Just how likely is it that one or another of the terrorist groups will launch an attack on the United States between now and Election Day, and thereby exert a powerful impact on the political outcome? We may suppose they are sophisticated enough to realize that such an attack would simply benefit the Republicans, and therefore would avoid one. But this assumes that our terrorist foes see important differences, from their standpoint, between the Republicans and the Democrats. No doubt they would root for the Democrats if they believed a Democratic victory would result in a U.S. withdrawal from the Middle East. But this is far from certain, as we must assume the terrorists realize, so there is probably little temptation for them to try to play intramural American politics. Continued terrorist attacks on the Great Satan, without regard to its internal differences, may well seem the best course.
We would do well, therefore, to prepare for the possibility of further terrorist attacks on the United States this year, without regard to the political calendar. Certainly the American government will maintain its vigilance -- and we should not forget the absence of any major attack on this country since September 2001, for which our current defensive measures probably deserve considerable credit.
But living in the 21st century isn't going to be a bed of roses. As Trotsky said of the 20th, you have picked the wrong century to be living in.
William Rusher is a Distinguished Fellow of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy and author of How to Win Arguments .
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