Quotations past and present regarding terror in the here-and-now....
Former Secretary of State George Shultz, in a 1984 speech: "We must reach a consensus in this country that our responses [to terrorism] should go beyond passive defense to consider means of active prevention, pre-emption, and retaliation. The question posed by terrorism involves our intelligence capability, the doctrine under which we would employ force, and most important of all our public's attitude toward this challenge."
Columnist and former leftist Christopher Hitchens: "Anyone who lost their 'innocence' on September 11 was too naïve by far, or too stupid to begin with. On that day, we learned that clerical fanaticism means to fight a war which can only have one victor.... The first duty, therefore, is one of solidarity with bin-Ladenism's other victims and targets, from India to Kurdistan....'We' - and our allies - simply have to become more ruthless and more experienced.
"An unspoken advantage of the current awful strife in Iraq and Afghanistan is that it is training tens of thousands of our young officers and soldiers to fight on the worst imaginable terrain, and gradually to learn how to confront, infiltrate, 'turn,', isolate, and kill the worst imaginable enemy.
"These are faculties that we shall be needing in the future. It is a shame that we have to expend our talent in this way, but it was far worse [before 9/11/2001], when the enemy knew that there was a war in progress, and was giggling at how easy the attacks would be, and 'we' did not even know that hostilities had commenced. Come to think of it, perhaps we were a bit 'innocent' after all."
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, on the fifth anniversary of 9/11: "This heinous attack upon America was an attack upon us all. With America, Britain stands in the front line against Islamist fanatics who hate our beliefs, our liberties, and our citizens. We must not falter. We must not fail....We need to renew our resolve that, however bitter or lengthy the struggle, this evil shall not prevail."
British Prime Minister Tony Blair: "We used to feel we could shut our front door on the problems and conflicts of the wider world. Not anymore. Not when suicide bombers born and bred in Britain bring carnage to the streets of London in the name of religion....
"If we retreat now, hand Iraq over to al-Qaida and sectarian death squads, and Afghanistan back to al-Qaida and the Taliban, we won't be safer. We will be committing a craven act of surrender that will put our future security in the deepest peril."
Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.
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