A PACK, NOT A HERD: Jonathan Rauch has a great column on this:

Suppose President Bush called for volunteers in the war on terror, and thousands of people came forward. Suppose they created volunteer networks for disaster relief, emergency preparedness, and civil defense. Suppose they did most of this work at the community level, under the radar of the national media. And suppose it all happened not in the massive, militarized, top-down mode of WWII but in the networked, decentralized, bottom-up manner of WWW.

Well, brace yourself. Americans have heard the call. . . .

I caught up with Alan E. Imhoff, a retiree who is helping organize hundreds of the county’s retired doctors, nurses, and other health personnel into a volunteer medical-reserve corps. “Basically,” says Imhoff, “our whole focus is on what we do locally for the first 72 hours, until state and national assistance reaches us.” He adds that preparedness programs are sprouting in Maryland so fast it’s hard to keep up with the acronyms.

The jihadists of militant Islam are reported to believe that as they toppled the Soviet colossus, so, in time, they can topple the American one. What they do not understand is that the Soviet state made war on civil society for most of its 70-year rule. Americans, meanwhile, have nurtured their churches, charities, and clubs. The Soviet Union fell because it was brittle as well as brutal. America, with its countless nodes of activity and authority, is somewhat more vulnerable than the USSR, but it is infinitely more robust. More robust than Al Qaeda realizes. More robust, even, than many Americans realize.

Yep. But we need to go on the offensive.