By Major Van Harl, USAF Ret.

As the planes crashed into the Towers in New York, it was horrible to watch on TV. The entire nation was watching the disaster, but they were watching from afar. New Jersey residents could actually see the towers fall, but from the safety of their own neighborhoods.

All emergencies are local. There is no national fire, or police department standing by with thousands of trained emergency responders ready to move in. For that matter, there are no large state run fire departments waiting in the wings to move out smartly and provide timely response to small communities in any state.

Once you get outside of larger cities, your first line of emergency response is a handful of over worked local cops and citizen volunteer fire fighters. Do you know what your county or state emergency management organizations plan to do in time of extreme crisis?

The problem in the US, and for that matter in most first world countries, is that we live in a 911 society. We believe that in time of personal crisis we will be able to pick up the phone, dial 911 and all of our fire, police and medical needs will be met in a matter of minutes. Most rural counties have less than ten ambulances in the entire county and this does not mean they have trained EMT crews to man every unit.

I recently wrote an article entitled "American Hiroshima" and I have received many e-mails and personal contacts in reference to this subject. What I am being told is that nobody can destroy the US. Nobody has that much destructive capability, and I am being an alarmist.

With the exception of Russia, I believe there is no nation that has the military capability to physically decimate the US. But you have to remember that al-Qaida also knows this. Even if they possess one or more nuclear weapons and could detonate them on US soil, they are not going to physically destroy our country. They would create local mass destruction.

The reason that al-Qaida targeted the World Trade Towers in New York was because of the type of business that was conducted in those towers. The business of business was what al-Qaida wanted to impact. Disrupt the heart of American business and you stop the flow of money.

Thanks to total quality management we have become a just-in-time nation. Businesses do not want to maintain large inventories of stocks. They want what they need delivered first thing in the morning, as the business opens.

Sounds good for corporate bottom line, but how does that help in time of crisis? If the food stores only have the needed items to meet the consumers needs for a single day, what happens if there is a disruption of the just-in-time delivery system? If you could get in the back room of most food stores you would not find very many extra supplies sitting, waiting to be stocked on the shelves.

Al-Qaida's plan is to disrupt our business system, nationwide. Just stop the flow (i.e. food, water, power and money) and you can shut down any first world country. The US is a nation obsessed with insuring for potential personal disaster. We have car, health, life and business insurance.

The area we fail in is assurance, assuring our personal survival in time of disaster. We spend thousands of dollars every year on insurance, so there is money to pick up the pieces of a personal/family disaster. However, we spend next to nothing on assurance to obtain and maintain emergency supplies and equipment that would help assure our family's survival during a major crisis.

If two or three of our larger cities are hit with chemical, nuclear or biological devises the disruption of the flow of our US economic system would produce major nationwide negative impacts. Americans acting like third world refugees, aimlessly moving about on worldwide TV screens trying to find basic survival items such as food, water, and most importantly safety, is a goal of Islamic terrorists. Bring the Yankee Dogs down in the eyes of the world.

We have many enemies waiting for that day. You have to be personally prepared. Get a working plan for your family and start acquiring emergency supplies. Go to, they have great products and ideas to help you get ready; also

This is about your personal safety and survival. If not for yourself, do it for the survival of your family.

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Copyright 2006, 2016 by Major Van Harl USAF Ret. All rights reserved.