Clear and Present Danger
I’m currently reading Tom Clancy’s Executive Orders.
Jack Ryan has risen through the ranks to become President of the US. Of course he survived the plane crashing into the Congress Building and killing most of Congress, the President, and a good portion of his senior Cabinent members at Jack’s inauguration as Vice President.
I’ve read reports saying that Al Qaeda had been planning the destruction of the World Trade Center, and the Pentagon for quite some time, 5 years. Reading the front – this one was published in 1996. I know others have probally remarked upon this, but did they get the idea from Tom Clancy? Maybe, maybe not. Who knows.
Tom Clancy use to be a pretty imaginative writer. I use to enjoy his books. I don’t remember which one was the last one I read, but I loved Red Storm Rising and Hunt for Red October. Patriot Games wasn’t bad, but was a better movie. But after that his writing just went downhill I feel.
Oh – Red Storm Rising was a cool Submarine Combat game I played on my Commodore 64. Lots of hours spent playing that. Interesting enough, there is little Submarine Combat in the novel, but they couldn’t really base a game off of Red October very well. I got pretty good at the game, to the point that I could take the worst American Submarine (I don’t remember the class – other then it wasn’t nuclear powered, I was to say Seawolf, but I think that was the best,) and could get about 50/50 kills on Russian Alfas.
I loved getting in to the middle of a Russian Carrier group, launching all tubes at various targets then running full speed away from the convoy at they dodged torpedoes. I’d then circle back and do it again. Theoretically I shouldn’t have gotten as high as a kill ratio (30% or so) as I did with that paticular submarine. I then remember taking the best choice, and using the same tactics and getting something like 80% kill ratio on the carrier groups. The only escapes were ships that I got confusing sonar echoes off of because they were sitting side by side or were running silent/passive.
Anyways – reading Executive Orders, it amazes me that terrorists haven’t hit the US again already. There is no way the Al Qaeda used up all it’s man power on September 11th. Heck, what about the hundreds of so called “Baby Al Qaeda” groups the US now knows about? Including the new one’s NPR claims are springing up daily. For a group that supposedly has a budget and assets of a small country, they sure are quiet.
Ebola virus in subways? Mortar fired from the back of a moving flat bed truck? These random small attacks would be more devastating to America in the long run then single large attacks. All 9/11 did was unite the country behind one goal. Granted that support has fallen off quite a bit since then, but it didn’t fracture our country like they thought it would. I’m personally sure that the 4th plane was probally headed for the White House or Congress, if it had hit one of those we might have had bigger problems.
But Tom Clancy’s idea of the mortars from the back of a flat bed truck? Talk about devastating! One man to drive the truck, one to load and fire the mortar, one to hand over ammo for it and two to fire Sub-machine or automatic weapons, perhaps hand grenades or Molotov Cocktails. Tie a low wall of sandbags backed by steel plating to block bullets and shrapnel. The psychological damage would be incalcuable. Run through a busy downtown buisness district, or perhaps an affluential suburb.
According to FAS Military Analysis Network,” there is no such thing as Napalm Mortar rounds, (I’m assuming they’re probally against the Geneva Convention or some such thing,) but running through a neighborhood randomly dropping one a napalm or High Explosive round every other block to start fires (which would probally spread to neighboring houses,) could easily burn down a neighborhood pretty quickly, failing that it would cause enough damage that the local fire department would be overwhelmed quickly.
I’ve seen locally, 4 fire houses empty of fire engines just to take care of one building, usually a warehouse or other large structure. Imagine having multiple 4 or 5 alarm fires in the same city.
In addition I’m sure that a small group of terrorists like this would bea able to do this long enough to do quite a bit of damage. The police wouldn’t be able to respond for a couple of minutes. The first to arrive would be single units, armed with shotguns and pistols. Maybe a M-16 or similiar weapon if they’re lucky. Against grenades or moltov cocktails, and automatic weapons – they’d be outclassed. Say 5 minutes for the SWAT team to be called in, they might be able to take them out – although I’d probally resort to using a sniper or two out of a helicopter to keep up with the truck. Then another ten to fifteen minutes for a real military response. Either way, a semi armoured truck, running full speed down a road, ramming cars out of the way, and firing a new shell every 30-45 seconds randomly… that would be scarey. Even if they found a stable posistion to concentrate on one big target such as a building, a bridge, or a rush hour freeway, they’d still be able to do pleanty of damage.
Automatic weapons are easy – there are pleanty of readily available weapons on the mass-market that can easily be converted to full automatic. Failing that, there are enough sub-machine gun knock offs just as easily available, although I’d personally stick with a modified gun for the extra penetration.
Now granted Motar’s are military grade hardware, but I hardly think they’d be hard to get a hold of and smuggle in to the US, or even buy locally here. Failing that – they’re simply compressed gas systems, something similiar could easily be rigged up. Perhaps a modified potato gun? Either way, the key isn’t physical damage, it’s the moral and psychological damage that would affect people the worse.
To me these kinds of attacks are scarier then putting Antrax or Ebola into the water supply, or airborne dispersment – those kinds of attacks can be contained, are unseen (except for the illness itself,) and ultimatly would be contained one way or another.
Link of Note: Deparment of Justice Web Site: Al Qaeda Training Manual Thanks DOJ for posting this! I wish it was more public, to paraphase Sun Tzu, Knowing the tactics of the Enemy makes one stronger.
What a world we live in eh?