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May 7, 2014

Readers’ Forum: May 8, 2014

As threats grow, so will intrusions

Bette Davis is famous, among other things, for a line in “All About Eve” as follows: “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”

And so it will be for Americans if jihadis’ dreams come true.

Recently in New York City the son-in-law of Osama bin Laden was convicted of supporting terrorism and conspiring to kill Americans. Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, 48, a cleric born in Kuwait, is the most senior member of al-Qaida to be convicted since 9/11 and faces life in prison. He testified that bin Laden met with him in an Afghan cave after the 9/11 attacks, claimed credit for them and asked Abu Ghaith to “deliver a message to the world.”

Abu Ghaith then made videos exhorting Muslims to kill Americans. In one, shortly after the attacks, he said, “The storm of airplanes will not abate,” and that there were thousands of Muslim jihadis who longed for death “just as Americans yearn to live.”

New generations schooled from childhood to be martyrs are not a happy prospect for Americans as well as others targeted around the world. Training for martyrdom could reach an army of tens of thousands.

Many of them are teenagers, or even pre-teens, before they’ve had a chance to reach adult intelligence or judgement.

If only a fraction of the schemes of jihadis comes true, the result, in an age of “dirty” bombs and other means of mass killing, could dwarf the devastation of 9/11 to only a prelude to the main event.

Measures to prevent terrorism will inexorably result in intrusions upon our privacy so great that constitutionalists may become an endangered species.

It will not be a pleasant experience for America to suffer our precious freedoms to fall victim to surveillance and control of our citizens by our government far more draconian than we have already seen.

I fear, however, that is precisely what our future portends in the face of growing threats to our security.

Freedoms once rescinded are not easily reclaimed. We could one day find ourselves on a slippery slope closer to those tyrannies of the left and right that have prevailed in both this and the last century.

— Saul Rosenthal

Terre Haute

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    March 12, 2010

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