When The Eagle Screams - America's Vulnerability to Terrorism.
Published concurrent with the first bombing of the World Trade Center, When The Eagle Screams was the first book by an American writer to warn of the coming Age of Terrorism.
What happens if sophisticated terrorism finally erupts in the United States to the point where the nation faces the kind of devastating and prolonged battle it has long known (and been warned) about but has steadfastly remained unprepared to handle? Since the United States no longer is invulnerable to terrorism (and in fact is sure to become its primary target), this question, like its future answer, takes on tremendous importance.
The American Experience in the twentieth century, tough though it has been, has left no comparison which allows us to imagine the consequences of terrorism run rampant on U.S. soil. For many Americans, World War Il and the cold war "conflicts" of Korea and Vietnam are but far-off memories, and for most they are mere footnotes to history romanticized in films and novels. But those who lived through the wars remember them as series of battles fought on distant shores, their grim details and effects reported primarily by radio, movie-theater newsreel films, and (at least after World War 11), TV-and their costs further made evident in such varied way and means as shortages, propaganda films, and the dread telegrams to service-personnel homes. Even the GI's who fought those wars recall the battle sites as places to which they went to fight so they could return to a nation that had traditionally (with but two or three brief exceptions, historians point out) been spared harmful invasion by a foreign power. The bombs, the crushed cities, the desecrated national shrines and demolished homes, the death camps, the millions of dead civilians and homeless orphans, the diseases and countless other hardships-all of those were the kind of horrible events that in the future could happen to only foreign people in foreign lands. Not to Americans in the good old U.S.A.-or anywhere else.
Count Alexandre de Marenches, the former head of French Intelligence, referred to the present and future battle against terrorism as "The Fourth World War" in his 1992 book of the same name coauthored by David Andelman. In his epilogue he said of terrorism: "The threat is truly awesome in its reach and scope. It requires a whole new strategic system to address and cope with it.... All of our institutions must keep pace with those changes or we are lost."
Most Americans would say that Marenches is an alarmist, but then most Americans have little idea how vulnerable their country is to terrorist attack or how wrong their stereotype of a terrorist may be when compared to the trends. Before we can relate to their awesome potential for destruction in this country, as indeed in every other Western nation (as will be described in this book), we must understand the following trends:
1. Terrorism is becoming the war strategy of the future.
2. Terrorists will reach new heights of sophistication.
3. The motivations for terrorist attacks will have greater purpose. Targets of the future will be countries and economic systems, not buildings and airplanes.
4. Our military experts and strategists of World War II and the cold war are at a loss for a solution. They cling to methods that have no place in the future.
5. Our military weapons arsenal, along with the sophisticated weaponry on the drawing boards, combine to be obsolete for a war on terrorism.
6. The U.S. infrastructure has been built without regard to terrorist threats. Our entire system can be brought down with striking ease.
7. Terrorism is a greater threat to democracy than communism or socialism ever were.
8. The United States is the target of the future.