Address to the Rotary
H. Thomas Hayden, USMC, Ret.
Congressmen ... ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you for inviting me here today to talk to you about what I think to be one of the most misunderstood subjects in the USA - "terrorism."
First, a little more on my background. Why should you want to listen to another so-called "expert" on terrorism?
I was first trained, educated and fought in all parts of this subject when I served in Vietnam from Apr 1967 to Jun 1969. My training and education continued through Lebanon, Central America, the First Gulf War, Somalia and Columbia.
Suicide bombers, car bombs, spectacular attacks on economic infrastructure, enemy combatants and yes, even "terrorist," were and still are the main focus of attention in my kind of work, study and teaching.
However, I have one advantage over my compatriots who work in this field, I served on both sides of the coin. I have trained and led counter-insurgent forces and insurgent forces.
When Ollie North was reassigned from the White House, I got his job. I was initially assigned to the Department of State, Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs as a military advisor on the Contra. This led to activities with the National Security Council and the CIA in all parts of Central America.
My background is COIN [DNI editor's note: counter-insurgency] and insurgency.
So, if you want to start a revolution or put one down - I'm your man!
With that as my background, let me share my thoughts on the main subject for today.
No one definition of "terrorism" has gained universal acceptance. Title 22 USC, Sect 2656f(d): "The term 'terrorism' means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience."
I have no idea what that means, particularly with what we have going on in the world today.
JCS Pub 1-02: "The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence against individuals or property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies, often to achieve political, religious or ideological objectives.
Again, I'm not sure that applies to our situation today.
Then we have domestic terrorism, international terrorism, state sponsored terrorism, etc.
What are we talking about?
Terrorism is a tactic - it is not an end in itself.
Terrorism is usually a subset of an "insurgency."
Insurgency is an organized movement aimed at the overthrow or destabilization of a constituted government through subversion, terrorism and armed conflict.
Here is the crux of the many dilemmas facing our leadership in Washington, DC - particularly the new Department of Homeland Security.
Many just do NOT get it. They do not understand what they are trying to fight or defend against - mainly Al Qaeda.
Al Qaeda, or "The Base," is the name originally given to Osama bin Laden's [OBL's] organization. However, it is not a monolithic movement. Al Qaeda is an international collection of like-minded radical Islamic groups who would go to OBL for financial and organizational help. Now with OBL in hiding or maybe dead, many of his followers have set out to continue the fight.
BTW, Al Qaeda has now changed their name to Fath-e-Islam - "Victory of Islam."
Who is OBL?
He is a multimillionaire in his own right and the son of one of the riches families in the world. And, do not think for one moment that we have cut his supply of funds. That is another story.
OBL started his movement sometime in 1991, to drive the US out of Saudi Arabia following the First Gulf War. The royal Saudi rulers had committed a sacrilege by letting the "infidels" on the sacred soil of Saudi Arabia.
OBL started in Saudi, speaking out against the royal family and the USA, but was expelled and stripped of his citizenship. He moved to various countries like Yemen, Sudan and finally set up his main training camps in Afghanistan.
He is more than a rich man with a vengeance … he is using his riches to start WW IV.
Explain - WW I, WW II, WW III (Cold War) and now WW IV...
Let's look at the attack on the USA on 9/11/2001.
OBL has publicly stated that the main purpose of the 9/11 attack of the WTC was to damage the economic infrastructure of the United States and foster an uprising of radical Islamic forces around the world.
OBL is conducting an insurgency against the USA, the "Coalition partners" and all Muslim countries that do not have Islamic cleric leadership.
He wants Islamic states, like Iran, in a crescent that spreads from Morocco to the Philippines with a renewed "caliphate" - the title given to those who succeeded the prophet Mohammed as ruler of the Muslim world. The most famous historical figure was Saladin. If you do not know your history of the Islamic conquests you need to go back to around 1193 AD. Actually, Saladin did not start the attempted world conquest for conversion to Islam but he is the most revered figure in Islamic history.
All the practitioners of Islam are not followers of OBL nor do most support OBL and his fellow travelers.
Soon after we had the first attack on the WTC in 1993, the embassy bombings in Africa and the Far East, and other headline terrorist acts, we saw a great expansion of Al Qaeda and the OBL insurgent terrorist movement in many parts of the world. There followed the attacks on the USS Cole, the Bali bombings, attacks on the American compounds in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the bombings in Morocco, etc.
BTW, I lived in one of the compounds that was recently hit in Riyadh. On 9/11, I was in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I have met Al Qaeda supporters and I have met and talked with many-wounded Al Qaeda "fighters" returning from Afghanistan.
After the Bill Clinton half-hearted attempts to "frighten" OBL, by sending cruise missiles against dubious targets in Afghanistan, OBL's goal in life became to cripple or destroy the USA.
He has succeeded in his originally stated goals beyond his imagination.
The World Trade Center in NYC was destroyed, we have had a major dislocation of our economy, the USA is now pulling out of Saudi Arabia and we may be in a quagmire in Iraq.
What we have done in Afghanistan and Iraq has not destroyed Al Qaeda. A safe bet would be that there are now more Al Qaeda members today than before 9/11.
We have many of OBL's leaders in custody, but there will be more energetic and resourceful insurgent terrorist to take their place.
We now even have a homegrown terrorist group who may have connections to Al Qaeda, called Jamat-al-Fuqura, or "Society of the Oppressed." This group was born in our prison system and now has organizations from the East to the West Coast.
The threat is real, it has not gone away and the cities of the USA are still major targets.
Are we prepared for what is to come?
There are to many topics that I could cover today:
I have advised members of Congress that they need to make sure that the resources are there to meet the threat. Not only the DHS, but also local law enforcement, emergency response agencies and DoD support to regional and local agencies.
The President George Bush administration has made great leaps forward. There are many success stories but let me talk about what remains to be done.
First, we need better intelligence collection inside the USA. Here is our major weakness. There is an inherent systemic problem in handicapping DoD agencies and the military agencies from training local law enforcement.
Second, we need to look at more DoD and military training at regional training centers.
Third, we need a better organizational effort at the DHS.
Fourth, we need new standards for national and local agencies that start with the threat, build indications and warning paradigms and then look at emergency response and recovery. Setting standards is the one real step to help Congress focus on where to invest the taxpayer's dollars.
Fifth, the cities of the USA are now the "rear areas" of the global fight against terrorism and we need to fund, organize, train and exercise to combat the threat.
You may ask what is the biggest threat. Or what is the most serious?
OBL has said his revenge for Afghanistan will be worse that the WTC.
That can only mean an atomic bomb or major chemical/biological dispensing device.
It has been reported that up to 40-50 nuclear bombs are missing from the old Soviet Union. They are what are called "suit case bombs" or Atomic Demolition Munitions - ADMs.
What could be the possible targets - Washington DC, New York City or a target in Texas? My guess would be Houston for economic impact or Dallas for psychological impact. I say Texas because it is the home state of our President.
In closing I would like to touch on what you can do to be prepared for natural or man-made emergencies.
First and foremost, HAVE A PLAN. Plan for your family, pets and important personal property. Talk about the plan. For example, what would you do if one family member is not home and may not get home when disaster strikes?
Plan to have a point of contact in another state for all to call. A friend or relative who can be the one for all to call to pass or receive information on all family members. Plan where to meet if you have to evacuate your home and cannot get home. And, of course have emergency supplies to live two weeks without going out of your home.
Second, be prepared for worse case scenarios - detonation of a nuclear device such as a "dirty bomb" or a military bomb. Radiological materials are everywhere - hospitals (x-ray machines), some research labs, some food processing plants, nuclear power plants (spent fuel rods), etc.
Know the prevailing wind in your area. If you are down wind (wind blowing in your direction) and your are near an explosion, you need to move fast. If close by, move at right angles to the wind. If you are up wind (wind blowing away from you) you may not have to move until directed buy emergency response authorities. Follow the directions of the emergency broadcast on the radio or TV.
Third, chemical or biological weapons are not very effective unless they have a sophisticated dispensing device, e. g. a crop duster aircraft. Chemical weapons can be dissipated in hot weather and are not very effective in cold weather. This does not include dangerous infectious diseases like small pox or the plaque. If notified of a serious infectious disease in your area, take all precautions and/or action as notified by the proper authorities.
ONE LAST COMMENT: I would like to say that what we face today is not science fiction or scare tactics to sell newspapers. The threat and the dangers to our society are real and we need to better prepared.
H. Thomas Hayden was formerly the President and CEO of First Communications Company (FCC), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, a joint venture between Raytheon and a Saudi Company involved in Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I) Systems for the Ministry of Defense and Aviation, Saudi Arabian National Guard and Ministry of Interior.
Before retiring from the US Marine Corps, assignments included Commanding Officer (CO), Headquarters and Service Bn, 1st Force Service Support Group, which deployed to the Gulf War, CO Brigade Service Support Group – 9, which deployed to Somalia and CO MAU Service Support Group – 33, which deployed to The Philippines and Korea. He was Branch Head, Headquarters Marine Corps, Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict (SO/LIC), and Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for SO/LIC with assignments to Central America. He has participated in combat operations or contingency operations in the Republic of Vietnam, Central America, Gulf War I, Somalia, and Columbia.
Tom has an MBA, an MA in International Relations, and is a PhD candidate in Business Management. He is the author of two books, SHADOW WAR: Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict and WARFIGHTING: Maneuver Warfare in the US Marine Corps, and is currently writing a third. He has published over 40 articles and has been awarded the Navy League’s Alfred Thayer Mahan award for literary achievement. He has earned 17 personal decorations including nine for combat.