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Wednesday, April 24, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

The Domestic Blend of Terror

The mailmen didn't know the envelopes they were carrying contained white powder. After anthrax mailings infected dozens people and killed five, everyone got scared. Mailrooms were deserted, and when workers returned days later, they wore rubber gloves and facemasks. Every envelope became frightening and some people even took mail-opening precautions in their homes.

Terrorism is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "a policy intended to strike with terror those against whom it is adopted; the employment of methods of intimidation; the fact of terrorizing or condition of being terrorized."

A UB graduate-level philosophy class entitled "Religion, Revolution, Terrorism and War" defined terrorist Wednesday. While opinions differed, it was generally accepted that a terrorist is a person or organization that attempts to influence political policy by inciting public fear through violence or threat of violence.

The long list of terrorists include al Qaeda for obvious reasons, the Irish Republican Army for publicly detonating bombs to influence British policy, the Basque Separatists for injuring and killing Spanish civilians, the Mujahedin-e Khalq in Iraq, and many more.

Our nation has engaged in a campaign, or "War on Terrorism," to eliminate these organizations. Stamping out terrorism has perhaps become America's first priority. In October, the Christian Science Monitor printed that the Afghanistan campaign was costing the United States an estimated $1.2 billion each month.

Now, after thoroughly bombing every Taliban and al Qaeda training center, supply depot, weapon center, bunker, airport and just about any other military target, and some non-military, America is moving the campaign onto new targets.

Uncle Sam's eyes, and fists, have turned to "the axis of evil," North Korea, Iran and Iraq. Nations harboring terrorists deserve some old-fashion American manhandling, but America is overlooking its terrorist problems at home.

The land of the free is the home of many terrorist organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan and the Army of God, a white supremacist group.

The KKK is an organization with a long history of intentionally causing fear in the public through violence and threats. Their crimes include fire bombings, hangings, cross burnings, verbal and written threats, kidnappings, lynchings and shootings. They work to take rights away from minorities, and while the last time they detonated a bomb was in January 1966, the KKK is still actively threatening and committing acts of violence against innocent Americans. They have multiple Web sites through which they attempt to spread their ideas, membership and KKK memorabilia.

The Army of God is similarly guilty of terrorism. The network claims responsibility mailing for over 110 envelopes of white powder to women's health clinics from locations in five states, according to the Associated Press. They maintain Web sites listing hundreds of abortion doctors they deem should die, such as the Nuremberg Files.

Army of God member Clayton Lee Waagner stated that "he had been called on by God to attack abortion clinics," according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Hundreds of doctors have received anonymous threats in the name of these extremists and people such as Michael Bray have served time in prison for bombing abortion clinics.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation Web site hosts a list of most wanted terrorists that begins is Osama bin Laden, ends with Ibrahim Salih Mohammed Al-Yacoub and every name in between is Middle Eastern. Terrorists abroad must be combated, but America must realize it too is harboring terrorists. And something must be done.



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