Tags: Barack Obama | War on Terrorism | Homeland Security | times | square | terror | new

Lessons From Times Square Bomb Plot

By Tawfik Hamid   |   Wednesday, 05 May 2010 07:55 AM

After the recent failed attempt to explode a car in the Times Square in New York City it is vital to learn some lessons to prevent further attacks on the U.S.

There is no doubt that Homeland Security is doing a great job keeping us secure, but the following points need to be addressed:

1. What if the person who conducted this failed attempt was wearing an Islamic niquab that covers the whole face and body? In this situation, searching for the suspect would be much more complicated.

It is time to think of how religious freedom must be weighed against our security measures. Wearing full body cover can limit our ability to find terrorist suspects and consequently impede our efforts to prevent terrorism.

2. The incident in Times Square further confirmed the fact that terrorists are still having the will to attack us and they have the capability to penetrate our systems.

Efforts in the U.S. are clearly directed toward preventing the penetration of our systems by the jihadists and limit their ability to attain WMD. It is time to seriously consider using better psychological warfare to weaken the will of the terrorists.

Addressing the three components — the will to destroy, the ability to penetrate, and attempt to obtain more destructive weapons — is crucial in winning the war against terrorism.

3. The Obama administration must analyze the reasons and factors that have contributed to the increasing number of terrorist acts and attempts inside the U.S. recently.

Excluding the Pakistan case of the five American jihadists, the Rand Corporation says that nearly 30 homegrown terror plots have been uncovered in the U.S. since Sept. 11, 2001. Ten of these attacks surfaced in 2009 alone, including two attacks in Little Rock, Ark. and Fort Hood, Texas.

It is possible that some of the actions of the Obama administration were perceived as signs of weakness by the jihadists and thus have contributed to such an increase in their will to attack the U.S.

4. In the last five months luck has played a major role in preventing two disasters in the U.S.

The first was the failed attack to destroy an airliner on the Christmas Day. The second is the latest attempt to explode a car in Times Square on a busy Saturday night. Just imagine the negative impact on the U.S. if we were not so lucky.

We would have lost trust and confidence in U.S. security measures (which can encourage jihadists to launch more attacks on the U.S.).

Aside from the devastating impact of lives lost, the economic damage to the airline and tourist industries would be devastating.

The question that must be raised: What is the Obama administration going to do to improve our security so that we do not rely on luck?

We cannot rely on our luck when dealing with Islamic terrorists. We must analyze our strengths and weaknesses and consider new approaches to enhance our ability to protect our homeland. Psychological measures to weaken the will of the jihadists are needed to achieve victory in this war.

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