Thursday, July 07, 2005

I got on the elevator this morning, making my way to the parking garage, when a neighbor asked me, "Did you hear about the terrorist attacks in London?"

There have been several moments in my three-months-and-counting hiatus from blogdom where I've been caught off guard by current events, but this one knocked me off my feet. My very first thought was, "Boy, has my life changed!" You see, there was a time not that long ago when I'd have woken to the story, and seriously contemplated taking a sick day to blog in front of 24-hour news coverage. Not only would I be informed, but by the end of the week I'd have every facet of every suspect memorized. Who was he? Where did he live? Where was he educated? Does he have any familial relations to other terrorists? What was his ranking in the organization?

So to hear the biggest story since the Tsunami from a neighbor is introspectively staggering.

Anyway, my second thought was hoping that the bastards hadn't killed that many people, that casualties were minimum and that nobody I knew knew anyone who was killed. The count is already 40 dead. It's likely to go higher.

Then came the inevitable thought, at least for a has-been politico like me: I hope the British don't react like the Spaniards did.

The Spanish capitulation to terrorism over 3-11 was shameful. It didn't make them any safer. Indeed, just six months after pulling from Iraq Spanish authorities discovered an Islamic terror plot to detonate truck bombs outside Madrid's National Court. Conversely, it could be argued, and was, that the Spanish reaction ensured similar plots would occur in the future, such as today in London. Imagine had instead of cowering the Spanish said "screw you" and tripled their forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. That would have set a new precedent and made it more likely that terror groups might think twice about such attacks as it would be counterproductive to their cause.

Consider that the American transit security is no better than that of the UK or Spain. So the question then becomes "why not us?" If a group of 10 or so terrorists can easily collect enough diesel fuel and fertilizer to make bombs, why wasn't the NYC subway system, the DC metro or another American mass transit system attacked this morning? The answer, to me, is simple: terrorists know Americans will react aggressively, and perhaps not just in Iraq and Afghanistan. This isn't a baldy promise we won't be hit again. But I believe our reaction to 9-11 made us safer, whereas Spain's made Europeans less safe. They are, right or wrong, perceived as having a lack of resolve in fighting terrorism.

Honestly, do you really believe our homeland security has improved so drastically since 9-11 that terrorists are incapable of even the most basic of suicide bombings against us? Israelis are the world's most expert and experienced counterterrorists but even they cannot stop every minor, but coordinated, attack. Don't get me wrong - we are safer. But all we really did was close the most obvious and glaring loopholes in our pre-September 11 security (for instance, policing for small knives and, frankly, screening Middle Eastern men aged 18-44).

The terrorists who attacked London this morning could have just as easily hit Miami or LA. But they didn't. I suspect they didn't because they know our reaction would be the exact opposite of Spain's, as it was after 9-11.

Let's hope the British reaction is akin to ours too. I think they will. The Brits have been historically tough. There's going to be the Tony Benn and Claire Short asinine statements urging withdraw and blaming Blair and Bush, but I think that will be the minority of the public.

A couple other thoughts:

1) From a statement by The Secret Cell of Al-Qaida of Jihad Group in Europe they committed this "revenge from the British Zionist Crusader Government in retaliation for the massacres Britain is committing in Iraq and Afghanistan." Certainly in the next few weeks journalists will conveniently drop the word "Afghanistan" because only the most irrational of thinkers considered the American overthrow of the Taliban as wrong or ill-conceived. But to extremists the presence of what they call "secularist democracy" - freedom of and from religion, freedom of expression, press and speech, capitalism and private property - is travesty in Afghanistan, Iraq or any other of "their" homes. Stopping freedom and choice is why they fight, because their belief system will not win out in an environment of free will and choice.

By the way, Tony Robbins over at National Review has some interesting observations including one of timing: this attack comes shortly after the UK announced it will reduce troops in Iraq.

2) When will Europe acknowledge it has a serious problem with Islamic extremism? The Secret Organization of al-Qaida in Europe? What's so secret about al Qaeda sympathizers in Europe? That's common knowledge. The question is: are they willing to toughen up their anti-terror laws? Or will they continue to let the strawman, this phantom menace to civil liberties, misguide them?

Last year a German court released Mounir El Motassadeq, a suspected logistics officer who aided three 9-11 pilots - Mohammed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah. The court downgraded his relation in the attack to "adequate suspicion," whatever the hell that means. Motassadeq still faces other terrorist-related charges. Leftists worldwide seem more concerned with the treatment of terrorists in prison camps than what terrorists not in them are doing. The Guantanamo detainees, almost all captured fighting for the Taliban, have become the posterchildren for Leftist guilt. But what these detainees aren't doing is bombing subways in London.


Every time I think I'm out they pull me back in...

Not in the know anymore. No longer a blogger or politico. I have a life back. I don't spend hours upon hours reading, thinking and writing about politics. I'm staring a possible promotion in the face and feel good about my IT career for the first time in my life. I don't alienate girlfriends with all the time I spend blogging, committing relationship suicide. And best of all, my stress level has drastically declined...

But God I miss it so...


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