Who receives the best terrorist training in the world? It's not al-Qaida operatives or anybody else associated with Middle East organizations that the U.S. is pleased to label "terrorist." No, the best terrorist training in the world is provided by the U.S. military.
Everything that is taught in some squalid terrorist camp and much more is taught right here in the USA. What do you think Special Forces, Delta Force, the Air Commandos, Marine Recon and the Navy Seals learn? They learn how to kill people and blow things up, how to practice escape and evasion, how to interrogate prisoners and to endure interrogation. Every skill a terrorist needs is thoroughly taught by our own military.
If you wish to know how to make improvised explosive devices, you don't need to visit Afghanistan. You can order official U.S. Army manuals, nearly all of which have been photocopied and offered for sale by mail or on the Internet. These have been available for decades. Even I could tell you how to kill a man and make it look like a heart attack, though I won't.
After these men receive their training and practice their skills in real wars, they eventually return to civilian life. But as civilians, they don't forget what they learned. Their lethal education stays with them for the rest of their lives. Timothy McVeigh, the young man who blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City, was Army-trained.
Year in, year out, the U.S. military turns out superbly trained men with all the skills and knowledge of a terrorist. They eventually return to the civilian pool. There must be thousands living amongst us right now.
Well, that being the case, it seems to me to behoove the U.S. government not to screw its veterans, to refrain from breaking promises and from providing them with shoddy or no treatment. It behooves the U.S. government to make sure those who have mental problems receive the help they need. Not every veteran who becomes embittered and goes off the deep end will have been a cook or a clerk.
I know of an amusing instance where a young construction worker made the mistake of pulling a knife on someone he assumed was a potbellied old man. True, the man was graying and potbellied, but he had spent seven tours in the jungles of Vietnam and Cambodia and was more than a match for the knife wielder. The young thug was lucky he ended up with only broken bones. My friend could have killed him as easily as stepping on a roach.
When men wear civilian clothes, you don't know who they are or what they have been. It pays to be civil and respectful. We the American people owe a lot to our military members. Not only have they fought our wars, but they have protected the Constitution. I've always said you will find more respect for the Constitution in the Pentagon than you will in the White House, the Supreme Court or Congress.
But there are other reasons to practice civility and respect, especially these days. There was a stockbroker in South Florida who lost all of his client's money with bad investments. Unfortunately, he learned his client was a hit man in the Witness Protection Program just before his client shot him to death at his desk.
Another friend of mine drove all the way across a large city just to punch out a telephone salesman who had hung up on him. My friend thought that was rude, and he was not one to tolerate rude behavior.
In the meantime, I wouldn't worry too much about some kid who tramps over to Pakistan for terrorist training. He could get much better and more thorough training by joining the U.S. Army.
September 12, 2007
Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years.
© 2007 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.