion, not destroy it, and I cannot believe that they would attack others with weapons of mass destruction when faced with the prospect of the violent demise of their own families, friends and relations in such a manner. They would not wish to bring on the horrible deaths of their own children by means of some dread disease, nor would they wish to see the meltdown in a nuclear attack of everything they hold dear.
There are suicide attackers who would kill themselves for their cause, but I do not believe that they desire the destruction of their own homes, families, and vast swaths of the Muslim world. The cooler heads among the terrorists and their supporting states would dissuade any madman from risking such retribution.
Others may object that such a policy is too warlike. To them, I say wake up and smell the gunpowder. We are at war. Peace marchers who pretend that terrorists won't kill us if we don't defend ourselves make no useful contribution.
We must protect our children. A policy of retaliation in kind would provide an effective deterrent. No one would test our resolve.

Karen Araujo is president of the Hemispheric Studies Institute, is an economist and terrorism analyst and coauthor of three books with Paul Craig Roberts.

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