Combating Terrorism Realistically

This week saw the coordinated rush hour bombing of a bus and tubes in London’s underground system.  The event cost scores of lives and injured many more people.  It also damaged the British economy by shutting down most businesses for a day.

Unfortunately this type of terrorist act is not preventable in a free society.  London’s subways move three million people every morning.  Asking city commuters to stand in line for an hour to have their bags searched before getting on the bus or subway would defeat the purpose of urban mass transit.  Busses and subways in every city in the world run the same risks as those in London.

We must accept that open societies are soft targets for terrorist activity.  It is impossible to protect all of the citizens all of the time from radical religious fundamentalists that are willing to give up their lives to kill others.  Free men and women are not willing to live in an armed fortress; hence, our determination to live in an open society will always make us vulnerable to these types of attacks.

Currently fundamental Muslim terrorists have two distinct advantages over the civilized world.

First, we are overly dependent upon foreign oil.  Every time we buy a gallon of gasoline we assist in the funding of terrorism.  I call it the “terrorism tax”.  How much money from our $2.25 gallon of gasoline ends up in the hands of Mullahs in Saudi Arabia who poison the minds of children in fundamentalist Wahabi schools?  Because of our dependence on oil we begrudgingly end up funding the terrorism we abhor.  What a mess!

Second, many citizens of the western world believe that fundamentalist Muslims can be reasoned with or bought off.  The French believe this, but other western nations, including the United States, have followed policies of appeasement with oil-rich Arab rulers who play both sides of the street.  They dine at the White House while directly and indirectly assisting terrorists.  This must stop.

The two advantages listed above can be successfully neutralized.  It will take time and money, but it can be done.

The first terrorist advantage (dependence on oil) can be eliminated only if the United States begins large-scale construction and use of nuclear power generating facilities.  We can use this electricity to heat our homes and power our automobiles.  With our present technology only the nuclear option offers energy levels with sufficient capacity to satisfy our current and future power needs without polluting our air and water.  It will be a lot easier and more pleasant to solve the nuclear waste storage problem than it will be to rebuild the infrastructure of bombed subways and cities.

The second terrorist advantage (appeasement of radical Muslims) can be mainly neutralized by getting tough with our “friends” in Saudi Arabia and other countries that choose to play “both sides of the fence”.  Internationally we should use whatever economic and diplomatic leverage we have to encourage positive change in these rogue nations.  Domestically we should insist that Muslim clerics in the United States start aggressively and frequently condemning acts of terrorism in their mosques.  If they fail to do this, they should be tried for treason and the United States Government should shut down their mosques.   The same should hold for clerics of all religions.

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