Saturday, October 08, 2005

Three months on...

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Yesterday was the three month anniversary of the terrorist attacks in London... made all the more poignant by the news that New York authorities had received specified threats against their city's subway system. It now seems clear that regardless of our continued military efforts to thwart Al Quaeda and its decentralized network of indoctrinated militants, this threat will remain in our lives for years if not decades to come. Extreme Islamic terror in our largest cities around the world is unquestionably here to stay.

It still feels like only yesterday that the chaos of that morning ensued in London... the explosion of images, muddled reports, and a desperate concern for relatives and loved ones. The immediate aftermath where it was swiftly explained that the apparent seven explosions were in actual fact only four. And then, in the days that followed we saw the faces of those responsible. Human beings all. One, a loving father and teacher, others too young to legally drink alcohol in the United States. A story emerged that the parents of one of the suicide bombers had tipped off the police by inquiring about whether their son had been a victim in the attacks. I can only begin to imagine their shock.

What occurred on July 7th made me immensely proud of my home city, and our inviolate spirit forged by the Blitz of World War 2 and the IRA bombing campaign in the 1980's. If the object of terrorism is to terrorize, then those ultimately responsible for these attacks utterly failed. There has been no outbreak of anti-muslim violence here, no dramatic political upheaval like that witnessed as a consequence of the Madrid bombings. They did not damage our economy, nor our willingness to continue on in pursuit of what they fear most of all - a free society, comprising people of all religions and creeds, fostering self determination, individualism, equality of the races, sexes, and different sexualities... and, of course, most fundamentally, the liberty to dissent without fear of retribution. It's our way of life that ultimately poses the greatest threat to Islamic Extremists who, by contrast, require the violent enforcement of scripture to retain the perpetuation and longevity of their power and control.

I don't know whether or not the nature of the potential threat posed to NYC two days ago demanded full public disclosure. None of us are in a position to make an informed judgment about that because we do not know all of the facts. All I know is that we need to prize even more highly our way of life. Every possible precaution sometimes doesn't serve our larger battle against terrorism in my opinion, and, I couldn't understand why some people responded to the NYC tip off with an almost vitriolic, eager excitement to remind us all that it is good to always be afraid... to always be fearful, as if it was a bad thing that New York had began to move on from the trauma of September 11th.

It is good to not be afraid. To be undaunted. To be unmoved. Ask yourself this: When those responsible for the London bombings saw the city's commuters flood back onto underground trains the very next day, how powerless must they have felt? When those planning to attack see public figures promoting mass hysteria, by contrast, how powerful must they feel?

To qualify this post I am a foreign policy hawk. I believe in preemptive action where appropriate. I'm not singing kumbaya around the campfire, while preaching appeasement, and ignorance. It's just sometimes I think people need to be reminded exactly what it is we are fighting for... our way of life. It's our way of life that threatens terrorists' grandiloquent fascistic designs... it's our way of life that they want to destroy... and its our way of life, consequently, that we should prize most highly of all.

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