With each new year we move further away from Sept. 11. All of us should take a moment to recall the smoke billowing from the World Trade Center; the towers broken apart like toy models. Below them twisted fragments of steel and flesh strewn across the ground. At the time, the images seemed so foreign. We had become decadent. We no longer thought such things could happen to us.
We cannot let that happen again. We cannot let our economic prosperity lull us into a false sense of security. We must not lose sight of the evil threats that continue to haunt us.
For example, the intelligence community in our country knows that there are numerous al-Qaida operatives in America. They also are closely monitoring thousands of terrorists around the world. But because of our laws there is nothing we can do to them until they attack us. Nowhere else in the world is this kind of leniency allowed except in the United States. Those laws that prevent our government from arresting terrorists were created long before 9/11.
Something more is needed now. Al-Qaida operatives in America and abroad are guilty by association. They have proven over and over that they will attack innocent people without remorse wherever possible. They are fighting a war without rules and it is time our legislatures allowed our soldiers to fight back on a level playing field.
Recently, al-Qaida claimed that Americans had killed 100,000 people in Iraq. They have issued a warning that 100,000 Americans will die by nuclear warfare as retribution. So what do we do? Do we wait for these terrorists to act, to again wreak havoc here in America? Or, because we know where they are, should we not eliminate them now? Should we not dismantle them by any means necessary - what we call pre-emptive strikes - to make sure that this kind of tragedy never happens again on our soil?
The creation of the Patriot Act and Department of Homeland Security were a good start, but now it is time for legislatures to allow our intelligence community, our police force and our military to do their jobs. Modify the laws so that we can take out these al-Qaida operatives that are under our watch, but beyond our reach.