ALONG WITH several thousand soldiers at Fort Dix, I was a potential target of the murderous plot allegedly hatched by six Islamofascists living in America - in the Delaware Valley.

In addition to Fort Dix and other military bases, the Navy Yard and the Army-Navy game were targeted, according to the government's criminal complaint. I attend that game every year, with 68,000 other fans.

Government allegations are not convictions, but for the pointy-headed intellectuals and TV talking heads who scoff about the "global war on terror," this is another wake-up call. (The "global war on terror" was really a default name. What we really have is a "war on Islamic fundamentalists," but using the "I-word" in any form might freak out Politically Correct Americans and some hypersensitive Muslims who are hungry to accuse us of a "Crusade.")

9/11 wasn't enough for some people, who seem to think it was a one-act play, despite massive physical evidence to the contrary and ceaseless calls for "death to America" from individuals such as Osama bin Laden and states such as Iran.

Is America ready to wake up yet?

Name it as you will, but we are at war. That is not an invention of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Halliburton and the neo-cons. If it makes you happy to think this is all Bush's doing, you'll have to explain the attacks on U.S. embassies in Africa and the U.S.S. Cole carried out on Bill Clinton's watch.

Terrorism is an American problem in America today.

We are at war not against a specific country and not against a specific religion. We are fighting a different kind of war that will last for generations against Islamic jihadists.

The plotters are quoted by the government - which tape-recorded them day and night - as saying they needed a fatwa, which is religious approval, before they could

launch their plot. This is not the first alleged Islamic terror cell uncovered in America and it won't be the last. We don't have to wait for them "to follow us home" from Iraq. They are already here.

The government has already gotten convictions in Brooklyn, Buffalo, N.Y.; and Lodi, Calif.

That the Fort Dix Six didn't raise suspicions of their neighbors is creepy and chilling. They seemed like "normal people," by most accounts.

The unsung hero is the Circuit City clerk who found the plotters' jihad training film disturbing and called cops. His name has been kept private to protect him.

The guy ought to get a medal, but the government fears to name him. It's believed he'd be a target of other jihadists - and I hope no reporter outs the clerk for the sake of a cheap scoop. This is America today. Meanwhile, peaceful U.S. Muslims fear a backlash against them because of home-grown Islamic terrorists.

Here's what the alleged plotters had in common: Male, 20s, Muslim. Just like the 9/11 mass murderers.

No amount of Political Correctness can disguise the most likely face of the most likely enemy.

The question is: How do we go about rooting out the jihadists without terrorizing peaceful Muslims?

The first step is to be far more careful about whom we let into this country in the first place. Yes, I mean intense scrutiny of incoming Muslims. Caution isn't racism. Three of the Fort Dix Six were here illegally.

The second step is to round up illegals and ship them home, starting with Muslim illegals. It will take time. It will cost money.

Think of what a successful attack on Fort Dix would have cost, financially and emotionally.

We are at war. We have to act like it. *

E-mail stubyko@phillynews.com or call 215-854-5977. For recent columns: