Jewish World Review Sept. 16, 2003 / 19 Elul, 5763
Wising up about our enemies
The seemingly comical story of James McKinley, who mailed himself
home to Texas from the Bronx in an airborne crate, ceases to be
amusing when we really think about it. Imagine if he were a terrorist:
McKinley would have successfully gotten to the belly of the plane.
Strapped down with explosives, he could have flown into the arms of
Allah in a gory, murderous blaze.
Those terrorists comfortably hiding in America because law
enforcement has gotten virtually no help at all from that small sea of
Arabs in which they swim, must have bitten their knuckles and slapped
their foreheads in anger at having missed an opportunity that may
never present itself again.
This brings us to a very uncomfortable reality. One of the reasons we
are not safe is that those in charge are not making sure that we are. Not
enough money has been allocated for homeland security, for the
beefing up of the personnel necessary to do the job that looms before
this nation. We talk of war, but we don't act as though we are in the
middle of one.
Those who do the jobs on the ground are either not as attentive as they
should be or are not imaginative enough to second-guess an enemy
whose greatest weapons include being underestimated and being
willing to die.
Please note that after Islamic terrorists tried to bring down the World
Trade Center in 1993, authorities decoded the computer of one of the
culprits who was captured in the Philippines and got the specifics of
what eventually became 9/11. The project was called "Operation
Jumbo" and entailed hijacking passenger planes in the Far East and
flying them into the World Trade Center buildings.
Is it possible that a bunch of CIA and FBI guys laughed off the very idea
that some Muslim fanatics would try such a thing, much less bring it
off? If so, it amounts to one of the greatest examples of underestimating
the enemy since Custer attacked 10,000 Indians on June 25, 1876,
with 300 men.
Such underestimation should never again float in this post-Sept. 11
These men are not dummies. They set off the world's alarm clocks here
two years ago and have been successful at vetoing the Mideast peace
process by reaching for another big weapon: slaughter.
Their problem now is topping the destruction of the World Trade
Center, which means they have to successfully bring off the use of an
atomic device. We have to imagine that they think this way.
We are in a serious fight, and our opposition is obviously ruthless.
Babies, children, adolescents, adults and the elderly are targets. Just as
they were on 9/11.
That is how it is, and that is what we must address with an a cunning
intensity equal to that of those coming after us.
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JWR contributor and cultural icon Stanley Crouch is a columnist for The New York Daily News. He is the author of, among others, The All-American Skin Game, Or, the Decoy
of Race: The Long and the Short of It, 1990-1994, Always in Pursuit: Fresh American
Perspectives, and Don't the Moon Look Lonesome: A Novel in Blues and Swing. Send your comments by clicking here.
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