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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

The Many Difficulties of Securing the Homeland

August 10, 2004

Re "If Terror Comes, You're on Your Own," Commentary, Aug. 6: I agree with Douglas MacKinnon on most points; however I must point out that our "authorities" are not "doing everything in their power" to prevent another terrorist attack. For example, had I been president on 9/11, I would have immediately revoked all visas of citizens of states known to support terror. This is a lawful, prudent and necessary step to begin to seriously protect the nation from terrorism.

My estimate is that there are probably still many active terror cells in the U.S., and one of these days a "9/11 squared" is going to happen -- because we allowed political correctness and fuzzy thinking to cloud our vision. There are numerous other steps that could be taken rapidly ... but which our "leaders" are afraid to implement.

James F. Glass

Chatsworth

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Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge is in an impossible situation. If he receives hints of a possible attack, no matter how vague, he must ring the alarm bell. If he does not and an actual attack occurs, he will be pilloried, as was the CIA for failure to warn of 9/11. As false warnings accumulate, he loses credibility. The system gives our enemies, gratis, a new multi-pronged weapon. They know the chaos and the huge expenditures that a mere threat can produce. They observe that repeated false alarms cast doubt on government pronouncements, angering Americans.

A puzzling question remains: In the years since 9/11, why have our terrorist enemies been content with only the one attack on American soil? Perhaps, in view of events since, the one attack was all that was needed to achieve their objectives. Threats, real or perceived, yield a bonus.

David Dart

Los Angeles

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The Bush administration is now paying the inevitable price for repeatedly lying to the American people. The cynical public reaction to the recent proclamation of an imminent terrorist threat demonstrates that the Bush administration's history of deceit now provokes doubt and outright disbelief at every government statement. This widespread skepticism could lead to terrible, tragic consequences in the event of a genuine national emergency.

Marvin A. Gluck

Topanga

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