- I will be 45 later this year, and not
in my lifetime have I witnessed as many urban and rural military exercises
taking place within the borders of the United States as I have seen in
recent months. The National Guard, the Army, the Special Forces, even the
Navy are stepping up their off-base training practices.
- Many excuses are being issued from the
Pentagon and from the various military forces for these maneuvers. None
of them make sense. There's something about the context in which these
exercises are occurring that puts the lie to all the official statements.
- Take the Marine Corps' vaunted Urban
Warrior program, for instance. Officially, we are told that this program
is intended to develop technologies and strategies that allow the military
to win future foreign wars in urban settings while minimizing collateral
damage. The public relations people tell us that Marines must learn how
to fight in city streets surrounded by skyscrapers with impaired views
from surveillance satellites. They tell us the exercises will help establish
the U.S. military's credibility in situations requiring humanitarian relief.
And they say that we must prepare for subduing threats from domestic terrorists
armed with weapons of mass destruction.
- But all this doesn't add up. It doesn't
compute. It doesn't pass the smell test.
- Where exactly are these foreign target
cities crowded with skyscrapers? The situation sounds like few Third World
countries you might imagine U.S. forces being called to rescue. The imagery
doesn't remind one of Kosovo, the latest of President Clinton's battleground
adventures. Iraq, a country bombed by the U.S. military on nearly a daily
basis, is not known for its urban canyons.
- So which cities is the U.S. actually
studying for future assaults? According to the photographs in Urban Warrior's
strategic documents, the target cities look astonishingly familiar -- New
York, San Francisco, Seattle, Miami and San Diego.
- A study of those documents also reveals
that matters of humanitarian relief are actually best left to civilian
- And, as far as reducing collateral damage
goes, the Marines' own documents suggest the fighting in Third World urban
jungles is a highly risky proposition with little opportunity to contain
destruction: "The squalor and highly inflammable nature of building
materials within many non-Western urban areas -- coupled with the wide
use of propane or natural gas for heating and services -- creates a risk
of catastrophic fire."
- So, what's really up? Why are we seeing
these maneuvers spreading from Kingsville, Texas, to western Pennsylvania
to the San Francisco Bay Area?
- Perhaps a hint came in a Jan. 28 story
in The New York Times, in which President Clinton was reported to be considering
the appointment of a military leader for the continental United States
-- a domestic commander-in-chief -- to deal with the growing threat of
major terrorist strikes.
- Is there a terrorist threat? Yes, of
course. And it is only heightened by President Clinton's increasing adventurism
abroad in conflicts that often involve no significant U.S. interests, enflame
anti-American passions, and where victory remains an undefined objective.
- I submit to you that American freedom
is more gravely threatened by the acceptance of a growing military presence
in our streets than by foreign terrorists.
- But I suggest even the terrorism scenario
is a manufactured rationalization for these exercises. Perhaps the most
honest excuse was provided in the most recent Marine exercises near Washington,
- There, the Washington Post reported last
week, a contingent from Quantico practiced handling a riot by government
workers upset because Y2K computer problems prevented them from getting
- Could all these maneuvers actually have
more to do with the unknown dynamics of a Y2K crisis than a terrorist threat
to America's infrastructure? Many of the recent exercises, in cities and
small towns around the country, involve the element of social unrest, civil
strife, and population containment. In fact, read carefully the mission
statement of the Marine Corps' Urban Warrior program and you will see such
objectives clearly stated in the training goals.
- We're rapidly approaching the year zero,
and it's no secret that the government's computers are not ready, power
plants are not compliant, the banking system is a question mark and that
the real threat to America's infrastructure comes not from terrorists but
from the ticking clock.
- Isn't it time for a little honesty, a
little candor, a little warning from our government?
- A daily radio broadcast adaptation of
Joseph Farah's commentaries can be heard at http://www.ktkz.com/