Monday, May 23, 2005

The Global War on Terror at Home

Another small plane loses its way over the Washington area and fighter jets scramble to intercept. Noisy. Bits of flares in my back yard.

Reminds me of a day twenty-five years ago when the windows of my home shook: one of my neighbors, a former Iranian diplomat, shot by a phony postman. The assassin fled to Iran to become a movie star -- experience, I suppose.

You see, I was never one of those people who thought the GWOT began on September 11th, 2001. It's just that this was the day we Americans started to fight back. Better the screech of fighter jets and the glare of flares than the death rattles and toasted bodies of terrorists' victims.

Many years ago, long before the GWOT, police at Dulles airport noticed a man acting suspiciously; he was obviously agitated by the heavy paper bag he was holding. something he had just been given by a passing acquaintance. He dumped it in the garbage and fled. The cops called the bomb squad. The bomb squad gingerly took the package out onto the field and detonated it. They examined the remains carefully and determined they had blown up a box of fudge.

Thanks to the U.S. military, I no longer experience a sense of helplessness and impending doom when I look up at the sky, even if there is a plane out there with my name on it. If the errant small plane overhead yesterday had been shot down, I don't think I would have felt any different.

Perhaps the terrorists will strike the U.S. again, and we civilians will once more share the dangers of our troops abroad. (The last time that happened was two years ago, when the Washington-area snipers were on the prowl. One of their "kills" was the mother of a child at the elementary school across the street.) Such events don't diminish my respect for our troops or the GWOT one inch.

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