Given that terrorists have the motive to murder and seem able to grab the material to build a bomb and the means to get one into the United States, why haven't we already had some kind of nuclear disaster? Interviewers for two years have asked Harvard's Allison that question, and his regular answers have been: "It's a great puzzle. ... I think that we should be very thankful that it hasn't happened already. ... We're living on borrowed time."
Churchill in 1946 knew that the United States and its allies were living on borrowed time. He wisely contended that: "We cannot afford, if we can help it, to work on narrow margins. ... If these all-important years are allowed to slip away, then indeed catastrophe may overwhelm us all." He uttered words about Soviet leaders 60 years ago that are now relevant in the Middle East: "I am convinced that there is nothing they admire so much as strength, and there is nothing for which they have less respect than for weakness, especially military weakness."
Our best opportunity to avert disaster is to stay strong and deny the terrorists secure bases. Some might credit the Bush administration for winning us some time by having the United States go on offense, rather than sit back on defense. Some will thank God that we have been spared thus far. Others will do both, and pray.
And maybe someone with the guts and rhetorical ability of a Churchill will make it his mission to awaken America to the urgency of the matter.