War on Terror

Citizen Soldiers On The Front Lines

Battle captain w-hdstStarting with the militias of the Revolutionary War, when farmers would drop their plows, pick up their muskets, and run toward the sound of the battle, ordinary citizens have been protecting our freedoms. Never more so than in this age of terrorism, fighting an unconventional enemy thousands of miles from home.

The strain on the country’s military has spilled over to the “citizen soldiers” of the National Guard, many of whom have been deployed multiple times, resulting in distraught families and disrupted lives. Among the states whose US National Guard units have paid the heaviest price for the “War on Terror” is Pennsylvania, whose Guard is one of the largest, best equipped, and most deployed Guards in the country. The price for that honor has been high: Pennsylvania has lost more National Guard soldiers than any other state; 48 of our family, friends, and neighbors have been lost.

Beginning in early 2012, the 55th BCT will once again head for foreign shores when they deploy to Kuwait for one year mission. More about the training, preparation, and ramp-up to that deployment in today’s column in The Morning Call

My God protect them and may they all return safely to their families. 

You Couldn’t Make This Up: Jihad Jane…in Pennsburg

All writers have vivid imaginations, even us non-fiction types have the ability to spin a pretty good yarn, it’s part of the job. But the most intricate Tom Clancy or Stephen King plot might sound implausible if it revolved around a middle-aged American woman in a small, rural Pennsylvania town, who turned into an international jihadist, stealing passports and planning to do murder in Sweden. 

No one gets a book advance for this story…you can read it for free at mcall.com and in The Morning Call. At almost every paragraph I found myself saying, “You’ve got to be kidding me” or “This can’t be true”. According to the story, Colleen LaRose, “used e-mail, YouTube videos, phony travel documents and a burning desire to kill ”or die trying, to help recruit a network for suicide attacks and other terrorist strikes in Europe and Asia, based on a federal grand jury indictment filed Tuesday.”

Whether this woman was acting out some desperate need for attention, suffering from mental illness, or just devoid of any sense of self-worth not to mention patriotism, we should all be grateful to her for the service she has rendered. If you thought the enemy lived thousands of miles away and would be easy to profile, think again. It is only a matter of time until someone, who we would never suspect, blows themselves up on an American bus or train, or in a shopping mall.

The threat of terrorism is real, it is among us, and we must never let down our guard.

Oh, I almost forgot: I want to wish Colleen LaRose, Happy Women’s History Month. The theme for 2010 is “Writing Women Back in to History”…Ms. LaRose, if you are guilty of these charges, you certainly will have found your place in history…as a traitor.  

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