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Friday, March 12, 2004

From this morning's WSJ:

Madrid now joins Bali, Baghdad, Najaf, Karachi, Istanbul, Mombasa, Jerusalem, Riyadh, Casablanca and of course New York and Washington in the lineup of terror targets. With several months having lapsed since the last such carnage outside Iraq, we have sensed a complacency developing in some circles that perhaps the worst is over. The late-night comedians have begun to make fun of the "orange alerts," the Patriot Act is being assailed by liberals and libertarians, and voices in Congress are once again daring to propose less defense spending.

The danger is that we will once again return to the "law enforcement" mindset that dominated the world's handling of terrorism before 9/11. This view assumes that, however awful, terrorism is an endurable tragedy that can be prosecuted after the fact, like a murder in Chicago. John Kerry has been explicit in recommending this kind of policy.

This temptation is understandable but dangerous. Fighting a war, even one like the war on terror that is often in the shadows, is expensive and hard. It's not surprising that many Americans would like to return to the Roaring Nineties when terrorism was something that happened to other people -- in Israel or somewhere far away. But that vacation from history ended on September 11.

The Madrid bombings are a reminder that terrorism remains the largest single threat to Western freedom and security. It threatens every country that refuses to cower in fear and dares to take the battle to the terrorists. We've made large strides in this war since 9/11, thanks in part to friends like the Spanish. Their current grief should inspire America's renewed determination.

Renewed determination, and then some. Let's not lose focus on the threats that continue to loom large on the world horizon.


.: posted by Dave 10:43 AM

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