Here are two multiple choice questions: If you had to select which agency or body you would rather have looking into the latest plot to blow up targets in New York City, would you pick (a) The New York Times; (b) a congressional committee headed by Rep. John Murtha; (c) The government of Lebanon?
The second question: which of the following would you prefer to guide the behavior of those looking into said plot (a) The United States Supreme Court, which recently ruled that suspected terrorists have certain rights under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Convention - though they are neither American service personnel (to whom the UCMJ applies), nor adherents to the convention's requirements; (b) the United Nations, which rarely enforces resolutions it mostly does not pass; (c) the government of Lebanon?
I choose "c" as the answer to both questions.
The monitoring of the lead suspect in the alleged plot, Amir Andalousli, was conducted in Lebanon with the assistance of U.S. agents and kept secret for months. Thank goodness The New York Times didn't get wind of this and publish it prematurely. Had they revealed the investigation and the attack subsequently came, a Times editorial would probably have criticized the Bush administration for failing to prevent it.
These occasional successes we hear about in the anti-terror war (and one hopes there are many more about which we don't hear) are helpful reminders that no matter what happens in Iraq, the conflict is nowhere near an end and probably won't be for years, perhaps generations, to come. How can it end when so many believe their "god" requires them to act without rules and without conscience under their brainwashed doctrine that only they are right and everyone who does not agree with them deserves to die? Holding such a belief leaves no room for them to negotiate with Western diplomats whom they regard as "infidels."
Last week, Britain observed the anniversary of the July 7, 2005 subway and bus bombings in which four suicide bombers killed 52 people. Much of Britain remains in at least partial denial about the problem facing them (and facing us in the United States). According to the Populus survey conducted for the London Times and ITV News, more than one in 10 British Muslims believe the bombers should be regarded as "martyrs." Sixteen percent of British Muslims - about 150,000 adults - believe that while the attacks were wrong, the cause was right. Seven percent of the 1,131 Muslim adults surveyed believe such attacks can be justified "in some circumstances." Sixteen percent would be "indifferent" if a family member joined al-Qaida. Since terrorists are known to lie, these figures could be much higher. There are an estimated 1.6 million Muslims in Britain. Do the math and see if this is a tolerable number of extremists, who might be terrorists and are certainly in sympathy with the killing of "infidels." A similar study should be conducted in the United States.
If this were a joke, one might ask how many Muslim terrorists it takes to blow up a tunnel, bus, or subway? The answer is not many and it isn't funny.
Those wishing to understand what's coming even in the midst of "moderate" talk from politicians and a few Muslim leaders, should regularly visit The Middle East Media Research Institute's Web site, MEMRI.org, where excerpts of sermons, statements and writings by a diverse group of radicals are readily available. In a sermon in Tehran, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati recently claimed the English government might have caused the London bombings just like the U.S. government might have caused 9/11. Lebanese "researcher" Hisham Jaber claims "Global Zionism" was behind the London attacks and 9/11 and "has been forging holy books since the Protocols of the Elders of Zion," a virulent anti-Semitic book that was long ago discredited but is widely believed among Arabs and Muslims. And then there's this little number from the head of the London Center for Islamic History, Hani Siba'i: "The term Œcivilians' does not exist in Islamic religious law." Why has the British government not deported him?
One hears the argument that we must abide by rules so we won't be like them. Maybe if we were more like them, there would be fewer of them plotting how to kill more of us.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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