In his remarks June 1 to graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, President Bush may have signaled the beginning of the end of this victim attitude. Halfway through his speech, he said: ‘‘… our security will require all Americans to be forward-looking and resolute, to be ready for preemptive action when necessary to defend our liberty and to defend our lives.'' (italics mine)
Preemptive action, not reaction, is what's needed. The president said we must uncover terror cells in 60 or more countries. Let's start with one cell in one country, besides Afghanistan. Villagers in some backward country that harbors terrorists should wake up one morning and notice the terrorists among them are dead or missing. People like Saddam Hussein, not Americans, should start each day looking in the mirror and wondering if today is their last day on Earth. Money should be missing from terrorist bank accounts all over the world as American intelligence confiscates large amounts of cash through electronic transfers. Terrorist cells in this country should be located, their headquarters raided and their members arrested before they know what hit them.
Authorities should recruit responsible Arab-Americans and freedom-loving Muslims to help in the effort. They would prove that they put America and freedom before any other nation or cause if they were seen turning in those who are plotting against the United States.
We've had enough warnings. Besides, what can we do? Remain vigilant? What does that mean? Is a terrorist likely to leave a briefcase nuke at a bus stop?
It's time to go on the offensive. President Bush correctly told the West Point graduating class, ‘‘We cannot defend America and our friends by hoping for the best. We cannot put our faith in the word of tyrants, who solemnly sign non-proliferation treaties, and then systematically break them (that should also apply to tyrant Yasser Arafat and his broken treaties and promises). If we wait for threats to fully materialize, we will have waited too long.''
America needs a morale boost like Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle's air raid on Japan, which restored America's confidence 60 years ago. Militarily, the attack was not fully successful, but the United States struck a psychological blow from which Japan never recovered. The Doolittle raid literally changed the course and most likely the outcome of World War II.
Despite the exercise of our power in Afghanistan, the United States appears at the mercy of those who hate us. The FBI and CIA have been exposed as incompetent. The stock market lacks confidence. Is there something proportional to the Doolittle raid the administration could come up with to reverse course and boost morale?
Let's stop waiting for terrorists to do us harm and start doing them harm. We shouldn't be thinking about deterrence. We should be planning to wipe them out, starting now, and then start planning the victory parades.