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Suicide bombings in the United States?

By Wolf Blitzer - April 9, 2002 CNN

In the early 1970s, when I first began covering terrorism and wars in the Middle East, I noticed that airports in that part of the world had lots of security, including metal detectors. I remember wondering whether U.S. airports would ever need that kind of security. You know the answer to that.

Girl dressed as suicide bomber

At a pro-Arab-Palestinian demonstration in Berlin, Germany on April 13, an Arab demonstrator carries his daughter, who is wearing a mock belt of explosives symbolizing the belts worn by suicide bombers. (Source)

In more recent years, when I have visited Israel, I have noticed that security guards routinely are posted at malls, supermarkets, and restaurants. Once again, I wondered whether that would ever be necessary here in the United States.

On Sunday, two influential U.S. senators expressed their fear that the kind of suicide bombings we've seen in Israel might indeed spread to the United States. "My concern would be that what we've seen on suicide bombers in Israel is fear that it could happen here," Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn) told me. And that, he says, places an enormous amount of pressure on Secretary of State Colin Powell to achieve a cease-fire when he arrives in the region later this week.

"And while he has low expectations and has been stating such, it's going to be absolutely essential that we bring an end to the hostilities, the present hostilities there," Dodd said. "Whether or not you can achieve peace in this visit is unlikely. But to get back on a track again of drawing down these kind of massacres that are going on, the loss of civilian life, to re-engage these moderate Arab leaders. They're the ones who are going to play a critical role here. Before these spin totally out of control. And instead of having suicide bombers occurring in cafes in Israel, as outrageous and despicable as that is, it could happen here. That's one of my fears."

Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa) agrees. "If we don't stop the suicide bombings in Israel, they may become an international terrorist way of life. They may become a plague. And they could happen anywhere if they gain currency and if they are permitted to go unchecked." Specter, a strong supporter of Israel, says that explains why he understands Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's policies. "When Sharon moves in -- in self defense -- to rout out these terrorists and to stop the suicide bombers, who can say he's wrong?".