I'm not the sort that generally dwells on vague threats or speculates the "what ifs", but given the recent developments and the sanitized info that is being passed around with respect to possible terrorist action, I am certainly feeling anxious these days. I've noticed that my sleep patterns have been disrupted and I am certainly walking around with a heightened sense of caution.
So why the sudden change? I attribute it to the realiztion that for the first time in my life, the sense of security I once felt is clouded by my sense that the resources in this country are inadequate to combat isolated terrorists attacks-ones that can have far reaching implications.
Sure, my generation grew up during the nuclear arms race, but I'm not convinced that a threat of nuclear war during that time could have ever risen to the level of imminency (I'm talking post-Cuban missle crisis). Yes, it was a time that nations flexed their political muscle and built weapons in response to stock-piling by its perceived enemies, but at least you knew your enemy, where he was, and what he was capable of doing. I submit that we don't have that security in the war with terrorist.
It's not the frequency of terrorist attacks that most concerns me, but rather the magnitude of the devastation that each attack may bring. Can you imagine the impact a chemical, biological or radialogical weapon could have if detonated in the subway system of NYC below Grand Central at the height of rush hour? The point of incident alone would be horrific, but let's not forget the collateral impact it could have by traveling down the tunnels and up through the sidewalk vents. I'm not trying to be fatalisitc, but it's something I think about each day as my train pulls into GC.
We are dealing with comparatively small, discreet and highly mobile units whose capabilities are not fully-known. Couple that with fanaticism, a desire to impart large psychological impact, and a mission to levy as much damage as possible, and the magnitude of terroistic threat increases exponentially.
Do I think a war with Iraq will increase terrorist activity? With respect to the Islamic-fundamentalist groups-yes (the others I think of being less radical and threatening-especially when the country is subject to attack by outside forces). Terrorist acts are a strategic part of their "war"-why should the battle be limited to the theater of Iraq? Although at times we like to think that this country is invincible, we shouldn't fall into a mindset that were not vulnerable.
Sorry to use this space to vent my personal hang-ups.