Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The vernacular of war

Every war has its own terminology and it inevitably spreads around society via the media and soldiers themselves.

The term “jeep” is actually an old army term. You requisitioned the motor pool for use of a General Purpose Vehicle…abbreviated as GP…easily becomes jeep as it rolls off the tongue.

Carpet bombing, Napalm and Agent Orange were terms heard on the streets of America during Vietnam.

And Desert Storm brought us SCUDs and Patriots. Daisy Cutters came back for a reprise as well.
Now we have the IED, the preferred tool of urban terrorists.

But we must all pray very hard that the next terrorist tool of war isn’t the IND, or Improvised Nuclear Device. Two government reports ought to give us cause to pause. First, from Rolf Mowatt-Larssen. Rolf is in charge of Intelligence at the Department of Energy. Listen to what he told a Senate Homeland Security Committee:

“In the early years of the 21st century, we will likely be tested in our ability to prevent non-state efforts to develop and detonate a nuclear weapon.

“We should not assume that the technology of a nuclear weapon is beyond the capability of a terrorist group. There are several differences between a state nuclear weapons program and one that a terrorist group might pursue. A state would want a regular supply of uranium or plutonium that it controls. A state would want a reliable weapon that would detonate only where and when the state chooses. A terrorist group does not need the kind of surety and consistency that a state desires. A terrorist group needs only to produce a nuclear yield once to change history.

“Today, al-Qa'ida's nuclear intent remains clear. Al-Qa'ida obtained a fatwa in May 2003 that approved of the use of weapons of mass destruction. Al-Qa'ida spokesman Suleyman abu Ghayth said in 2003 that it is al-Qa'ida's right to kill 4 million Americans in retaliation for Muslim deaths that al-Qa'ida blames on the United States.”

(Read Larssen’s complete testimony here: http://congressional.energy.gov/documents/April_2_-_Homeland_Sec-Larssen(1).pdf )

Ok, so they steal some fissile material and build a crude bomb. How are they going to get it into the country? I present to you government report #2. You are aware that most government agencies have an Inspector General department. They act as auditors. They test the effectiveness and efficiency of the agency. And then there is the GAO, or Government Accountability Office.

You’ll read now and then that some inspectors tested TSA at the airport to see if they can sneak something past them. Frankly, I’m not impressed with the results.

But the GAO specifically asked the question about border security. Here’s that report to Congress: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d08757.pdf

It seems that these government auditors found it quite easy to circumvent border security. We know Canada is a problem. But the risk (and the historical precedence) is along our border with Mexico. Let’s face it, Cubans and Saudis look more like Mexicans than French-Canadians. And regrouping in Mexico is an easier task than gathering undetected in Canada.

But let me quote from the report about the ability to move equipment across the border:
“At the point where the dirt road ran closest to the U.S.–Mexico border, our investigators spotted additional U.S. Border Patrol vehicles parked in a covered position. About three-fourths of a mile from these vehicles, our investigators pulled off the road. One investigator exited the vehicle and proceeded on foot through several gulches and gullies toward the Mexican border. His intent was to find out whether he would be questioned by law enforcement agents about his activities. He returned to the vehicle after 15 minutes, at which time our investigators returned to the main road. Our investigators did not observe any public traffic on this road for the 1 hour that they were in the area, but none of the law enforcement units attempted to stop our investigators and find out what they were doing. According to CBP, because our investigators did not approach from the direction of Mexico, there would be no expectation for law enforcement units to question these activities.”

(It is a bit frightening to note that the government investigators did not feel it was safe for them to conduct their normal tests in Mexico so they had to work from the US side.)

So, here we have two government agencies, both reporting to the Senate, explaining a threat and a method of infiltration. You’ll like this nice logo I found on the Homeland Security website.

It makes you proud to be an American, doesn’t it?

Please keep praying that the term “IND” never becomes part of our society.

No comments:

Post a Comment