Friday, August 11, 2006

And Now For the Real Deal

Earlier this morning, I cited the Washington Post editorial (scroll down to "Oh, Balderdash!") and emphasized that our current regime was still not looking at the ultimate causes of terrorism against the US. My emphasis was on the long-term, not the short term problem of terrorism. Still, even I recognize that we really do need to work hard to avert any strike against the US. I was just as horrified and sickened by 9/11/01 as every other American. Here's the question: what's the best way to do that? An editorial in the Minneapolis Star Tribune gives a much more satisfying response than had the Washington Post.

Candidate George W. Bush loved to lampoon the Clinton administration's emphasis on law enforcement and the legal system as tools against terrorism. They were too wimpy for him; a good, strong military action against a terror-sponsoring state was more his kind of action. And so military action we got. In Afghanistan it was essential, but in Iraq it was not. There it has increased manyfold the number of terrorists targeting the United States and worldwide animosity toward it.

Meanwhile, patient, meticulous police work in Britain and elsewhere identified and monitored this plot by a smallish, nonstate group of criminal terrorists until the need to take them down became urgent.

...British officials said Thursday that their long-term efforts against this group involved close cooperation with police services in numerous nations, including the United States. That is the way you take out most terrorists, not with bombs and missiles but with time-tested law-enforcement techniques.

Following 9/11, that's precisely what European leaders sought to tell the Bush administration. They'd had decades of experience dealing with similar threats, and they are good at it -- as the British demonstrated again this week. The Europeans saw reliance on the language of war as unhelpful, suggesting a quick, major confrontation that would end the threat. Everyone, from frightened public to counterterrorism officials, they believed, would be better off and act more effectively if they understood this was a struggle that would go on perhaps for decades and would more often than not involve work far less romantic than sending forces off to battle.

We're rapidly closing in on 3,000 deaths and tens of thousands more severely injured Americans as a result of our stupid and illegal invasion of Iraq, and the terrorists continue, now strengthened in numbers because of our stupd and illegal invasion of Iraq.

It's time for the country to put some adults back in charge.


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