“Rockets Red Glare”

With over three million civilian Americans living within 60 miles of the border between San Diego, California and Tijuana, Mexico can anyone imagine the terror of those civilians if hundreds, thousands of rockets loaded with explosive warheads were fired at them randomly from the north facing hills of next door Tijuana?
Never mind that combined the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine bases and encampments in San Diego make up the largest “naval base” in the world, three million Americans would cringe at every rocket fired at them by terrorists from Tijuana. Sirens unused since the Cold War would shriek warnings at every rocket sighting and people would run, terrified, into shelters unused since World War II.
Among the terrified millions would be the one-third of the population that is Hispanic, related as they would be to Hispanic cousins firing rockets at them.
If Hispanic terrorists controlled the city of Tijuana and randomly fired thousands of rockets into immediately adjacent San Diego would Americans tolerate these attacks? Certainly not!
And we would expect free people everywhere to support us in returning fire on the terrorists and our thousands of boots on the ground searching for and attacking terrorist hiding places, rocket launchers and myriad tunnels under the border built by dope and people smugglers over the years to smuggle narcotics and people under American law enforcement.
Yes, we would expect free people everywhere to support our ferreting out terrorists even at the cost of some collateral damage. Collateral damage might occur when our missiles and helicopter gunships track down rocket launch sites and storage depots that the terrorists hide in schools and hospitals. Innocent people scrambling for safety or scrounging for food might be caught by bullets fired by our Marines in the door-to-door, building–to-building fight everywhere looking for rocket launch sites, terrorist command and control facilities cleverly hidden in schools, hospitals and churches.
The Marines would win the battle, of course, for they are the best fighting organization in the world. The terrorists would lose for asymmetrical war fighters are no match for organized military troops of the world’s most powerful country. However, worldwide sympathizers of the terrorists would decry and bemoan the “slaughter” of a few innocent civilians and the sight of wailing women would permeate the entire broadcast world.
Yes, the Marines would win the battle on the ground and the rocket attacks would eventually die out for lack of resupply and rocketeers to fire them and a Marine or two might even be taken prisoner by the terrorists but on the other hand the Marines might lose the propaganda war; they would be called murderers on the Internet, on MSNBC news and on Al Jazeera television. Millions of Third World terrorists and their sympathizers would protest and burn American flags, they would even recruit more terrorists for future battles.
At the United Nations, various African dictatorships, Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, China and Russia will speechify hour after hour about the brutal American Marines (who have served and fought in China in 1900, Cuba in 1900 and Russia in 1919). They will talk about massacred Mexicans of all ages in the bloody conquest of Tijuana – all two or three hundred of them.
Nonetheless, Americans know that free people do not countenance terrorism no matter where it comes from especially when innocent civilians are bombed or rocketed in their homes, offices, schools or churches. Indiscriminate attempts to murder are designed to terrorize populations even as they usually don’t kill many people.
The fight against terrorism exists everywhere there are ignorant fanatical people who desire to squash freedom and free thinking people. Americans don’t pay much attention unless they are directly attacked as in 9/11 but did notice when trains were bombed in Madrid and London.
If only they would pay such attention to the fight in and around the Gaza strip (between Egypt and Israel) that embroils the area every minute of the day, today. Israeli helicopter gunships, missiles, drones, commandos, infantry and tanks are being used as well as its magnificent “Iron Dome” missile protection system that destroys over 90% of incoming rockets and missiles.
The potential destruction of a free country is at stake; proof of a free country self-defending is that the Israelis are dropping leaflets on areas they plan to attack; they even call people on cell phones to warn of coming bombs and missiles so they can seek safety. The warning system is a historical first.
The fight and struggle for liberty and freedom continues every day, today in Israel (and the Ukraine), tomorrow maybe in San Diego or South Texas.

Contreras formerly wrote for the New America News Service of the New York Times