2004-08-08

US-Heimatschutz: Sechs, setzen.

--- Die Washington Post berichtet über die (Miß-)Erfolge der Heimatschützer: Law enforcement officers have left thousands of calling cards across the country -- from a farmer's co-op store in McPherson, Kan., to a chemical company in West Haven, Conn. -- asking sales managers to report unusual interest in fertilizer or other components of homemade bombs. The United States has spent more than $1 billion on these and other efforts to stop a single threat: the explosion of a car or truck bomb at a government installation or other structure. But 11 years after Muslim extremists used an explosives-laden van to attack the World Trade Center and nearly three years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, even senior federal agents acknowledge that the country has virtually no defense against a terrorist barreling down the street with a truck bomb. ... The frustrating struggle to thwart terrorists' low-tech, low-cost weapon of choice provides a case study of America's challenge in waging the fight in the post 9/11 world -- a fight in which the enemy is hiding and the traditional role of soldiers and weapons takes a back seat to intelligence and prevention. It is a war in which the United States, with all its technological and economic advantages, has been unable to develop protection against a self-taught bomber assembling large amounts of explosives in secret, acquiring a vehicle and fading into the landscape before detonating a payload. ... "The challenge is to provide a level of security that does not impede normal life and commerce, which would achieve the terrorists' aims without even launching an attack," said Bruce Hoffman, author of "Inside Terrorism" and head of the Washington office of the Rand Corp., a nonprofit think tank.