However, just how one is supposed to recognize future threats is difficult to determine. After all, if one imagines that excessive support in intervention, arms supply, technology, and financial backing is a key factor, combined with a strong religious motivation of the recipient nation, group, or organization, Israel or at the very least the Israeli right wing may one day be as dangerous as any Islamic threat may pose today.
Although much thought can be devoted to the necessary international, political and military strategies employed by the United States as a world power, it remains clear that of foremost concern to American families is their safety at home. Of course, war is never easy, particularly for those deployed in battle, or for their families. However, when a nation is attacked on its own soil it not only faces a "real damage," but it also suffers greatly in morale (Schweitzer, 2003). Indeed, many consider this to be the hallmark of terrorism, that sense of demoralization and fear that pervades a society that is relatively disproportionate to the real threat implied (2003). This means that it takes a relatively small amount of attack power to bring even a large nation to its knees with regard to quality of life, as well as economic health, should that attack power be centered "on the home front."
Clearly, given the horrific nature of terrorism, as well as its immense impact on the American psyche, it is essential to begin to take real and concrete steps against the kind of loopholes in our security mechanisms discussed here. Although much has been done to make the nation appear to be more secure, several key institutions are no safer than they ever were. In fact, many assert that increased bureaucratic confusion, pressure, and special interests have made security even more lax than before the attacks (MSNBC, 2005). But what, specifically can be done?
Obviously, some of the most important places to start are the very areas in which American security failed during September 11th. Although great amounts of money as well as immense levels of lip service have been given to the subject of increased airport security, many experts assert that Americans are no safer now than we ever were (2005). Further, much of this peril can be attributed to the continued pressure exerted by the financial "bottom line" represented by the big business of the airline industry, bid-driven technology companies, as well as under funded budgets, specifically at the Transpiration Security Administration (Harris, 2003).
Clearly the other major area of change that needs to be addressed is the entire immigration system within the nation, as well as internationally. First, as many assert, it is absolutely necessary for the government to exert the same kinds of restrictions upon those seeking acceptance into the green card lottery program as are applied to those seeking temporary or visitor visas abroad. More specifically, it seems quite ridiculous for applicants from "unacceptable" country lists (those from nations sponsoring terrorism) to be allowed to apply for a permanent green card, even through a lottery (indeed, some say especially through a lottery).
Further, with regard to general immigration procedures, it must be acknowledged that the current system simply receives a failing grade (with the glaring hole in the New York skyline ample testimony to that fact). The details surrounding the immigration status of the terrorists involved in September 11 clearly show just how horribly flawed the Immigration and Naturalization is -- and just how immigration laws designed to allow access to America has imperiled the nation.
Although it is sad to say, the United States is simply no longer the nation represented by the Ellis Island of yore. Yes, the country is still a nation if immigrants. However, in today's world where terrorists are actively using the immigration system to attack America and Americans (of whatever background), it is a given that it simply must be overhauled with a heavy and restrictive hand. This is not to say that the United States will cease to allow immigration, however, stronger safeguards as well as accountability and vigilance must be implemented as never before.
Although the United States should never be allowed to pass into an isolationist or xenophobic mode, it is clear that "desperate times call for desperate measures." If this means overhauling the Immigration and Naturalization Service, improving analysis of foreign aid and policy, as well as in vastly improving airport security (at significant expense and inconvenience), then these steps simply must be taken. To sit back and allow another major terrorist attack on United States soil is not only unthinkable to the average American, but it is also largely unnecessary. At the very least care should be taken to avoid the mistakes made leading up to the September 11th attacks, if not in foreseeing all of the possible avenues for novel modes of aggression yet to be seen.
Immigration, unfettered travel, and international aid are trademarks of pride within the nation -- however, the safety and security of the legitimate citizens already residing in the United States is of paramount importance. In simple terms, "If you see a leak, you patch it." This is exactly what must be done to improve the safety of Americans today. If new leaks spring up later, one must deal with them as they come. However, to ignore the cracks already showing is to invite a flood of disaster upon the scars of prior tragedy.
Camarota, Stephen. "The Open Door: How Militant Islamic Terrorists Entered and Remained in the United States, 1993-2001." Web site. Retrieved on April 25, 2005
Harris, Leon. "Former NTSB director: TSA needs more money." CNN. 30 September, 2003. Web site. Retrieved on April 26, 2005
Jenkins, Darrel. "A Primer on Airport Security." Maxwell Symposium. Web site. 2002. Retrieved on April 26, 2005
MSNBC. (Staff). "Airport screening not improved, reports say." Web site. 15 April, 2005. Retrieved from Web site on April 26, 2005
Rasheed, Ahmed. "The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia." New York. Yale Press, 2002.
Schweitzer, Yoram. "The Age of Non-Conventional Terrorism." Strategic Assessment. 1 May. Vol. 6 no. 1. 2003