Imagining October 7 in America

French President Emmanuel Macron recently described the Hamas October 7 attack as the “biggest antisemitic massacre of our century” as he hosted a ceremony paying tribute to the French victims. The raid was also, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies report, the deadliest per capita terrorist assault since the Global Terrorism Database started data collection in 1970. It stated: “This metric adds context for the national impact of the attack and sense of loss for Israel.” Accordingly, based on the number of fatalities per capita, with 1.9, a rate of over one person killed per every 10,000 Israelis, October 7, 2023, ranks first flowed by 0.46 for Tikrit, Iraq in 2014 (ISIS summarily executed Iraqi cadets) and 0.3 Safari Hotel bombing in Somalia in 2017 for second and third places respectively. In absolute terms, 9/11, with 2996 causalities, Tikrit with 1700 deaths, and October 7, with 1200 fatalities, are the three deadliest acts of terror on record in the last 40 years. What these massacres have in common is that fundamentalist jihadists perpetrated them; Muslims, Jews, and Christians were their victims. A plethora of intelligence agencies have warned that the worst is yet to come: Western governments are aware that in addition to hijackings, hostage-taking, biological attacks, and chemical weapons in the hands of fundamentalists, the gravest danger, according to Graham Allison’s book Nuclear Terrorism, lies in a terrorist group exploding a nuclear device in a major city.

To grasp the full magnitude of the stormy vortex that engulfed Israel on that day, let us construct a scenario wherein a terror attack on the same scale as October 7, sponsored by a mindlessly implacable foe, takes place in the USA.

The Hamas strike unfolded in a 40 square km area (Israel is 22 145 sq km). The US has an area of 9 147 420 square km, and proportionally, the territory affected by such an assault would be 165 222 square km, approximately the size of the City of Plattsburg, New York. An onslaught of this magnitude can only be carried by nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, as the city is too large for conventional terror attacks if the objective is to inflict the most significant level of damage in the shortest period.

Using the same comparative matrix, American civilian causalities in Plattsburg and surrounding cities would be 46,812 based on the US population of 331 and Israeli inhabitants of 9 million. The residency figure for Plattsburg is 20,000, so the relative causality model includes mortalities in adjacent cities in Quebec, Canada, Vermont, and other urban areas in the State of New York. Based on the same parameters [2127 Israelis injured) 78,226 Americans would have been wounded. This is the population of Roseville City in California.

In another part of the US, the terrorists may well take an entire city hostage, under the threat of exploding another device, to prolong the agony and exacerbate the humiliation of America. Two hundred and fifty-two civilians were abducted on October 7. The number of corresponding American hostages (based on comparative population data) would be 16,157 souls. It would be the largest civilian prisoner crisis in history.

Not likely?

The 40-mile-long barrier, which cost over a billion dollars, designed to prevent Hamas infiltration, featuring cameras, radars, balloons, drones, barbed wire and underground concrete barriers, observation posts, AI-managed automatic firing weapons, a myriad of sensors that could distinguish the movements of rabbits from humans and supplemented by the legendary prowess of the Israeli security services could not prevent what transpired on that fateful day. We should, therefore, think twice about arguing that the same could not happen on such a scale in the USA. Suffice it to note that the terrorist watch list at the US southern border, a broad intelligence database, contains more than one million names of known and suspected terrorists. The question that bedevils the Americans (given the fact that 5 million undocumented migrants have entered the US) is how many terrorists not on the database are now in American cities? When terrorists enter America, would they not use fake identity documents, suspecting they might be on a watch list? While the overwhelming majority of newcomers seek the American Dream, the possibility that 2 percent of entrants may be terrorists with agendas (100,000 persons) deeply concerns the FBI. Thus, it can happen in the USA; it did happen in America.

If the US response after 9/11 was understandably justified and fierce, the American reaction to the hypothetical events described above would be even more ferocious and unprecedented. Should the country supporting these attacks be identified, I would argue that the response would have incalculable consequences.

Viewing Israel’s tragedy through this prism, we ought to appreciate that Jerusalem’s reaction is justified, notwithstanding Palestinian casualties, which are the result of the cynical use of civilian shields and, in many cases, due to collateral damage. There has never been a just war fought in an urban setting without unintentional collateral damage, nor will there ever be one in the future. Those who compare civilian casualties on both sides and conclude that Israel is committing ‘genocide’ fail to understand that more German civilians died than British inhabitants in the Second World War. This does not mean that the UK was guilty of war crimes. Seventy thousand British and more than 3 million German civilians were killed: a ratio of 4285.71! The Third Reich was guilty; it started the war, had to be defeated, surrender unconditionally, disarm, and release all hostages. Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill would have been greatly amused if one had been insensible enough to call for a humanitarian pause or cease-fire after Stalingrad.

What shock and horror the Americans would experience in such a hypothetical terror attack is what the Israelis are experiencing today. By the time the dust settles, Israel will have changed dramatically as the nation understands that the October pogrom was a rehearsal for the implementation of yet another Final Solution publicly advocated. Even the Third Reich kept the Holocaust proceedings at the Vanessa Conference secret!

There is a scene in the movie A Time to Kill where, in his closing argument, Brigance, the defense lawyer, instructs the jurors to close their eyes while he tells them about a little girl who was brutally assaulted. He describes, in heart-wrenching detail, the attack on Hailey’s daughter, who is African American. By the end, he is close to tears. “Close your eyes and imagine the little girl was your daughter. Can you see her?” he asks the jury. Yes, they can see, and the jury subsequently finds Hailey not guilty of killing the two racists who inflicted such horrors on so small a girl.

I hope when we close our eyes, we can see the image of decapitated babies and imagine them as our children and grandchildren before we join the global intifada of blaming Israel for having the temerity to defend herself.

In the end, truth knows no change.

About the Author
Erol Araf is a strategic planning analyst and international business development consultant with years of experience in global marketing with an emphasis on developing and managing international projects. Before consulting, he was National Director of Public Affairs at the Canadian Jewish Congress and was Director of National Marketing & Quebec Regional CEO at Canada Israel Securities Limited. Canadian [born in Turkey], Conservative Party of Canada, Morachist League of Canada, International Churchill Society. He designed and developed the concept for the movie "Mozart in Turkey," which was filmed on location at the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. It won the Golden Rembrandt Award in 2002. B.A. Business Administration, University of Hertford, U.K.
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