The US Must Prepare for Terrorist Reprisals During the Mosul Campaign by Emulating Israel
When US President (and Commander in Chief) Barack Obama directed US troops to lead the fight to liberate Mosul from the claws of ISIS, he bore the responsibility to prepare the American people for the possibility of reprisals.
A cardinal rule of thumb in the Middle East culture of conflict is that reprisals against civilians can be expected, even at the cost of the life of the attacker.
As an American who has lived in Israel for 46 years, and as a journalist who has covered sensitive security matters for the past three decades, I feel the need to share the way in which Israel prepares for and copes with the home front during wartime. These measures that Israel takes as a matter of course can also be implemented in the US.
All modes of transportation, particularly inter-city train and bus stations, must be protected by the same type of security means generally employed at airports. Armed roaming security teams should enter buses and subways and perform spot checks on suspicious people or objects. These guards must examine the people they are questioning closely. Security cameras must be used as well, with footage relayed to a manned command center.
Such guards should be positioned in all public buildings, places of worship, hospitals, rallies, sporting events, restaurants, amusement parks and major hotels. (It would save time to use unemployed veterans of Mideast conflicts for this purpose, as they know what to look for and have had experience.)
A certain percentage of teachers should be armed and trained by professionals.
The time has come for Americans to demand of the government and Congress that such precautionary measures be adopted immediately.
This is not a pipe dream, as I have learned in my meetings with congressional staffers, open to citizens’ involvement in Mideast policy. Indeed, if there is one aspect of American democracy that works well, it is the system of checks and balances. But it requires feedback from the public.
To quote a Greek proverb that served as the guiding principle of the World Affairs Council in my home city of Philadelphia: “In a democracy, agreement is not essential – participation is.”