With the Jan. 15 United Nations deadline for Iraq's Saddam Hussein to withdraw his troops from Kuwait fast approaching, Americans should be asking themselves how they may react to several possible scenarios that may arise out of this dangerous, potentially explosive situation.
Considering the instability of the Iraqi leaders, there is the very real possibility Hussein may try to use terrorism to create fear and perhaps turn public opinion against the U.S., United Nations and NATO policies and actions. What will be the reaction of the public, as well as the American media, if and when terrorism comes to our shores?
Will the public and media be mature and accept the terrorist actions for what they are or will they panic and play into the hands of a leader like Hussein? So far, the vicious and deadly terrorist acts of recent years have been abroad in Lebanon when more than 200 U.S. Marines were killed and other incidents involving hijacked airlines, kidnappings and car bombs.
It would seem the odds are increasing that, at some time, terrorist attacks will be tried inside the U.S. There is every reason to be frightened of such possibilities, and every possible precaution should be used to minimize such actions.
At the same time, Americans need to understand that terrorism is the cheapest and sometimes most effective way for a Hussein type to wage war, make threats and state demands. This being the case, and considering the many changes in the way "wars" are now being fought, it is likely Americans will witness terrorist acts within the U.S.
No "wars" have been fought in the continental U.S. since the Civil War. All fighting involving Americans since then has been done on foreign soil. How would American's react to terrible terrorist actions and high loss of life?
It might be difficult for a foreign power or a deranged foreign leader to launch a successful conventional attack on the U.S., but it would not be too difficult to import terrorists or use angry disgruntled Americans to carry out some terrorist act for large sums of money.
If and when it takes place, it is important the public and media do not panic. It would be wise for citizens to accept the fact at this time that terrorism may indeed be used against Americans here in the U.S., not thousands of miles away.