Bob Meade - A new kind of war

  • Published in Columns
A very long time ago I read a book that I believe was entitled "The Feather of an Eagle". The reason for that name was that the eagle was killed by an arrow that was guided by a feather that the eagle had lost.
The story was about a different kind of war, a citizen's war in which they attacked the government military by night, and folded back into routine society by day. Some would call it guerrilla war. No uniforms. No generals directing waves of troops. No tanks or heavy artillery. No airplanes dropping bombs or strafing troops. Simply citizens stealthily destroying the dominant army of the government, and doing so with hand made devices or the tools that were available. I liken that story to what is happening around the world today.
A single person can attempt to blow up an airplane with a "shoe bomb". Another can be caught with a car full of explosives aimed at blowing up a portion of mid-town New York. A domestic terrorist can use a truck filled with fertilizer to explode outside a federal building, killing 168 innocents. A teen aged immigrant and his 26 year old brother can wreak havoc on a major metropolitan area, a state, and the nation, with their home made bombs killing and maiming fellow citizens. A single soldier, a (physician) major in the Army, can kill 13 fellow soldiers and wound more than thirty others. The only thing in common for most of those people is their religion, and their desire to deny our freedoms and impose their way of life.
The problem is not confined to the United States . . . it is world wide. Western countries try to figure out how to cope with immigrant populations that are growing so rapidly, that it is becoming a pitting of their youth against the aging populations of their host countries. And, the activities get more brazen every day as we witness a near beheading of a 25 year old British soldier, in the street, close to his barracks. Surprisingly, what had been proudly worn as a symbol depicting a defender of freedom, British soldiers are now told not to wear their uniforms in public lest the new populations to their country take offense.
Our country watches as nations in the mid-east undergo, or are undergoing revolutions to depose dictatorial regimes. In most cases, the ensuing governments have not brought peace and stability, but have created a combination of theocratic dictatorships and anarchy. Christians are murdered, or are targeted and beaten, and driven from their homes, many fleeing across borders to other countries in search of a safe haven. Threats against our ally Israel are mounting.
In Egypt, on the anniversary of 9-11, we watched as mobs attacked our embassy and we listened as they chanted, "We are one and a half billion bin Ladens". Their defiant chant countering a political slogan, "bin Laden's dead, General Motors is alive." Other mobs attacked our embassies and consulates, desecrating our flag, defacing our facilities, and murdering our representatives. Our leaders tell our would be rescuers to "stand down" and not attempt to save any and all possible. And then our leaders attempt to defend their actions with a shameful series of lies. But they are exposed. No one knows where the president was during all of this . . . and he's not telling!
In his recent speech at Fort McNair, ( the president told us that the war against terror is unsustainable. He split hairs when, in the speech, he said that we have not had a successful attack by "al Qaeda" in this country since 9-11. Of course, the victims of the shooting at Fort Hood, or their surviving family members, would take issue with that al Qaeda nuance, as would the family of the soldier killed at the recruiting station in Little Rock, Arkansas, and the families of those killed and wounded by the Boston bombers. Are terrorist attacks only to be counted when they're inflicted by certified al Qaeda members?
While we hear some acknowledgement of individual acts of terror, we hear virtually nothing about how this new kind of war will be addressed. Will we establish some form of monitoring for those here on student visas? Those who never attend a class? Will we revert to old time immigration rules where a newcomer has to have a responsible resident sponsor who will be accountable for them? In a free and open society, built around the Bill of Rights, how do we ensure that the millions of aliens in our midst are not here to do us harm? Are there those among the millions of immigrants who fancy themselves as an army of one?
Just how do we deal with this new kind of war? Truth may be a start.
(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident)