As I hope we all know, there were at least 3 different terror attacks in Britain that were either foiled or failed to do any real damage. I have been reading around the internet observing the kinds of articles there are out there. They range from simply stating the facts of the attacks, to the raised terror level in Britain, to speculation on the threat to America. However, what I have not seen are any articles in praise of the British for stopping the attacks, regardless of who was involved in stopping them. I even found a couple articles, like this one here, that criticizes the government for not doing enough. For writers like that, there is nothing that can be done to satisfy them. They imply things like, “oh, well sure we stopped a few attacks, that’s good, but we were just lucky. The only reason they were stopped was because of “the alertness of the public and emergency services.” While that may be true, they were stopped. And to suggest that they were stopped by just pure luck is ridiculous. Three different terror attacks across the country are not just stopped by luck. At the very least, the efforts of the British government to educate their people and prepare their emergency services for such an event worked to prevent these attacks. If these attempts occurred at a time when no one was focused on terrorism, they likely would have succeeded.
While the article linked above bothered in me in the sense I mentioned, it is important to mention that there were important points made in the article. Things like improving the Intel collection and understanding the breadth of the threat. However, my impression while reading the column was that the writer was simply trying to be controversial and no matter what happens at anytime she would be critical. Unfortunately too many journalists these days will only write about the negatives, even in a positive story like that of the foiled terrorist attacks. We should be complementing the British on a job well-done.
This brings me to comment on an issue that has long bothered me, since about 2004. That is the short memory and lack of understanding of the American people. I don’t know if it is because of TV and Internet that we have become so short-minded and refuse to develop our memories, but it seems that Americans have lulled into a false sense of security. We are so wrapped up in Bush’s policies and our disdain for them, that we seem to completely ignore what threats there really are out there. While Britain is still an ocean away, it shows that terrorists still view us and the West as their enemies. While most American’s seem to think the Bush is their enemy. How about focusing your hatred and fear in another direction? You know why they don’t, it is because blaming Bush is easy. He is a face that we can use to legitimize our fears. Terrorists don’t really have much of a face. I think Bin Laden has evolved in some kind of legend, we’re not sure if he really exists (of course we are sure of that, but do you understand what I am getting at?), it’s like we don’t think he is really real anymore. The fact is we should be directing our efforts at terrorism, not Bush.
This brings me to the last point. People fail to realize that Iraq has indeed made us safer. Certainly we are unpopular because of it and people hate us for it. But all would be terrorists would hate us anyway, regardless of whether we were in Iraq. What Iraq has provided is a ‘neutral’ battlefield from where we can battle the terrorists. Now, I am not naive to the point where I think all terrorists will fight us there, so there is still cause for concern here (and why we should not forget about terrorists and 9/11). But I do think that Iraq is providing a significant diversion for many terrorists to focus their efforts on. If we were not there, where would many of these same terrorists be? In their homes in Egypt or Sudan or Pakistan, etc planning the next attack on American soil. So rather than having the amount of groups we have already doing just that, there would be hundreds more. People who say that Iraq is not part of the war on terror are deluding themselves. It is extremely significant to it. We are battling terrorist on the ground there and if we lose or pull out too early it will be viewed as further American weakness, terrorist will believe that we lost and are even more vulnerable and prone to defeat, and, therefore, plan more attacks. Thus in no way would an early exit from Iraq be wise or make us safer. The American people need to wake up and get real. Iraq is far from ideal, we are struggling, there is no argument here, but things are getting better and we WILL be successful with just some patience. Remember the Civil War, sure it was 150 years ago, but the Union was getting it handed to them for the first three quarters of it. Just like today, there were a lot of people in the North who wanted an end to the war and there was a lot of pressure on Lincoln, could you imagine if the Union caved? What a disaster! Today it is easy to look back on that and recognize that Lincoln’s choice was a no-brainer, but we have the benefit of hind sight. We don’t have that luxury right now. We cannot cut out too soon, it will be a disaster for decades to come and could spell the end to America’s Super-power status. And I don’t know about you, but I would rather have a democratic country like the US as the world’s superpower than a country like China or Russia. I fear that the next President, especially if it is Hillary or Obama, will cower to public pressure and pre-maturely withdraw from Iraq. This would show the complete lack of understanding of the situation we are in and their only desire being political power. If there is only one enviable thing you can say about Bush, it is that he sticks to his guns and will not pander; he is not afraid to take an unpopular stance.