We Are at War

First appeared on Usenet y10911
First posted here y10912
Latest minor change Y10823

Copyright © 2001 by Hugo S. Cunningham

1.  The Swing of the Pendulum -- the greater threat?
2.  Constraints
  A.  Support for Israel
  B.  Middle Eastern oil
3.  What Should Be Done
  A.  Air Safety
  B.  Reprisals
    (1)  Expel domestic terrorist sympathizers
    (2)  Close airspace of governments that shield terrorists
    (3)  Target terrorist leaders and families
      (a)  Some ambiguity may be needed
    (4)  Successful counter-terrorism is not pretty
    (5)  Protect our GIs from stab-in-the-back
      (a)  proposed laws for Congress

1.  The swing of the pendulum -- the greater threat?

     After Janet Reno's Waco massacre (19 April 1993), we learned to
distrust the government.
     After Timothy McVeigh's Oklahoma City bombing (19 April 1995), we
learned to distrust those who denounce the government in overly
extravagant terms.  We also became more reluctant to accuse Middle
East fanatics (guilty in the 26 Feb 1993 World Trade Center bombing),
when it turned out we were too quick to suspect them in Oklahoma City.
    More recently, the pendulum had again been swinging towards
distrust of the government.  Today's bloodbath, however, makes it
clear there are worse things to fear than FBI surveillance.

2.  Constraints

It would be satisfying to cut ourselves off from the Middle East.
Unfortunately, we are tied to them in two ways:

  A.  Support of Israel.
    If we want Israel to survive where it is, we have to try to engage
at least some of their neighbors at some level, as well as keeping the
Europeans (astride Israel's western lifeline) in play.
    A generation ago, Israelis sounded ready to stand off the world
(and even had a nuclear deterrant to make it stick), but this
generation of Israelis sound less ready for permanent life in a
garrison state.  Without robust US support, their endurance will
gradually erode.
    I admire the Israelis.  Since I became disenchanted with the
anti-Soviet potential of Islam in the early 1980s, I left it to
Israelis to define their own security needs.  Some of their solutions
were quite ingenious, eg to the riddle of "guns in schools":
But I now revert somewhat to my early skepticism of the 1970s:
mightn't Jews do better in the USA, where intelligence and honesty are
valued, than in a Third World snakepit?  

  B.  Middle Eastern oil-- 

    It would be tempting to cut our dependence on Middle Eastern oil,
teaching anti-Western fanatics of the area that "East minus West
equals zero":  we can adapt to life without their oil, but they will
wither and die without Western technology.  But it is highly doubtful
that Europe, Japan, and China (a rapidly-growing customer of Mid-East
oil) would cooperate, especially since we are reluctant to share our
own diminished oil supply with them. 

3.  What should be done?

  A.  Air Safety
    (1)  Commercial airline pilot compartments should be locked, so
that terrorists in the passenger compartment cannot take control of an
    That does create another question, what to do if a pilot himself
is a terrorist or suicidal maniac (eg Egypt Air Flight 990 on 31 Oct
1999).  A possible remedy might be telemetry -- if ground control is
alerted and radioed an image of a pilot compartment in crisis, they
might be able to intervene remotely on behalf of the sane pilot (eg by
unlocking the pilot's door), or override the pilot's control entirely
(if the sane pilot has been disabled).
    Commercial aircraft not meeting these new safety requirements
would not be allowed to enter US airspace from foreign countries.

  B.  Reprisals

    (1)  Anyone in the USA who has given aid and/or comfort to certain
Middle East terrorist groups should be expelled from the USA.
   (Exception:  the FBI might want to shield certain more stupid
terrorist sympathizers who inadvertently provide us leads into their

    (2)  Suspect foreign governments should be given a list of
terrorist suspects (both active killers, and hatemongers) to be
arrested.  (Unless our State Department, CIA, and FBI are grossly
incompetent, they already, between themselves, have substantial lists
of these people.)  Those who do not cooperate in immediately arresting
these people should have their own airspace shut down, just like ours
is.  "If it flies, it dies."

    (3)  Reprisals should target foreign political leaders who allowed
this terrorist plot to develop, and their families.  They do not care
about the lives of their citizens (which they terminate at their own
convenience), but would care more about their own.

       (a)  Since it is unlikely that we will ever have a clear
admission of guilt, we may have to cloak some reprisals in superficial
ambiguity.  For example, a few months from now, a Mid-Eastern
presidential palace might be bombed by a "distraught relative of a
World Trade Center victim."  We might even go through the motions of
court-martialling such a "distraught relative," only to have the
pleasure of acquitting him with a smirk and a wink.

    (4)  Terrorists from a society that lionizes terrorists cannot be
defeated by methods approved by "Amnesty International" (AI).  We have
to be able to kill terrorists quietly (what AI condemns as
"extra-judicial executions"), and sometimes not so quietly.  We will
have to open guerrilla campaigns of our own against governments that
provide sanctuary to enemy terrorists -- it is ten times cheaper to
wage guerrilla war than to defend against it.

    (5)  Before asking our soldiers (and civilian counterparts) to
risk their lives against our enemies, we need to protect their backs.
They should not be judged 10 years later by former draft-dodgers and
flag-burners, people unqualified to understand the dangers they faced
-- or by foreign enemies, the sort of people who just last spring
voted to replace the USA on the UN "Human Rights Commission" with the
genocidal government of Sudan.
      (a)  Congress should pass tough laws protecting our servicemen
(and their civilian counterparts) from any pretended foreign court.
(We, of course, would continue to try and punish US personnel who
really did commit crimes.)
        1.  It should be defined (and punished) as wartime treason
and/or espionage for any US resident to cooperate with foreigners
against US servicemen.
        2.  The US government should be empowered to seize hostages
from any foreign country that illegally detains US servicemen.  They
should, of course, be directed to use this power with wisdom, eg not
harassing individual foreigners who are our friends.

--Hugo S. Cunningham
 (Tu 11 Sep 2001)

First posted to Usenet
Subject: We Are at War
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 23:04:26 GMT
Lines: 143
Message-ID: 9nlq61$rha$1@news-central.tiac.net

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