Asymmetric Warfare – Fear Over the City

One of the biggest challenges America faces in the 21st century is the threat posed to the nation’s security and economic interests by people waging asymmetric warfare against it.

Asymmetric warfare imposes an unbearably high cost on the nation following the terror strikes of a few individual actors or small groups.

The actions of the Islamic terrorists inside the homeland started in 1993 with the first attack on the World Trade Center and culminated in a massive second attack on the WTC on 9/11/2001.

Subsequent plots by Islamic terrorists in the U.S. were fortuitously thwarted (in New York City’s Times Square, in the air and presumably there are a few undisclosed incidents).

The cost to the U.S. of these asymmetric attacks inside the U.S. has run into the hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives.

Despite the high economic costs borne by the nation, the 12-year lull in successful domestic terrorist incidents was a welcome respite after the calamity of the 9/11.

But the two Boston terrorists (of Chechen origin) Tamerlan and his younger brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev broke the spell with their bomb attacks on the Boston Marathon.

The two young terrorists successfully unleashed asymmetric warfare once again, right inside a large American metropolis and triggered a massive manhunt for five long days.

The Boston attacks are a costly, ominous sign for America.

Little Expense – High Damage

So how does a nation respond when two violent Islamic terrorists spend about $100 on two pressure cookers, some ball bearings and a box of nails and use them to inflict three deaths, 183 injuries, 13 amputations and sow widespread chaos and fear across the nation.

Besides the loss of life and limbs of innocents, the Boston terrorists likely caused over $10 million in economic damages by paralyzing life in one of America’s largest cities.

The killing of a MIT police officer on Thursday took the death count to four. Another police officer is in critical  condition.

Instead of waiting for yet another terror strike inside the U.S., shouldn’t the U.S. act preemptively to prevent such asymmetric acts of terror, where lone-rangers or small groups can unleash enormous, costly mayhem at little expense.

How Should U.S. Respond to Asymmetric Threats from Terrorists?

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