Terrorism and the Human Element subject logo: MILGAM
2009-01-30
Posted by: badanov

Visiting a friend of mine the other day, over beers and whiskey he described to me via a scenario he described, how easy a bombing attack would be made in the USA, how lax security is in some commerical settings and how a 50 state bombing attack could wreak havoc.

While the description of the bombing attack appeared to be simple, direct, and most of all, easy, my main counter was that such a massive attack would be detected long before the resources could be gathered to make such an attack a reality.

The 911 attackers on their own probably couldn't even organize a Jihadi bake sale, let alone a mass casualty suicide attack; they needed help,in the form of logistics, money, plans, practice, as well as discipline to carry out the attack that did succeed.

Such activity would surely be detected by the communications alone nowadays, but even assuming the main hostile is a US citizen with no foreign communications trail, you still have the human element. One beat-up girlfriend, one drunken brawl, one broken taillight, one active participant shooting his mouth off about it is all that could be required to stop a mass casualty attack in the USA.

And as I have said elsewhere, the next best chance for a mass casualty attack in the USA would be a small arms attack similar to Mumbai. Given that those who are willing participants in such bloodletting are not the most stable individuals, you would need the assistance of a hostile foreign government to train, supply, and fund that attack; professional giving professional training and assistance.

The human element for that scenario is a few pliant and willing individuals willing to travel abroad to receive the training and instructions/orders for when show time arrives.

But even the presence of professional training does not invalidate my contention that the human element in the USA is a great vulnerability to such an operation.

As a coda, the friend was convinced an attack of some kind would happen in the next four years in the USA regardless of precautions now in place.

It is hard to argue against that, but in the end I cling to my conviction that such plans would evaporate over time because of the human element alone.

If you have something to add, Fire Away!

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