They must not win

Debra J. Saunders

7/10/2005 12:00:00 AM - Debra J. Saunders

The United Kingdom was in top form earlier this week. London won its bid to host the 2012 Olympics -- after Parisian poor-sport Jacques Chirac dissed British cuisine -- as the G8 Summit convened in Gleneagles, Scotland, where all eyes were on Prime Minister Tony Blair and his bid to make Africa, and thereby the world, a better place.

 Then came the brutish message -- bombings on three buses and four Underground stations -- from malcontents who never earned a place at the table. These terrorists don't believe in persuasion or elections or the rights of other people to live their lives. They believe in hate and fear and death. It is all they have, so they use it against the innocent, in the hope that their violence will cause others to fall into their miserable abyss.

 London will weather this storm. It is a city committed to being livable in every way. It is both modern and cozy. Its long history whispers momentous events in old halls, while new voices add spice to the city landscape.

 London will survive, but some families will not. The bombs that blew holes in the underground blotted out the lives of parents, spouses, friends. One can only send condolences for their coming months and years of pain and loss.

 This is also the moment to give thanks to law enforcement officials who have prevented other such attacks. In March 2004, for example, British security services arrested eight suspects in North London, netting in the raid a half-ton of bomb-making material.

 Then there are the politics. Blair hastened to London, where he announced that he recognizes these bombings, for which the Al Qaeda-linked group in Europe has taken credit, are designed to "use the slaughter of innocent people" in order "to cow us" and change British policy.

 Blair also promised that there will be no such change: "It's important, however, that those engaged in terrorism realize that our determination to defend our values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause death and destruction to innocent people in a desire to impose extremism on the world."

 Already, leftist darling George Galloway, a member of Parliament, released a statement reminding Brits that his RESPECT (Respect Equality Socialism Peace Environment Community Trade Unionism) Party had argued "that the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq would increase the threat of terrorist attack in Britain. Tragically, Londoners have now paid the price of the government ignoring such warnings."

 Galloway then urged the government to remove British troops, "as the Spanish government acted" by "ending the occupation of Iraq." After complete capitulation, Galloway concluded, "Only then will the innocents here and abroad be able to enjoy a life free of the threat of needless violence."

 This seems so obvious that I shouldn't have to write it but: There were no U.S. troops fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan on Sept. 11, 2001, and yet innocent people were killed.

 Step back for a minute and imagine that anti-abortion terrorists had been responsible for similar bombings. Imagine if they set off bombs in New York or Atlanta and demanded that abortion be made illegal or they would keep killing people.

 In such a horrific event, I cannot imagine the left arguing that Americans should look to the "root causes" of the attacks, as happened after Sept. 11.

 If anti-abortion terrorists tried such tactics, I cannot imagine the left arguing that the government should capitulate by outlawing abortion in order to prevent further senseless violence.

 I suggest this scenario because, if leaders capitulate to Islamic terrorists, that cave-in sends the message that terrorism works.

 Antiwar types might think about this -- what Galloway is now doing -- as they are tempted to pronounce these vicious murders as inevitable, the natural consequence of world leaders not listening to their dire warnings.

 If these attacks were inevitable, it is because this modern world provides a berth for mass murderers. If they can hide under a banner of anti-Americanism, there's always a stooge who will pronounce their cause legitimate, and that crude imprimatur gives them a sense of courage. Emboldened, they walk into crowded buses or the Underground stations and slaughter good people.

 They must not win.