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Thoughts on NYC, Bombs, Taliban & Tomorrow

Just a few quick thoughts on a few things. Placeholders, if you will.

  1. 1. The exact make-up of the firebomb placed at Viacom's doorstep is inconsequential.

    That it got there and failed wholly of it's own flawed making is what is important to soberly consider. Nothing was "foiled," nothing was "prevented." A bomb failed to go off because the bomb maker presumed that M-88 firecrackers would penetrate the gasoline or propane tanks. That is all that separated failure from disaster.

  2. 2. Take the Taliban claims of connection at face value.

    To discount is to believe that you have witnessed the very first instance of either the Taliban or al-Qaeda falsely taking responsibility for an attack that has already occurred. This does not mean you should conclude that they directed the cell or the whole affair.

    It is quite possible that the Taliban is embellishing a mere link and some operational knowledge/involvement in order to "usher Hekimullah Mehsud" back to life with a 'bang,' so to speak, for propaganda value. This, in my view, is the best case scenario based on the observable terrain and the groups' histories.

  3. 3. Pay attention, be aware and presume you are a target.

    Americans need to pay closer attention to the enemy. He wants to kill you. We can call it the "War On Terror" or we can call it "Overseas Contingency Operations." The enemy calls it jihad. If he can kill your neighbor, he can terrorize you and instill a debilitating sense of first panic and then fear and weariness. If he can kill you, he can terrorize all of your neighbors and, perhaps, your government. That's the whole idea.

    We can't wish it away or re-name it away. The enemy gets a vote. Changing the ballot doesn't change the enemy. He votes with guns and explosives. We dismiss him at our own peril.

    This does not mean we must walk around in fear. Awareness is not fear. And the enemy, while he would like to be so in America, is not omnipresent around every corner. In fact, the more you understand, the less unreasonable fear you will cart around with you. But waltzing around oblivious is both dangerous to you and an impetus for your government to do less or play word games. When the Attorney General ways that the bombing attempt in New York City was not terrorism, or the Secretary of Homeland Security declares that the Christmas Day underwear bomber's failed fuse was a Homeland Security success, you simply need to know better. And when you do, you will get better governance.

  4. 4. Know what to do if you're near a VBIED attack.

    If you are in the area where a car bomb does go off, be it in New York City, Los Angeles, Topeka or Kandahar, resist the temptation to either rush to the scene or flee down an open street. Stay calm. If I am nearby, for instance, I will duck into the nearest building and find my way away from the street-front and windows and get down, dragging as many with me as I can.

    Why on Earth would I do this? Terrorists have a nasty habit of double-detonations, designed to either kill first responders at the scene or kill the fleeing down predictable paths of retreat. Unless I am dragging survivors to safety, I will stay put toward the back of the nearest building or entrance and away from glass windows. I would look at my watch and move after about 10 minutes, ignoring everyone urging me to flee unless they are telling me there is a bomb in the building. I will always recall, "Keep your head down and your ears open." I'll trust my instincts and reason with them to trust them, too.

    Know how to react to and accept fear and pain. No one but a crazy fool is fearless, and everyone feels pain. The key is what you do with these adrenaline-producing sensations. Always remember: Pain is God's way of telling you you are still alive, and fear is God's way of telling you to pay attention. Follow that, mix in some knowledge and common sense, and you will weather any storm and, probably, save a whole lot of others in the process.

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