It’s early days in the investigation but apparently a score or more of young Britons planned to bring down numerous U.S. -bound passenger airliners.
We’ve been reminded yet again that diligent police work is at the heart of any effective “war on terror.” One international component of that involves the closest cooperation with sympathetic democratic nations; another means we have to do business with governments and security services that may contain elements that are hostile to our nation and the West generally. But if Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are seen as essential to the war against extremism, why are the lines of communication to some other countries so poor?
Even though Iran is Hezbollah’s main financial backer, the five-week war with Israel might not have happened if America had a marginally better relationship with Syria.
Another crucial element in any war against terrorism is the battle for hearts and minds. Invading countries in “preventive” actions doesn’t help a whole lot in that regard. Nor does torture, which has always been one of the great recruiting sergeants for extremism.
This doesn’t mean that we’ll ever allow our foreign policy to be dictated by the terrorists who, fueled by a fanatical ideology, have killed thousands and would kill millions if they had the chance.
No, on the contrary, it means we must work ever harder to counter radical Islamism (not to be confused with Islam, the religion of millions of our fellow Americans) and the allure that its murderous and backward ideas might have for a few young people in free, open societies such as ours.