- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 7, 2002

Bombs away, Dubya
Those who think President Bush is flexing too much military might in the war against terrorism should pick up the new book, "The Lessons of Terror: A History of Warfare Against Civilians" (Random House, $19.95) by military and political author Caleb Carr.
As Mr. Carr sees it, by "fighting war with war," Mr. Bush might just have saved a country left dangerously vulnerable by former President Bill Clinton.
"The successful answer to the terrorist threat lies not in repeated analyses of individual contemporary terrorist movements, nor in legalistic attempts to condemn their behavior in courts of law," the author writes.
"Rather, it lies in the formulation of a comprehensive, progressive strategy that can address all terrorist threats with the only coercive measures that have ever affected or moderated terrorist behavior: pre-emptive military offensives aimed at making not only terrorists, but the states that harbor, supply, and otherwise assist them, experience the same perpetual insecurity that they attempt to make their victims feel."
Mr. Carr says during most of the eight years of the Clinton administration, when global terrorist cells such as Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network were very active, almost all federal funds for anti-terrorist efforts were targeted at "detective and intelligence" work, while "pre-emptive military strikes against terrorist leaders, networks, or bases were ignored."
"Clinton's most significant military move against terrorism, the bombings of Afghanistan and Sudan that followed terrorist attacks on U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998, were wholly reactive and completely predictable, to say nothing of utterly ineffective," the author says.
Rather, "war can only be answered with war, and it is incumbent on us to devise a style of war more imaginative, more decisive, and yet more humane than anything terrorists can contrive."

Sending a signal
"After purchasing an old Soviet suitcase nuclear weapon in Central Asia, a terrorist smuggles it into Mexico to detonate it near the U.S. border. Traveling by car, the suicide bomber makes his way to El Paso.
"Ten miles outside the Eagle Pass port of entry, he pulls into the vehicle-inspection line and detonates a 3 kiloton nuclear bomb, equivalent to 3,000 tons of dynamite. El Paso is devastated, even though the bomb exploded on the other side of the border.
"At the center of the blast, everything is vaporized by temperatures reaching millions of degrees Fahrenheit. Casualties outside the center include severe burns, radiation, and multiple injuries from the flying debris of collapsed buildings. Prevailing winds from the Southwest send the radiation up to San Antonio. Authorities do not know whether this was a single attack or the precursor to other attacks. All major cities are evacuated and air-traffic control systems are severely degraded. Mass hysteria and looting forces the federal government to activate the National Guard and establish martial law."
If you think the above scenario is unfathomable, the anticipated devastation from a small nuclear bomb strapped beneath a tour bus on the Canadian side of the border near Buffalo is worse. More scary are expected mass casualties from the airborne release of anthrax over Detroit or San Diego where no one is aware that anthrax had even been released.
Don't think it could happen?
"The threat of a new terrorist attack on civilians is real," warns a new study, "Defending the American Homeland," prepared by the Heritage Foundation's Homeland Security Task Force, which is chaired by former State Department Counterterrorism Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III and one-time Attorney General Edwin I. Meese III.
Containing recommendations from dozens of military, security, emergency and law enforcement experts, the report says that by intentionally targeting civilians in major U.S. cities, the terrorists of September 11 "were sending a signal: Their war against America would no longer be confined to such overseas targets as embassies, or to U.S. servicemen on ships like the U.S.S. Cole."
"Instead, they would take their war to America's heartland, killing as many innocent civilians as they could with any means at their disposal first to change U.S. policy, and ultimately to destroy American and Western civilization."
The silver lining is that the terrorists put America on notice that it is "dangerously vulnerable" and "ill-prepared" to respond to or prevent a terrorist attack using weapons of mass destruction chemical, biological, radiologic or nuclear.

Never again
After eight years of sinister plunder,
Earnest Bush is now rolling thunder.
We will never forget, the debt we regret,
To not pay as we slept in neglect.

M.N. Eldridge, a Metropolitan Police officer's wife who "watched the kitchen windows rattle and felt the floor shudder when they hit the Pentagon."


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