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  • Morning Bell: Preventing the Possible

    Last Wednesday a small group of at least 10 gunmen fanned out across the Indian city of Mumbai. In coordinated assaults, they attacked areas frequented by foreigners, killing indiscriminately and taking hostages. The one gunmen captured so far has reportedly admitted to authorities that he received training from Lashkar-e-Taiba, a group recognized as a terrorist organization by the United States that has long fought an Islamic insurgency in Kashmir. While the rationale and responsibility for the attacks are still under investigation, the incident is not unprecedented and does raise questions about U.S. domestic security.

    Since 9/11, the U.S. has become a much “harder” target for transnational terrorists. Luck isn’t the reason the U.S. has not been attacked since that day. In many respects, U.S. counterterrorism programs are working — and not just at home, either. While there has been a flare-up of terrorism in India and the Taliban is resurgent in Afghanistan, a recent report by the Human Security Project shows that, globally, the trend in transnational terrorist attacks and the appeal of the radical Osama bin Laden agenda have been declining for several years.

    Nevertheless, it is unrealistic to believe that all homeland security efforts will deny every attack every time. In particular, armed assaults and vehicle-borne explosive attacks are tactics that are not beyond the reach of any modestly funded and committed terrorist group. Attacks similar to the ones in Mumbai have plagued Russia since the 1990s. In 1995, 100 civilians died after Chechnyans captured a hospital in Budyonnovsk. In October 2002, 100 captives died when Russian special forces stormed a captured theater in Moscow. And in September 2004, 334 hostages died after a well-armed group of Chechnyans invaded a school in Beslan. Even the United States has not been immune from the danger of planned armed assaults. For instance, in August 2005, a Pakistani national was arrested as part of a terrorism investigation into a possible plot to attack the Israeli consulate, California National Guard facilities, and other targets in southern California.

    No administration can guarantee it will stop every attack everywhere. But if our nation assumes the offensive, the U.S. can take the initiative away from the terrorists, lessen their chances of success, and mitigate the damage they cause. Consequently, Washington should continue to:

    • Maintain valuable terrorism-fighting tools established under legislation like the USA PATRIOT Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act of 2008.
    • Keep the Federal Emergency Management Agency as an integral part of the Homeland Security Department. When an explosion happens, the government cannot wait until it knows if the incident was a terrorist attack or an industrial accident. Rather, our nation needs to respond with alacrity, and that means taking an integrated “all-hazards” approach from the local to the national level.
    • Enhance counterterrorism coordination with allies like India. Washington and New Delhi would both benefit by pooling their counterterrorism expertise and increasing joint activities to address regional and global terrorist threats.

    Now is not the time to grow complacent about homeland security.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    15 Responses to Morning Bell: Preventing the Possible

    1. Leo Carling, Kensing says:

      They aren't "Gunmen"! These are terrorists, killers and murderers. The mainstream media uses the term "Gunmen" to make it sound like the firearm is the cause of the mayhem. I'm surprise the Heritage Foundation would allow the use the incorrect term.

    2. Edmund James, Ontari says:

      Cells will wait… and wait… until the infidel is complacent. The Islamist code seems to be: Spread out and procreate, we will outlast them.

      However, the jihadis and the power-mongers can be disrupted by fighting over there and support our major allies, India and Israel. More than ever intelligence is required and the true moderates (if there is such a thing. The religion has not been highjacked since the Qur'an reads like a document for conquering the unbelievers and against the Jews) would be part of the humint. The long battle is the new interpretations, modernity, progress and decency.

      In the meantime we must be vigilant and remain concerned about Pakistan and Iran.

      Frankly, I often wonder, if there wasn't Islam would we have the problems of today brought on by the vile sects such as the Wahhabists?

    3. Edmund James, Ontari says:

      "Islam is the most retrograde force in the world."

      Winston Churchill

      Cells will wait… and wait… until the infidel is complacent. The Islamist code seems to be: Spread out and procreate, we will outlast them.

      However, the jihadis and the power-mongers can be disrupted by fighting over there and support our major allies, India and Israel. More than ever intelligence is required and the true moderates (if there is such a thing. The religion has not been highjacked since the Qur’an reads like a document for conquering the unbelievers and against the Jews) would be part of the humint. The long battle is the new interpretations, modernity, progress and decency.

      In the meantime we must be vigilant and remain concerned about Pakistan and Iran.

      Frankly, I often wonder, if there wasn’t Islam would we have the problems of today brought on by the vile sects such as the Wahhabists?

    4. Ken Jarvis - Las Veg says:

      HF – "Seeing President-elect Barack Obama as Santa Claus,

      mayors have descended on Washington

      asking for $90 billion spending plan to fund local priorities."

      BUT OBAMA IS STILL IN CHICAGO.

    5. lisa chiles, cincy says:

      Has there been any news about the Supreme Court reviewing Phillips Bergs claim this week that Mr OBAMA is not a United States citizen. The state of PA dismissed it but I heard that the SUPREME COURT would look at it this week.

      Any truth to that? Thanks.

    6. Amy, Springfield MO says:

      Am I alone in believing that a fundamental piece of protecting U.S. from terrorist attacks, from enemies foreign & domestic is the ability of our citizens to protect themselves and their families… the right to bear arms…?

    7. Michael J O'Bri says:

      H. G. Wells [1866 to 1946], a socialist and novelist, wrote the novel “The Time Machine”. Taking place in the year 80279, and after numerous wars, mankind evolved into two kinds of human beings: the Morlocks and the Enoi. The Morlocks, who live underground are industrialists, provide everything the Enoi can desire: food, clothing, an open and a lawless society; life for the Enoi is idyllic. The Enoi on the other hand live above ground and enjoy a carefree idyllic life but must obey every command of the Morlocks. In exchange for this omnipotent benevolence, the Enoi give up all basic human rights and freedoms: freedom of thought, freedom of speech, ability or desire to learn, most importantly the very soul of man, the will to live. The heaviest price the Enoi pay is that to them life is worthless, meaningless. There are no elders, and no one cares if people die. We find near the end of the story that the Morlock benefactors have resorted to the darkest side of mankind: cannibalism by eating and surviving on the Enoi. The Enoi walk mindlessly into the Delphi only to be eaten, never to be seen again, no Enoi cares.

      H.G. Wells, a socialist and Darwinist, intended to show the effects of war and evolution, but instead depicted mankind’s fall into the ultimate and final despair of the depths of socialism. We are well on our way to this state as a society. This election told us we care more about what our Morlocks can give us, rather than what we can do for ourselves. Mr. Obama and his cabinet will be taking us right down the path of European style socialism, a model that has never worked. The thought police, sponsored by the democrats, will be active and engaged in eliminating freedom of thought, and our first amendment, freedom of speech. With Mr. Daschle in his cabinet, Senator Dodd, and Frank and Rangle, we need not to think about what we can do for our country, but how much our country can give to us, until the coffers are bare, and we begin to eat ourselves.

    8. CAROL MACKIN, WESTCH says:

      WE SHOULD ALSO CALL FOR THE RESIGNATION OF SENATORS DOD, FRANK, RANGLE, PELOSSI & REED, AMONG OTHERS, WHO ARE DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FANNIE MAY/FREDDIE MAC DEBACLE & THE FINANCIAL CRISIS WE FIND OURSELVES IN TODAY. THEY & THE DEMOCRAT PARTY ARE A DISGRACE.

    9. Walt, Bellevue WA says:

      I do not consider the repressive, unconstitutional measures imposed by the Patriot Act and other similar legislation as items worthy of recommendation/endorsement by an organization formed and advertised to promote our "Heritage". Please cancel my subscription.

    10. Reta Richardson, Sou says:

      As a new subscriber, reading the reports and comment of readers, I'm amused. From where I live and work, I say you are not living in my world or you are masters of satire. I'll keep reading, trying to make sense of what most of you say. Here in SC the state government is controlled and has been for a long time by Republicans. Nationally our government has been controlled by Republicans for most of my lifetime. Last time I looked the national debt was astronomical. When did we, our children, grandchildren get into such debt? Are you guys serious?

    11. Dell in South Caroli says:

      I agree with Mr. O'Brien that apathy and ennui are a tremendous problem in America today but I hope we haven't reached the level of the Enoi yet. However, this isn't a new concept– we've been doing it for years and I've fussed and fumed that people seem to take for granted the rights and privileges we enjoy in this country. I'm very afraid it's going to take another 9/11 or worse to wake us up to the tenuous hold we have on all freedoms in this day of nuclear proliferation and extremists who seem to truly want to die for their beliefs.

      I suppose the scariest part of it is that they have no regard for the innocents they're taking out at the same time they're targeting us "infidels". It's hard for me to believe that ANY religious text–(I call them "Operating Manuals For How To Live Successfully Under God's Law")–could actively promote these murderous crimes in the name of their God whether they call Him Allah, Buddah or whatever.

      Which brings me back to Mr. O'Brien's point. We can either sit here on our duffs doing nothing or we can rouse our happy a**es up to change the new status quo that the Democrats would have us swallow whole.

      By that same token, I also agree with Ms. Mackin. She's very right that we should fire all those people responsible for the global mess we're in right now and I hope we all remember that in two years when our votes will speak louder than our words. Maybe it wasn't only the American people's apathy that put us where we are today but it certainly was the inattention on the parts of all those Ms. Makin named–(plus CEOs and anyone else who took the money and ran! "The hell with the people! What they don't know won't hurt us!")–so there's plenty of blame to spread around.

      There are also a lot of ordinary citizens who should share some of that blame. Those people who were offered housing that they KNEW they couldn't afford, for instance, have absolutely no right to be crying in their beer now when they may be losing what wasn't even an elusive dream but an impossible hurdle! And the massive credit card debt that we've run up shouldn't deserve any sympathy from the rest of us either. Nobody held a knife to the throats of those people who sank into the quagmire of "instant gratification". I was taught that you'd best live within your means or you'd lose them AND your self-respect. That's what we're seeing now from the bottom to the top–all propelled by greed!

      So, yes, Mr. O'Brien and Ms. Mackin, there should be reprisals and wake up calls but they should start in our own hearts first and then radiate out to the rest of the world. I believe we ARE proud to be Americans; I believe we are the luckiest people in the world because we WILL stand up and fight for our convictions–but I'd hate to see apathy and ennui ended with a nuclear bomb or a broken country because we sat on our hands and did nothing to stop it. We can't afford another Hugo Chavez or Vladimer Putin in this day and time.

    12. Judith from Detroit says:

      So, Mr. Walt of Bellevue, Wa. you are against the repressive, unconstitutional measures imposed by the Patriot Act, which you fail to identify, of course. Pay attention, please. If it weren't for this Patriot Act, what happened in India will most certainly happen here. You can count on that. I also firmly believe the monstrous attacks in India have a direct relationship to the dramatic fall of the stock market today, 12-1. You see, Mr. Walt, stock markets globally do not like terrorist attacks and respond accordingly. This is just another tool used by those who want to destroy the West and all we stand for.

    13. George O. P. from Te says:

      With an African President seated a layer of Teflon has been removed from African politicians. It is now more difficult to hide behind racism in the face of clear unethical if not illegal activity. Charles Rangel should have been on his way out long ago. Unlike recent flawed Republicans, I do not think the Democrats will make the mistake of lining up behind Mr. Rangel. The Ways and Means committee will be too visible in the coming months for this kind of bad publicity. Mr. Rangel will unfortunately survive.

    14. Pingback: US Election On Best Political Blogs » Blog Archive » Morning Bell: Preventing the Possible » The Foundry

    15. Edwin Buck, Albuquer says:

      I hope that this will remind every one that you cannot talk to these people. The only way to deal with them is to kill them. I call on all muslims to turn these animals in their midst to authoroties or better yet, kill them before they can do damage. Because, if you muslims, who just want to be left alone, do not, they will drag you down with them. Unfortunately, in this fight, there is no "middle ground". Everyone must act, in defence of every body, or, those silent ones, will suffer, along with everyon.

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