Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Lets Pay Attention, Folks

The blog Officers' Club begins its 2006 predictions with the following chilling, but probably prescient prediction:

–I think that there will be a half-cocked attempt at a domestic terror attack… It will happen in the south, near a major artery of transportation (with operational support from personnel illegally entered into the US via the Mexican border)

Read the whole thing here. I completely agree with Officers' Club, with the proviso that we cannot count on an attempt being "half-cocked." Further, I will go the O-Club folks one better and tell my Houston friends that we really need to be on the qui vive, because in my humble opinion, our dear city is Number 1 in the terrorist bulls-eye, for a variety of reasons:

Proximity to the Mexican Border. Good for smuggling weapons and personnel in, and moving people out later.

Population. Our diverse, large and cosmopolitan population, and the traditional welcoming attitude of Houstonians towards newcomers and outsiders is made to order for concealing impending operations by a terrorist cell. Strangers with malign intent can move among us, reconnoiter their targets and plan attacks without attracting much suspicion.

Ties with the Arab World. Houston is nothing if not an oil town, and as such modern Houston has always had strong ties with the oil states of the Middle East, including, most pertinently, Saudi Arabia. Remember, 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers were Saudis. Lots of Saudis, and others from the Muslim world, have lived and studied in Houston, and have contacts here. The recruitment pool of persons with basic familiarity with the target is larger than for other US cities, and this is a boon for terrorist planners tasked with getting their operatives in position to hurt us.

The Bushes. Houston is associated internationally with both the current President Bush and his father. From a propagandist’s point of view, Houston is an almost irresistible target for this reason alone.

Target-Rich Environment. Houston is a a Port of Entry to the United States by both air and sea; the Port of Houston is the second-largest US port in terms of tonnage handled. Oil, natural gas and the chemical industry virtually define our city’s economy. This part of Texas boasts the largest concentration of US refining capacity. 25 percent of US gasoline is refined in the Houston area. Recall that US refining capacity is strained right now because of damage to the Louisiana refineries caused by Hurricane Katrina. Finally, the Houston freeways, particularly the interchanges, are a vital node in our interstate transporation system -- much of our economy depends on the movement of cargo by truck.

Houston is in general a well-run city. Here’s hoping our Police, Fire and emergency services personnel are on the case, and that Mayor White and Judge Eckels are getting enough help and support in terms of intelligence and security liaison, support, assistance and advice from the Federal Government. As we can see from the liberals, and their recent vaporings over our, unfortunately, rudimentary counterintelligence efforts: there is a great temptation, four years on, to return to a “September 10” mentality. Unfortunately, there are people out there who want to drink our blood. Shame on us if we make it easy.


The Kitchen said...

Very interesting predictions, El Jeffe. I also worry about an attack based on your reasons. I was pleased to read in Officer's Club that he believes the Patriot Act should continue. What good are civil rights if you are dead??

Eagle1 said...

One problem for terrorists in attacking Houston is how spread out everything is. It's tough to make something affect lots of people. And terrorism is generally about people, not things.

Or so I tell myself.