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Ending terrorism begins here

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah -- Terrorism. Twenty years ago most of us associated this word with shadowy third-world countries and highly-publicized but very isolated incidents of aircraft hijacking. 

Today, the word has taken on a whole new meaning. In fact, terrorism has transformed almost every single facet of our lives as Americans. Military policy, public security, federal and state legislation and even public works planning have all been defined, shaped or affected by this nefarious enemy of freedom. Terrorism is the battle of our day, just as Nazism was during World War II and Communism was during the Cold War. 

We, the men and women of today's Air Force, are keenly aware of the impact terrorism has had on the world. We are boldly fighting against it in every way possible on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan. What many of us don't know or unfortunately forget is that it is just as imperative to fight against terrorism taking root here at home. 

Our enemy in this fight is elusive and depends on our inability or unwillingness to accept and understand the type or war being fought. This is not a traditional force on force scenario where we will only face our adversary on the battlefield. We cannot simply focus on the power aspects of this war. Terrorism is a guerilla action; one which Abu-Hajer Abd al-Muqrin in the "Second Axis of Jihad" explained was a "long war of attrition...to follow the 1,000 wound policy of guerilla war with the goal of prolonging the war to exhaust theenemy's patience and resources". 

Al-Qaeda, as a leading proponent of terrorism, recognizes and embraces this 1,000 wound policy. They recognize that the way to cripple America is not simply to attack American soldiers, but to attack American citizens. Essentially, Al-Qaeda wants to bring the fight to the American people, here on American soil. Thus, the War on Terror is a war the will be fought and won here, on our precious soil, at home and in our daily lives. 

As the Installation Antiterrorism Officer here at the wing, I would like to encourage all of you to remember that although we may not be deployed on the front lines, we are soldiers on the front line in the War on Terror. Each of us should be on guard, be keenly aware of our surroundings and attentive to the people around us. Terrorists rely on our ambivalence and casual inattentiveness. 

Our antiterrorism plan here on base simply cannot succeed without each and every one of you. The only way our antiterrorism plan will work, is if our base and our personnel appear to be hardened targets. So I ask all of you to be key players in this War on Terror: report any suspicious activity or suspicious individuals here on base to the 151st Security Forces Squadron at extension 2411, take your antiterrorism training seriously, and be cautious about what you discuss with strangers or what others may overhear in a public setting. Adopting an attentive and focused attitude is the first step in winning this war against terriorism.