Since the events of September 11, 2001, the United States of America as a whole people do not feel nearly as secure as they used to. In light of the terrorist attacks, citizens have taken a much closer look at the tremendous vulnerabilities America has. Dams, chemical plants, malls, and stadiums are just a few of the numerous potential terrorist targets. Obviously these facilities need to be protected at a heightened state of alert. What can the United States do as a country to stop these threats? They must retaliate to put terrorist on the run, making them contemplate long and hard about attacking American civilians again. Many believe that if Osama bin Laden is killed the problem would be solved. This is not so, terrorism networks must be destroyed for the problem to be resolved. In order to do this the United States must form a global task force against terrorism. If the United States, with the support of the rest of the world does this, terrorism will be diminished and citizens everywhere can feel secure once again. In response to terrorism, the United States must retaliate against known terrorists, institute new precautions, and establish a global task force.
The first step in fighting against terrorism that the military must take is to collect information. They need to locate enemy training camps, facilities, aircraft runways, and underground caves. Caves, buried in mountainous terrain, house terrorists, their weapons, electricity, tanks, command centers, and sleeping quarters. Most information obtained on these positions come from satellites taking pictures from space. Another source of information comes from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). They acquire their knowledge through techniques in espionage, known most commonly as spying. By using satellites and espionage, the United States will gain the knowledge they need to strategically hit key terrorist training camps, weaponry, airports, and so on.
After the process of gathering information, the United States government must attack the terrorist through bombings and special operational unit strikes. Not only should the United States go against terrorists, retaliation must occur fronting the governments that harbor these terrorists. Airports are the first targets the military needs to destroy. By knocking out airstrip runways, the United States gains an enormous advantage against its enemies. Without aircraft ability the terrorist have no control over their own airspace. This gives the military complete freedom in flying over all enemy targets. Immediately after taking out runways, other important facilities should be destroyed before the enemy can rebuild their airstrips. Such important facilities include: terrorist training camps, ammunition bunkers, tanks, terrorist headquarters, surface to air missiles (SAM), and bunkers housing terrorist that are within the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan. Taking out such targets makes the objectives of troops on the ground much more difficult. It is quite clear why the United States military must bomb and do it significantly.
Thus far the best option the United States Department of Defense has, is to insert ground troops consisting of Special Operations Units. These units are Army Rangers, Green Berets, Commandos, Marines, and the Delta Force (though the Delta Force is not publicly confirmed to exist by the United States government, its existence is known of). These special units need to be flown in and parachuted at low-level altitudes by special operations forces form the Army, Air Force, and units of the 82nd and 101st airborne divisions. (Kelley, USA Today pg. 1) These teams have been ordered to capture or kill bin Laden or, if this is not possible, pin him down in an area until United States air-strikes can be launched, the officials say. (Kelley, USA Today pg.1) This goes for all other major terrorists as well. These special forces are the pinnacle of the military, and soldiers of these units are specially trained in anti-terrorism, and are only the best our country has to offer. All Special Forces outfits are armed heavily with fully automatic weapons, anti-tank rockets, night-vision goggles, and a backpack consisting of over 100 pounds of gear (including weapons). By using this tactic, it would allow for a swift retaliation against terrorist, minimum civilian casualties, and minimum loss of military life for the United States. By far this is the optimum route in the fight against terrorism.
The next, most important way to minimize terrorist threat would be to institute new precautions for vulnerable areas in the United States. These areas include public places, nuclear power plants, and mass distribution services. Security in categories such as these must be beefed up so their potential losses do not become losses at all. All of the above have vulnerabilities, yet all can be protected against these vulnerabilities. An explanation is given on the procedures of doing this throughout the following paragraphs.
First of public places that absolutely need to have more precautions are malls. In the November 5, 2001 issue of Newsweek, 49 percent of people think that malls are most vulnerable to terrorist attack. According to the study in Newsweek, the potential loss for civilian life is very low in this area. In the case of a suicide bomber, only a limited number of people could be killed from the explosion. Only a car bomb could cause mass causalities. (Begley, Newsweek pg.31) What are the capabilities of a germ attack? This attack is likely to cause even fewer deaths than a suicide bombing. Security cautions need to be taken extremely serious for potential cases though. Security must begin inspecting all shipments that arrive for anything that looks suspicious. In large malls, trashcans must be removed to eliminate possible places to plant a bomb. As for anthrax being released into a closed space, the risk for contraction is also very low. Most malls are equipped with filters in their ventilation systems that remove 90 percent of airborne anthrax. In either case the motive to attack a mall seems quite small.
Next potential spots for terrorist attacks may be stadiums. In stadiums the expectancy in the case of an attack for causalities is fairly large. If a bomber got inside the stadium, there are a few hundred people or so around him that could be killed. That is if he gets in with a bomb. The security in stadiums must be extensively heightened. Fans must pass through metal detectors at the gate, which alone could diminish the possibilities of any major happenings. Also, parking should not be allowed within a certain distance of any stadium. If parking restrictions are made law, the terrorists might as well cross of the use of a car bomb from their lists. Next, all backpacks and coolers must be banned from the games. If these are still allowed it would be much too easy for a terrorist to sneak something deadly into a largely packed crowd. Also, diaper bags, handbags, fanny packs, et cetera must be allowed to be searched. Fans, do not worry about getting anthrax at the ballpark either; the probability of contracting anthrax at the ballpark is astronomically low. In wide-open spaces, such as stadiums, air currents would disperse germs harmlessly into the atmosphere without anyone even knowing about it. Americans should go out to watch a baseball, football, or basketball game. Kick back, and have a Coke, the best thing to do for America is to get back to as normal as possible (excluding bad security).
Skyscrapers should be high on the governments to-make-more-safe list. Unlike the previous facilities, skyscrapers are prone to large amounts of potential disasters. These disasters include car bombs, suicide bombers, hijacked planes, and biological weapons. Wherever possible, cars must absolutely be kept at a far perimeter from large buildings and offices. At buildings where this is not possible, large cement walls should be constructed to minimize the affect a car bomb would have on the building. Just as at ballparks, office buildings and like should have metal detectors as a person walks though the door. This procedure then would cut off suicide bombers from entering the building. As far as hijacked planes that is the airports responsibility to take care of. The simple way to reduce the threat of biological weapons in air ventilation systems is to seal off air intake vents from the lower levels of buildings. Then, replace the standard HEPA filters with activated impregnated carbon filters. Overall the skyscraper is a hard facility to keep safe, and should be at number one on the governments list to secure.
The most obvious problem that exists in America as of now is airport security. Although endless lines at many airports suggest that airlines have now embraced security as their top priority, last week a traveler carried a loaded derringer through checkpoints at the New Orleans airport. Once on the Southwest Airlines flight, the Mississippi businessman apparently remembered he had the gun, and turned it over to a flight attendant. He wasnt charged-an innocent mistake, the FBI concluded. (Begley, Newsweek pg. 34) This effort simply is not an acceptable level of security. First of all, a passenger slipped through all the security that was supposed to stop any guns from getting aboard. The kick is that he got though the security measures without even knowing that he still had possession of the weapon. How hard can it be to sneak weapons aboard a plane if someone had intent to? Gerald Dillingham, director of civil-aviation issues for Congresss General Accounting Office, tells NEWSWEEK he is so concerned about the uneven security that he gives the effort only a C+. (Begley, Newsweek pg. 34) In order to keep catastrophes from occurring, the Federal Aviation Administration (FFA) ought to limit access to planes and investigate everybody and everything that goes onto them. Airlines however are gaining ground in securing their planes. It is now common knowledge that nearly all planes have had their cockpit doors reinforced to keep potential hijackers at bay. Alaska Airlines and JetBlue have even retrofitted their planes with bulletproof, Kevlar-reinforced doors. (Begley, Newsweek pg. 34) Potential weapons that are now disallowed include; all knives, corkscrews, metal nail files, ski poles, and hockey sticks. Also, an increased amount of air marshals should be placed on flights more periodically than the current number. Airlines need to specially train screeners as well as monitor them on duty. All bags must be checked for bombs and the like using explosive-detection machines. There are currently 140 of these machines available at 47 different airports. All passengers should be checked in criminal and terrorists databases. If these few things are done, flying will become much safer than it currently is. Even full implementation of the many proposed security steps would fall short of stopping a determined terrorist, particularly one willing to die. Matching bags to passengers, as security experts have demanded for years, would not stop a suicidal terrorist. As clever as we get, there is always some diabolically clever person out there who could find a chink in the system, says Richard Gritta of the University of Portland, who specializes in aviation security. (Begley, Newsweek, pg. 34) If this is true, the United States government must try to implement these new precautions to make citizens of America as safe as possible.
Of all possible threats that pose the United States, nuclear power plants rank the highest among all categories for their potential loss and vulnerability. The consequences of an aircrafts slamming into a nuclear reactor would not be a nuclear explosion The real danger of a terror attack is the release of radioactive contaminants. (Begley, Newsweek pg. 32) This excerpt clearly states citizens should not be alarmed at the possibilities of a nuclear explosion in the case of a plane hitting a nuclear power plant or other breach. The uranium used in plants is normally five-percent pure, nuclear bombs consist of uranium that is closer to 90 percent pure. A threat that is contained in a catastrophe such as this is the imminent case of nuclear fallout. Only 30 people died of radiation exposure after the 1986 explosion at the nuclear power station in Chernobylthe United Nations found, the breach caused 1,800 cases of thyroid cancer. (Begley, Newsweek pg. 32) Mainly the issue at hand is evacuating the population around the nuclear plant so they are not exposed to radiation. Evacuations would include areas of nearly 100,000 square miles, causing unsafe conditions for humans for over 100 years. Security must also heighten alert at possible breaches. A truck driven by a terrorist could easily be steered into an unguarded point into the plant. This truck may contain a massive bomb that could penetrate through the plants five-foot thick cement walls. As can be clearly concluded; nuclear power plants have enormous capabilities for devastation. The most important steps to securing nuclear power plants are to gain pressure grips on plant security. No-fly zones must be strictly obeyed along with constant patrol of military aircraft. Plants have to run background checks on all employees and often. Tighten the security so only people who are supposed to be in the plant are. Nuclear power plants should be a number one priority on all government officials lists.
One area that people of the United States are most concerned about protecting is the nations food supply. 48 percent of Americans think the food supply is most vulnerable to terrorist attack, only to find out that it would be extremely hard for terrorists to contaminate food on such a large scale. (Begley, Newsweek pg. 37) First of all, contaminating fields that produce grows in would be extremely difficult to do, and most likely would not cause illness in the population at all. Pesticides and toxins can not even be applied to crops in quantities that are deadly. Farmers must pay close attention to unscheduled crop dustings and anything that seems suspicious. Silos where grain, corn and other crops are stored likely are not targets either. The opportunity and the effectiveness of adulterating the grain at this level is very low, says general manager Joe Needham. (Begley, Newsweek pg. 39) Food processing plants are where the main concern lies. Workers must be closely watched wherever they may work in the plant. Extra close attention is needed for employees with jobs where food may be contaminated. The possibility of poisoning food at a lethal level is next to impossible, making the nations food supply an unlikely target for terrorists.
The last key in Americas fight against terrorism is to establish a Global Task Force (GTF). A Global Task Force would consist of nearly all the worlds countries. This organization could be run like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and the United Nations (UN). Main objectives of the global task force could consist of stopping terrorists, and punishing countries and governments that aid in terrorist causes. Different departments could be organized to specialize in stopping particular terrorist attacks. For each department there must be a leader. Leaders could be voted in from any country in the world. From there the leaders appoint their staff from a pool of qualified applicants.The first branch of the Global Task Force that needs to be installed is the Air-terror department. This branch exists mainly to stop aircraft incidents from occurring. Special air marshals could be sent on every flight that takes place in the world. Other members of this staff include airport security and military pilots patrolling metropolitan airspace. Secondly, a Bomb-terror branch should be implemented into the Global Task Force. Agents assigned to this squad will be equipped with bomb detection devises. Men and women of the Bomb-terror division must be specially trained in the field of combat against terrorists. They will need training, because this field requires techniques to take suicide bombers out. Nothing is harder than to stop a suicidal person from doing something they have their mind set on. By far this field will require the most skillful agents. The last field that must be devised is the Bio-terror group. A branch such as the Bio-terror group would specialize in stopping any threats of biological warfare. Many of the worlds smartest people will be needed to participate in an elite group such as this. Scientists from numerous countries will get together, accomplishing as much as they can to win the war on the biological level.
The events of September 11, 2001 will forever change the lives of American citizens throughout the country. The United States must not give in to the terrorists otherwise the terrorists have won the battle. Military forces must retaliate against these wrongdoers, making them rethink their horrible actions. First, the United States must attack known terrorist using bombing and Special Operation techniques. Then, to keep tragedies from happening again, the government must institute new precautions to protect Americans. Precautions must be instituted in malls, stadiums, skyscrapers, airports, airplanes, nuclear power plants, and in the nations food supply. If these measures are taken, citizens of the United States will no longer have to live in a world with such predominate terrorism.
-Begley, Sharon, Protecting America NEWSWEEK November 5, 2001 (pages 26-40)
-FFA, FFA Advises Air Travelers on Airport, Airline Security Measures FFA Advises Air Travelers on Airport, Airline Security Measures October 8, 2001 (Sirs)
-Grolier Educational, Terrorism Ethics and Values Volume 8, 1999 Brown Partworks Ltd.
-Justice Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Fact Sheet: The List of Most Wanted Terrorists Sirs Knowledge Source October 10, 2001
-Kelley, Jack, Special Forces Hunt Bin Laden USA TODAY September 27, 2001
-Rielly, John E., AMERICANS AND THE WORLD: A SURVEY AT CENTURYS END Foreign Policy Spring, 1999 (Sirs)
-UPI, US Troops Enter Afghanistan UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL October 19, 2001 (Sirs)
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