By Neil Carrington, USAG DPTMSFebruary 26, 2009
FORT MCPHERSON, Ga. -- The world's view of terrorism changed dramatically Sept. 11, 2001.
None of us will forget where we were and what we were doing when those tragic events unfolded before our eyes.
As we watched the planes crash into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the scenes didn't seem real.
Unfortunately, the events were all too real and the chances of an event of that magnitude happening again are very real, and even likely. Sadly, many Americans believe that a terrorist attack of that size and scale was a one-time event and could never happen again.
That belief and mindset are very far from reality. Major terrorist organizations resent our way of life and will do anything to destroy it.
Osama Bin Laden was asked in the past if he would use chemical/biological warfare on people. He answered, "It would be foolish of me not to use any weapon at my disposal to defeat our enemies."
Although it remains unclear if Bin Laden or any of the major terrorist organizations have the capability to deploy chemical or biological weapons, their desire and intent are not in question. Al-Qaida and most of the other terrorist organizations are considered extremist Muslim organizations and do not share the same beliefs as the majority of the world's Muslim population.
This is why many of the most recent terrorist attacks throughout the world have been on other Muslim countries and people.
Two of the most recent major terrorist attacks (the bombings at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan, in September and in Mumbai, India, in November) targeted "moderate Muslims."
Al-Qaida and the other terrorist organizations believe moderate Muslims are as much their enemy as the counties and represent freedom.
Another false belief is that if we capture or kill Bin Laden, there will be a substantial decrease in terrorist events worldwide. This belief is false.
There have been many reports in the past of Bin Laden's death or serious illness; however, none of these reports have caused the end of terrorist acts.
If nothing else, they motivate al-Qaida members to prove the opposite with video and other ways of communicating their threats.
There is another arm to the terrorist organizations - homegrown terrorists. These individuals are born and raised in the U.S. or have become U.S. citizens.
For various reasons, they have become disgruntled with the U.S. government and the American way of life and perform acts of terrorism in the United States.
Many of the "Fort Dix Six" and other individuals who have joined al-Qaida fit into this category.
Terrorism is real and we have enemies that want to destroy our way of life. We can either ignore them as meaningless threats and propaganda or take them seriously.
We must continue our intelligence-sharing procedures and antiterrorism measures to suppress and defeat act of terrorism. Prior to Sept. 11, 2001, al-Qaida gave numerous warnings that a terrorist attack was coming.
They are giving many of those same warnings today. The state of the U.S. and world economy are taking up most of the news headlines; however, the terrorist threats are there and need be taken seriously.
Antiterrorism Awareness Month has been a reminder for everyone to take antiterrorism seriously and know what actions to take to keep yourself and the garrison safe.
(Editor's note: This story is the last of a four-part series of articles published in conjunction with Antiterrorism Awareness Month.)