We have the world's finest intelligence gathering technology. What we don't have are enough folks who can translate those millions of conversations and e-mails into English.
How can you spy, let alone infiltrate if you don't know the language? If you can't find the country on an outline map? If you know nothing of its people -- their history, culture, economic conditions and religion?
We have more military power than many nations combined. And yet we're still vulnerable. Not to the wars of the last century. Those we could still fight and win. Vulnerable to the wars of this century. Wars without nations, front lines and tanks. Wars fought with cardboard box openers and commercial airliners.
A terrorist used to be "someone who has a bomb but doesn't have a plane." Now terrorists use planes as bombs.
It's good to tighten airline security. But terrorists have many alternatives to bombing buildings with hijacked planes.
Terrorism is not about "winning wars." It's not even about death and destruction, as such. Terrorism is about fomenting terror.
Terror comes from the innovative and unexpected attack. A bridge, nuclear power plant or natural gas pipeline here. An electric power grid or Internet there. Atom bombs in backpacks. Poisoned air in a subway one day. A water supply another.
Such attacks are easy for perpetrators willing to die. Especially in countries where individual liberties are highly desired and valued.
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