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.
2. Report illegal aliens. More than 115,000 people from Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries are here illegally among a total population of some 7 to 11 million illegal aliens. Some 6,000 Middle Eastern men who have defied deportation orders remain on the loose. There are roughly 300 agents assigned to apprehend such absconders, plus an additional 5,000 FBI agents newly assigned to investigate foreign terrorist threats.
Again, these outnumbered agents and investigators could use all the help they can get. If you know or suspect an illegal alien, fugitive deportee or other criminal alien, call the feds. An anonymous Justice Department official who writes under the pseudonym Juan Mann has published an enormously helpful reference guide to reporting illegal aliens at Peter Brimelow's VDARE.com. (See http://www.vdare.com/mann/reporting_aliens.htm).
As Mann notes, it's possible your call may not be acted upon, but "you are performing a vital public service by doing this. Officers in these divisions are obligated by law to make a written record of your report. . . . The government will know about it -- and will know we know it knows about it. The Chinese say a journey of a thousand miles must start with one step. Americans can start regaining control of their borders -- and of their nation's destiny -- with one phone call."
3. Watch the campuses. If you study or work at a college or university, be alert. We know al Qaeda operatives -- from the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Africa -- have been training in the American ivory tower for decades. Be especially on guard against suspicious behavior if you are in the computer or engineering fields. Don't let political correctness paralyze you from reporting unusual activity. And don't rest easy if your school is in a small town. Recently arrested terror suspects have gone to school in tiny Murfreesboro, Tenn.; Muncie, Ind.; and Moscow, Idaho. The tentacles of terror reach across the heartland.
4. Be always prepared. Take nothing for granted in your daily life: your trips to the mall, your commute across the bridge, your stop at the library or Home Depot. Sharpen your powers of observation. Take note that the Islamists abroad are recruiting women suicide bombers. If you are trained and licensed to carry a concealed weapon, don't leave home without it. Remember that it was armed private guards, along with a private citizen, who tackled and killed the last "lone wolf" terrorist on American soil, Hesham Hadayet, at Los Angeles International Airport last July 4th.
War is here. The choice is ours: Shields or sheeple? Let's roll.