But since then, there hasn’t been a single major attack on American soil. This is nothing short of amazing. Think of the thousands of planes that have taken off and landed since 2001. The hundreds of thousands of train and bus trips taken nationwide. A single terrorist with a single backpack could have set off widespread panic by blowing up a train. But it hasn’t happened.
Part of the credit should go to homeland security, which has done a better job tracking our enemies and breaking up potential terror cells before they can strike. And part of the credit should go to the war in Iraq.
When the U.S. declared war against Saddam Hussein’s regime, al Qaeda decided to use the war to get us. Instead, it’s practically destroyed itself. “Since September, levels of violence and civilian deaths have been reduced substantially,” Gen. David Petraeus, author of the surge, told lawmakers last spring. “Al-Qaeda Iraq and a number of other extremist elements have been dealt serious blows.”
Of course, it was easy to tell when things improved in Iraq, because that’s when the war stopped being front-page news. In May, fewer Americans were killed than in any month since 2003. And more good news: the Iraqis are stepping up and policing their own country.
On July 6 the Times of London reported that the Iraqi army had taken control of the city of Mosul. Al Qaeda “lacks the strength to fight the [Iraqi] army face to face and has lost the sympathy of most of the ordinary citizens who once admired its stand against the occupying forces and their allies in the Iraqi army,” the paper reported.
This is no time for whining. Things are going well in Iraq, and we have the ability to improve our domestic economy, too -- if our leaders have the will. That may be asking too much in an election year, but time will tell.