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New Year, Same al-Qaida

Tuesday, 28 December 2004 12:00 AM

Something more is needed now. Al-Qaida operatives in America and abroad are guilty by association. They have proven over and over that they will attack innocent people wherever possible and do so without remorse. They are fighting a war without rules and it is time our legislatures allowed our soldiers to fight back on a level playing field.

Recently al-Qaida claimed that Americans have killed 100,000 people in Iraq. They have issued a warning that 100,000 Americans will die by nuclear warfare as retribution. So, what do we do? Do we wait on these terrorists to act, to again wreak havoc here in America? Or, because we know where they are, should we not eliminate them now? Should we not dismantle them by any means necessary - what we call pre-emptive strikes - to make sure that this kind of tragedy never happens again on our soil?

The creation of the Patriot Act and Department of Homeland Security were a good start, but now it is time for legislatures to allow our intelligence community, our police force and our military to do their jobs. Modify the laws so that we can take out these al-Qaida operatives who are under our watch but beyond our reach because of outdated and irrational laws.

According to the Department of Justice, “hundreds of suspected terrorists have been identified and tracked throughout the United States.” Unfortunately many of these suspected terrorists cannot be detained, brought in for questioning, or put on trial because no evidence has directly linked them to a crime. However, in this post-9/11 era, if we wait until there is evidence to disrupt these suspected terrorists, it is too late.

I am not suggesting that we give the DOJ the ability to arrest anybody they want, but Congress would do well to make it easier for the DOJ to at least detain suspected terrorists, label them “enemy combatants” and question them in an effort to learn about future al-Qaida plans.

If we take a look at history, we see what happens when terrorists are provided safe havens to build up their networks. They will spend as long as it takes to train operatives, prepare suicide bombers, devise devastating plots, survey possible worldwide targets, and strike. Although al-Qaida has clearly been weakened since 9/11, the terrorist attacks during 2002 in Tunisia, Bali, Kuwait and Kenya and in 2004 in Spain demonstrated that it has not been destroyed.

A closer look at the war in Iraq shows that the al-Qaida terrorist network is continually attempting to disrupt the peace by any possible means. Over the previous year, dozens of innocent civilians have been kidnapped and murdered, including longtime CARE aid worker Margaret Hassan. Hassan devoted her life to supporting the poor and disadvantaged in Iraq, particularly children. Assisting over 17 million Iraqis during her tenure in the Mideast, Hassan was loved and respected in the region.

Whether hiding on American soil or fighting in Iraq, all al-Qaida operatives must be dealt with in the most significant way. They must be smoked out, detained, arrested and punished for their actions. Once convicted, they should go to the front of the line at death row.

In order to ensure the capture of terrorists and protect our homeland and democracies abroad, it is imperative that Congress stay on the offensive. Through legislation, innovative and improved equipment, and a steady stream of troop deployment, we can overcome terrorism. There can be no timetable for results - no date for withdrawal - because only when every al-Qaida operative is brought to justice will this mission be completed. And only when this mission is completed can Americans rest easy.

www.armstrong-williams.com

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Something more is needed now. Al-Qaida operatives in America and abroad are guilty by association. They have proven over and over that they will attack innocent people wherever possible and do so without remorse. They are fighting a war without rules and it is time our...
New,Year,,Same,al-Qaida
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2004-00-28
Tuesday, 28 December 2004 12:00 AM
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