Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Predicting Terrorist Attacks

By Alan Caruba

If, in fact, the United States or any other nation could predict terrorists attacks there would not be terrorist attacks. They’re not called terrorists for nothing and they don’t post the date and place of their next attack on their Internet sites.

Thus, when a friend sent me an article about Juval Aviv¸ a former Israeli agent famed for heading up the team that tracked down and killed the planners of the Munich Olympics murders of Israeli athletes, I was interested to read his prediction that the United States will suffer multiple terrorist attacks. Mr. Aviv was making such predictions back in July 2005 and possibly earlier.

As the CEO of Interfor, Inc., a company that provides foreign and domestic intelligence services to corporate and financial clients around the world, his stock in trade is being able to predict trouble.

In point of fact, I could make such predictions and, in the event of a terrorist attack, claim prescience. What is most striking, however, as we approach the seventh anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, is that there have been none since.

To a large degree I credit this to the very aggressive efforts undertaken by the Bush administration, the coordination of the FBI with other intelligence gathering agencies, and quite possibly to the fact that the U.S. and its allies, including many Arab nations, have been tracking down al Qaeda terrorists for some time now.

Terrorism has become a fact of life for nations around the world. Countering it has become part of the permanent budget of nations. Terrorism is the weapon of the weak. Contrast it, for example, with the Russian invasion of Georgia. It can, however, be very effective. The Madrid terror attack on train commuters totally transformed its government. There are reports floating about that the Italians made secret pacts to leave Islamic terrorists alone if they did not do anything in that nation.

The best way to deal with terrorists is (a) kill them or (b) lock them up. Extending them the full protection of the U.S. Constitution is about the dumbest idea ever, considering that they exist to destroy America. Detainees who have been returned to the Middle East have just as often been picked up later while engaged in attacks against our troops.

There are conservatives in America who complain that the measures taken to insure our safety are a danger to our right of privacy. Mr. Aviv criticizes our airport security measures and, for the most part, I think he’s right. Making everyone take off their shoes or restricting liquids is, in his words, “reactive” because, in his view, terrorists will never try to hijack a commercial airliner again. They don’t need to.

For my part, I mostly worry that Americans have grown less wary, less cautious and less conscious of the fact that the Islamic jihad, the belief that everyone must become a Muslim, has not gone away and remains the motivation for future attacks.

Mr. Aviv is right when he says that we are so politically correct that, short of seeing some guys wearing bombs strapped to their chest, we would not do or say anything about suspicious behavior, unattended suitcases or packages, and similar reasons to point authorities to someone or something for investigation.

I think, too, he is right when he says that our government treats us “like babies” and that, within the circles of power, too many believe we “can’t handle the truth” fearing Americans would panic.

Since some eighty million Americans own firearms, I think our first reaction would be to reach for them if needed. Consider, in this era of terrorism, how much safer we all would be if the right to carry concealed weapons was more widespread and accessible to law-abiding citizens. After 9/11, the first reaction of many Americans was to go out and purchase firearms.

As to predicting the next terrorist attacks, the only thing that is predictable is not “if”, but “when.”

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