Jonah Goldberg

Now, some may object and say I'm missing the point. The real objection is that the war in Iraq was supposed to make us safer and instead it's aroused even more terrorist attacks.

But this formulation is deeply flawed, logically and morally. First, al-Qaida was attacking Western interests for years, well before both the Iraq invasion and even before 9/11. American embassies in Africa were blown up in the late 1990s, and al-Qaida's first attempt to topple the World Trade Center was in 1993. There have been attacks against Jews around the world, horrifying terrorist attacks have taken place in Russia. The British consulate in Istanbul was bombed in 2003. If Britain wasn't the main target of the jihadis, that doesn't mean their interests weren't at stake. The World Trade Center bombing wasn't merely an attack on the United Kingdom's closest ally (in which British subjects died), it was an attack on a central institution of Western economic life, costing the global economy untold billions.

To say that this wasn't Britain's fight is to say that virtually no fight is.

And then there's the problem of saying that an effort isn't worthwhile if murderers oppose it. Nobody ever says it's not worth prosecuting the mob after mobsters murder policemen or judges in an attempt to intimidate them. And yet, even Blair is buying into the argument that if it were true that the London bombings were the result of the Iraq invasion, then the Iraq invasion would have been wrong. By this logic, it was wrong to declare war on Hitler because of the Blitz.

Sure, the invasion of Iraq was supposed to - and will - make us safer. But few said it would make us safer right away, and those who suggested otherwise were foolish for doing so. But why anybody should be shocked or outraged that terrorists are striking back even as they lose the war is beyond me. The only shock and outrage should be over their willingness to murder innocent civilians indiscriminately. And, perhaps, a little shock and outrage is called for in response to those who think such terrorism is justified at all.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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