Alexander's Column

The Marines have landed

Mark Alexander · Nov. 30, 2001

“The Marines have landed, and we now own a piece of Afghanistan,” declared Brigadier General James Mattis, commander of the attack task force setting up a forward operating base in southern Afghanistan to further President George W. Bush’s war on terrorism. An expected 1,000 Marines from the base will be in hot pursuit of terrorist enemies – if necessary, right into the stinking rat holes where Osama bin Laden, his al Qaeda henchmen and Taliban hosts are hunkering and hiding!

New York’s 10th Mountain Division soldiers have also entered northern Afghanistan. Airstrikes continued pounding emerging targets – including sites suspected in research and production of weapons of mass destruction. More than 40 such laboratories and industrial facilities are being investigated as possibly involved in development of biological, chemical or nuclear weapons.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made clear that our forces will keep no real estate – and take no prisoners, saying, “The United States is not inclined to negotiate surrenders, nor are we in a position, with relatively small numbers of forces on the ground, to accept prisoners.” Indeed, al Qaeda mercenaries from the fallen Taliban city of Kunduz were transported to a fort, where they staged a bloody uprising that claimed the first overseas combat fatality for U.S. fighters. CIA operative Johnny “Mike” Spann, former USMC, was killed after attempting prisoner interrogations. Mr. Rumsfeld said, “Any idea that those people … who have been fighting so viciously … should end up in some sort of a negotiation which would allow them to leave the country and go off and destabilize other countries and engage in terrorist attacks on the United States is something that I would certainly do everything I could to prevent. They’re people who have done terrible things.”

U.S. forces hit another major terrorist leadership compound southeast of Kandahar. “It clearly was a leadership area,” Rumsfeld said, noting the likelihood of fatalities. “Whoever was there is going to wish they weren’t.”

Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, still on the run, released a statement of defiance Wednesday: “Stick to your positions and fight to the death. We are ready to face these Americans. We are happy that they have landed here and we will teach them a lesson.”

Where to, after Afghanistan? President Bush on Monday warned Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to allow UN weapons inspectors back into his country – or else … “he’ll find out” the consequences. Mr. Bush deflected questions about whether Iraq was next on the list of state targets in the U.S.-led war against terrorism: “First things first. We’re going to make sure that we accomplish each mission that we tackle.”

Former CIA Director James Woolsey added, “As far as 9-11 and the anthrax goes, I think there are three or four relevant points. There have been a lot of high-level contacts between al Qaeda and the Iraqi government, particularly Iraqi intelligence…. I think that Iraq is very much at the heart of the problems of the Mideast today, and Saddam Hussein’s regime, in my judgment, really needs to be put in the crosshairs.” Let us hope we get back to Iraq sooner rather than too late! (You may recall that forces deployed in Desert Storm predicted if Saddam were left in power we would have to return in 10 years. Time’s up!)

And Pakistani authorities have detained two retired nuclear scientists implicated in providing weapons expertise to al Qaeda. The scientists admit twice meeting with bin Laden, but deny helping him make chemical weapons with anthrax, although uncovered evidence suggests they did just that.

On the home front, Osama bin Laden declared in a recent videotape, “The battle has been moved inside America, and we shall continue until we win this battle, or die in the cause and meet our maker.”

Bin Laden is correct – his agents of terror are still lurking on U.S. soil, and he and his evil cadre will, eventually, “meet their maker.” While some suggest that the 9-11 assault was bin Laden’s best shot, we do not accept this dangerous thesis. We believe that agents of Jihadistan in the U.S. still have both the means and capability of launching one or more terrorist assaults that will have significant impact on U.S. continuity of government and commerce. According to well informed intelligence sources, the next high alert window for such an assault – 24 December through 4 January.

Anthrax claimed another victim under mysterious circumstances, with the death of 94-year-old Ottilie Lundgren in Connecticut, and impounded congressional mail contained an anthrax-laced letter to Vermont’s Sen. Pat Leahy. Stateside investigators have focused on a domestic culprit, the “Unaplaguer” as The Federalist dubbed him in October. At the same time, there is increasing evidence that international terrorists and terror-sponsoring states are active in “weaponized” anthrax development and may still be the source of the anthrax-by-mail.

Some media talkingheads have suggested that highly infectious anthrax can be “homemade,” but anthrax is not produced in 5 gallon buckets in suburban backyards. An anthrax culture produced outside a specialized facility would be “self-solving” – as the producers would be at great risk of self-contamination. While anthrax production is dangerous for amateur anarchists, that is not to say it cannot be produced in a clandestine laboratory by a very bright anarchist with the right knowledge and equipment – one smart enough to direct his attacks against high profile Leftists to provide fodder for “right wing conspiracy” theorists. Coincidentally, the FBI is investigating the November 16th disappearance of Harvard biologist Don Wiley after a scientific gathering. His rental car, fuel tank full and key in the ignition, was abandoned in the middle of a bridge over the Mississippi River near Memphis, Tennessee. Wiley’s primary research specialty is in biological pathogens – the stuff of bio-warfare.

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