Mar 12, 2004 12:04 pm


Before I start complaining, let me express my deep sadness at the senseless terrorist massacre of Spanish commuters. It reminds me of Yasser Arafat's 1966 attacks on the trains to Jerusalem. As a student at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, I used to take that train from Haifa on Sunday mornings. They were fewer casualties during those innocent days when terrorists still believed that sowing terror did not necessitate a high body count. That changed, of course, during the second intifada when the Palestinians decided that only a high Israeli body count would get the Jews to evacuate Israel. The fact that the decision and the subsequent carnage in Israel failed to elicit universal condemnation, insured that other terrorists will follow in their footsteps. As I have written before, Jews are the canaries in mines. When they start dying and the air is not cleared, the rest of the world population is sure to follow.

Well, Israel has learned to take measures to reduce the body count and the rest of the world has to follow. The task is to reduce the vulnerability of soft targets. There was no reason for Spaniards or for us not to have been trained to pay attention to unaccompanied luggage or parcels. There is no reason not to have guards checking bags in entrances to train stations, mall or theaters. It is done in Israel (where is has saved lives) and should be done in elsewhere including the US. It is not a job for the Federal Government or its homeland security department. They should worry about the bridges. It is the job of local government which should demand businesses to provide such protection and recruit volunteers to protect schools, hospitals and other public places. The single guard at Cherry Hill east high school, for example, sits at a desk and has yet to have checked the bags full of weights that I carry to my exercise classes.

It is time to stop wining and harden soft targets.

By the way, its worth noting that Islamist consider Spain just as much an occupied territory as Israel since both lands were at one time under Muslim rule (i.e., Dar al Islam) and no Muslim fundamentalist can permanently relinquish such a land. The same, by the way, is true about the part of Eastern Europe once ruled by the Khalifat, i.e., the Ottoman Empire.

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