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J. David Galland's.. Targeting Cemeteries Shows Terror War Widening (english)
30 Oct 2002
Modified: 31 Oct 2002
J. David Galland exposes the latest terrorist focus, the targeting of American War Memorials and Overseas Cemeteries where America’s war dead lie.
Targeting Cemeteries Shows Terror Effort Widening

By J. David Galland

The unconscionable malice committed against humanity by the al Qaeda terrorists and their allies has risen to new levels of cruelty toward American society. Terrorists have now targeted the symbols and honored legacy of America's war dead.

State Department sources in Berlin have disclosed to DefenseWatch that American military cemeteries and war memorials have become a target of choice and opportunity for terrorists.

Having murdered thousands of American and foreign civilians on 9/11, it would seem difficult to envision a lower blow that the terrorists might throw. But today they regard the hallowed graves of Americans who gave the greatest sacrifice during time of war as high-payoff targets, my sources warn.

Unfortunately, there is a brutal logic at work here: It is extremely important for terrorist organizations and cells to choose their symbolic targets well. Their aim is to achieve the highest level of notoriety that is possible for the least amount of effort and assumable risk to them and their mission completion.

Even those terrorists like al Qaeda, whose actions lead most of us to dismiss them as "crazies" or "maniacal," do adhere to the cruel logic of terrorism: Their target must always be one that gains the most publicity by the global news media. What better a target, to emotionally enflame Americans, than to desecrate and otherwise attack the memory of our war dead? None!

Italian officials discovered the targeting of American war memorials in Europe after three men were arrested in Italy on Oct. 4, 2002. All three of the men were Egyptian, and possessed both explosives and a map of the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery. Nearly 7,800 American dead from World War II are buried in that cemetery, including some of my own father's buddies and comrades during the 5th Army's Italian campaign during World War II.

Even after the arrest of the three men, two of the entrances to the cemetery were found to have been visibly marked as likely reference points, according to the Associated Press. This development indicates that there are other terrorists associated with the arrested suspects who are still at large.

Unlike military bases, the scores of U.S. and allied war memorials and military cemeteries worldwide have scant physical security protections. In particular, cemeteries do not have gates, guards or secure exclusionary perimeters.

Our cemeteries were designed to serve as monuments and hallowed resting grounds of great honor. It was envisioned that such shrines would hopefully inspire us to reflect on the sacrifice that gave us our freedom at a ghastly cost measured by man's cruelty to his fellow man and further serve to remind us all that freedom is very perishable.

Alas, it is that symbolic value that the terrorists have now decided to attack.

Administered by the American Battle Monuments Commission, U.S. military burial grounds are located worldwide, but most of these places of honor are in Western Europe. They are located in France, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Italy. Tunisia is the location of one other U.S. military resting place, as are Mexico and Panama. There are two such cemeteries in the Philippines.

Officials say they have increased the level of awareness and security for military cemeteries throughout Europe, but acknowledge that guarding such sites calls for delicate finesse to avoid compromising the sanctity of the memorials.

Carlo Rossi, Chief of Logistics for the American Battle Monuments Commission office in Rome, admitted in a statement issued this week, "There's not much you can do, it's an open area and anything that has to do with the U.S.A. is a potential target." Noting that these are parks and not garrisons, with no high security fences or enclosures, Rossi went on to explain that cemeteries have fixed hours when they are open for visitors, and at closing time, the staffs can only close a simple gate.

In Paris, a senior American Battle Memorial Commission official told reporters that his office always keeps well informed and updated on alert levels in countries where cemeteries are located. "We are members of the embassy emergency action committee and go to their meetings whenever they're called," said Walter Frankland, chief of staff for the Paris office. "We take them very seriously."

At the U.S. military cemetery at Normandy, where over 9,000 American soldiers rest in their long rows of graves on the bluffs above the costly beaches of D-Day, superintendent Gene Dellinger admitted that all he and his can do is be alert and be vigilant.

This latest threat warning provides a stern confirmation of the hard reality of the ongoing terrorist threat and our war against it: No entity or person associated with the United States or Americans themselves is not a viable target. Sadly enough, this now includes our war memorials and military cemeteries.

I would disagree with those who argue that al Qaeda and its allies have shifted focus to our cemeteries because their capabilities have been degraded and weakened. This is a logical deduction that does not pay heed to the terrorist mentality.

Make no mistake: The new threat to our war memorials signifies a broadening of the terrorists' target list. They want to attack these symbols precisely because their destruction would drive an emotional stake through the hearts of all freedom-loving Americans.

J. David Galland is Deputy Editor of DefenseWatch. He can be reached at defensewatch02 (at)
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huh what?! (english)
31 Oct 2002
please find some right wing site to post your stupid patriotic drivel on