Berger’s Burg: The terrorists’ evil, sadly, was nothing new

By Alex Berger

From Germany to Canada, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Florida and other locales, a band of international outlaws methodically carried out a devilish plan to hijack four American commercial planes. They rammed two of them into The World Trade Center, and one into the Pentagon. The fourth plane crashed before its unknown destination could be reached.

The first two planes brought down the majestic World Trade Center, killing most of its civilian occupants. The third plane succeeded in severely damaging the Pentagon. The death toll from the WTC attack alone (officially 6,333) surpasses both the number killed at Pearl Harbor (2,403), and the Civil War total at Antietam, where about 6,000 soldiers from both sides fell in battle.

The total of the Sept. 11 attacks is the worst ever suffered on American soil. As Adolph Eichman, the Nazi butcher of Germany, once boasted, “Millions (of deaths) are statistics, only 5 or 10 or hundreds are human.”

Many readers of this newspaper, as well as others in this country and around the world, have either lost, or knew someone who lost, relatives and friends in this attack The 1-year old son of my good friends, Dick and Roz Lynch of Douglaston (the same Dick Lynch who broadcasts the Giants football games on the radio) is missing.

The terrorists’ ruthless act, perpetrated upon innocent civilians, is beyond comprehension of most of the peoples of the civilized world. Yet, they planned it, and carried it out to perfection.

The concept of the suicide bomber however, is not new. In fact, it dates back to the 11th century, when acts of terror were first adopted as a strategy to spread Islam throughout Northern Persia. It rose its ugly head again, among Muslims from India to the Philippines in the 1700s as a terror tactic.

In World War II, Japanese fighter pilots (known as the kamikaze) were recruited for suicide missions to turn their planes into missiles and crash them into American naval ships (although, to their dubious credit, they only attacked military, and not civilian targets).

In September 1972, during the Olympic Games in Germany, a small band of Palestine terrorists invaded the apartments of the Olympic team from Israel. They murdered two Israelis and took nine others hostage. A few hours later, while the Games merrily continued, the terrorists brutally shot the hostages. The mass killers, and one German policeman, were also eventually killed in a police shootout.

Today, suicide bombings have become a prime tool of terrorism. Curiously, Islamic law strictly prohibits suicide — except during a “holy war.”

But why would anyone follow the deadly direction a doe-eyed, black-bearded rich man from Saudi Arabia who hides in the isolated mountains of Afghanistan?

An atypical profile of terrorists has now emerged. It does not fit our standard perception of a terrorist as a hopeless, young misfit with nothing to live for and eager to leave this world in a blaze of “glory.”

Firstly, most are young and single (although one of them was 48 years old, married with four children). The terrorist now is well-educated, painstakingly patient, willing to devote lots of time to training and study, academically capable of learning the fundamental rules of complex tasks, meticulously adept at precise planning and timing, and unlike the singular hijacker, he prefers to work in groups.

And, he is quite comfortable fitting into American everyday life. He shopped at Wal-Mart, ate pizza and hot dogs, and some were seen participating in such Islamic no-no’s as frequenting go-go bars, drinking alcohol, going to X-rated movies, and playing video games.

But his foremost characteristic, I suppose, is to be an unthinking callous, fanatic. The rewards for completing the evil deeds is a promise of financial security for his parents; the attainment of instant martyrdom; and in particular, a secure dwelling place in Paradise.

America took a devastating blow from the terrorists, but it will prove to be a Pyrrhic victory for them. This attack has set off a spontaneous homeland display of support and patriotism which has galvanized Americans of all ages, races, and classes.

So, Osama, fold up your tent and get out of town.

We are coming.

God Bless America!

Reach Alex Berger by e-mail at timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 139.

More from Around New York