Ask the radical Islamic cleric Abu Qatada if he thinks the war against the West, which is the proper way of framing this conflict, is over. British Home Secretary Theresa May has possibly blown an opportunity to deport Qatada because of a bureaucratic snafu over a deadline for his appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. Now there is a good chance that Qataba, described by a judge in Spain as Osama bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe, could be released from prison instead of being deported to Jordan as planned.
Just because the leadership of al-Qaida has been killed, imprisoned or forced to run, does not mean that the fighting stops. In fact, though the "war on terror" may be over as a concept, White House spokesman Tommy Vietor assured Michael Hirsh, the war against al-Qaida rages on. But the war is much broader than al-Qaida. Terrorism flows from a belief system and worldview that will not be crushed because a few al-Qaida leaders are gone.
The secular left refuses to understand this. Terrorism is not the only tool in the arsenal of radical Islamists. Infiltration, Islamic schools, the building of mosques in the midst of the "Great Satan," the running of Muslim candidates for public office, the demands for more "rights" and civil liberties, while Islamists deny such things to the nations they dominate -- all of this and more proves the war by whatever name one wishes to call it is not over. In fact, it is just beginning.
Radical Islamists are attempting to unify the Muslim world under Sharia law and other dictates of the extremist wing of the religion. If they succeed, they will most assuredly redouble their efforts to eliminate Israel and come after America.
The war on terror continues. We need to fight it to win it.
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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