Now is the time for all good American men and women on the homefront to come to the aid of their country.
As war with Iraq looms, our government warns that foreign terrorists may conduct retaliatory suicide bombing attacks on U.S. soil. "We'll never be immune," asserted Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge last week. "(T)hat lone wolf, that isolated suicide bomber might be the most difficult to protect against." President Bush reiterated the warning in his Monday night address to the nation.
So, what is to be done? Ridge unveiled a national plan this week called "Operation Liberty Shield" to protect us all with temporarily beefed-up patrols at the borders, airports, seaports and critical infrastructure sites. He promises to increase security "while maintaining the free flow of goods and people across our border." Not reassuring coming from a homeland security department that can't even keep a crazed farmer from driving his tractor across the borders of the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Instead of calling on Americans to "prepare for the inevitability" of suicide attacks, the homeland security chief should be issuing a citizens' call to arms.
Each and every American can and must serve as an individual liberty shield against revenge-seeking radical Islamists. There are plenty of things ordinary citizens can do to help thwart and disrupt hostile forces at home:
1. Know your enemy. Be sure to check out the FBI's photo gallery of most wanted terrorists on the Internet (http://www.fbi.gov/mostwant/terrorists/fugitives.htm), as well as the photos accompanying the FBI's "seeking information alerts" on suspected terrorists (http://www.fbi.gov/terrorinfo/terrorismsi.htm). Several of these suspects were last seen in the U.S. or Canada.
"(W)e're looking for you 24 hours a day," promises the FBI. But the bureau needs all the help it can get. It was alert citizens, after all, who recognized Elizabeth Smart's abductor last week from photos publicized in the press. It was alert citizens who spotted the vehicle of accused snipers John Muhammad and Lee Malvo last fall. Law enforcement officials rely on civilians to look out for criminal suspects all the time. More than ever, they could use the services of citizen sentinels on guard against fugitive terrorists and sleeper suicide bombers.