The news from Iraq at this writing features a video of a terrorist murdering a man believed to be a kidnapped American civilian. The victim was trying to help rebuild that country. His cold-blooded execution is a reminder of what our Islamofascist enemies have in mind for all of us, non-Islamist Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
Perhaps the murder was committed by putting a bullet in our countryman’s head, rather than removing it, in deference to the recently disclosed injunction from an al Qaeda leader to one of his franchisees in Iraq that beheadings have proven counterproductive to the cause.
The question now occurs: Will the image of a man’s brains being blown out prove less discomfiting to American viewers than that of a decapitation? Or will they be shaken from their growing complacency by this latest reminder of what we are up against? Will this episode provide vital context for them, and their leaders, at a time when many are indulging in increasing paroxysms about the steps President Bush and his administration have taken to protect us against such enemies?
The latest example is the swivet produced by the New York Times’ publication on Friday of an article disclosing that the National Security Agency had been monitoring the international calls and e-mails of certain unnamed people in this country without warrants. The newspaper had sat on the leak of this highly classified program for a year, then calculatedly released it on the day the Senate was scheduled to vote on the reenactment of the Patriot Act.
The reaction was predictable: Critics of the Act seized upon this revelation to denounce the Bush Administration as Big Brother, evidently viewing it as a more serious threat to American citizens and the rule of law than the enemies we need the Patriot Act to defeat. As a result, critical parts of that legislation – including provisions allowing information-sharing between intelligence and law enforcement agencies that have been recognized post-9/11 to be vital to our security – may be allowed to lapse at year’s end.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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