Terry Jeffrey

Had the Liquid Bomb Plot (as some English papers call it) succeeded, a headline the next day might have accurately read, "British Terrorists Attack America."

Though the plot was foiled by excellent British police work, it nonetheless demonstrated that the land of Locke and Blackstone, the cradle of Western democracy and law, has become a breeding ground for Islamic terrorists.

Given that the terrorists planning to commit what may have proved to be the deadliest anti-American terrorist attack ever were born and bred in democratic Britain, President Bush may want to reconsider his strategy of pushing democratic regime-change around the world, and especially in the Middle East, as the means of protecting the United States against terrorism.

"We know that democracies do not foment terror or invade their neighbors," Bush said last year, explaining his policy.

"If the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation and resentment and violence ready for export. The United States has adopted a new strategy, a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East; a strategy that recognizes that the best way to defeat the ideology of terror as a weapon is to spread freedom and democracy."

But the first premise of this strategy is borrowed from bleeding-heart liberalism. Muslim terrorists, it supposes, start out as victims of benighted governments. Remove those governments, and you will end Islamist terrorism.

Yet, how can this apply to Great Britain?

Freedom House, which ranks the world's nations by the degree of "political rights" and "civil liberties" they afford, gives the United Kingdom the best score possible in each category. The Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom ranks the United Kingdom as the world's fifth freest economy. The United States ranks only ninth.

So why have native Brits been implicated for the second time in little more than a year (the London subway bombings was the first) in an Islamist conspiracy to commit mass murder?

All 23 alleged conspirators held in Britain in connection with the latest plot were reportedly British born and raised. British oppression did not create these suspected terrorists. A radical Islamic ideology did. Changing Britain's form of government will not change that radical vision.

Indeed, the challenge for the British will be to defeat those who embrace this ideology without sacrificing their own traditions of liberty.

Terry Jeffrey

Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSNews

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