Who are the "real" terrorists?

Posted: Jun 01, 2007 8:41 AM
Who are the "real" terrorists?

Remarkably there appear to be a growing number of people having trouble identifying who the “real terrorists” are. Here is a hint to help them. The real terrorists are the ones intentionally targeting innocent women and children, beheading as many Americans (and Jews) as they can get their hands on, and strapping bombs to their own small kids’ bodies sending them out to blow themselves up for the cause.

Many of those confused about who the real terrorists are belong to the old “blame America” crowd, which has been given new life through the anti-war movement. Rosie O’Donnell recently made news with the following comment: “655,000 Iraqi civilians are dead. Who are the terrorists?” She later refused to answer her own question or to clarify it beyond saying that she did not believe the U.S. troops were terrorists.

The blogger known as the Anchoress wrote in response to the O’Donnell comment that her Auntie Lillie had an old saying, “if you can’t stand the melting steel, then get outta here and go figure out who is trying to kill you and who is actually trying to save your foolish ass.”

Even many of those who have figured out who the terrorists are though, have trouble blaming them for the evil (yes, evil) they perpetrate. Ron Paul asked in the most recent GOP presidential primary debate, "Have you ever read about the reasons they attacked us?” He then answered his own question saying, “They attack us because we've been over there. We've been bombing Iraq for 10 years." Others cite abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and alleged abuses at the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as proof that Americans are no better than the terrorists.

Rudy Giuliani responded to Ron Paul’s claim that our actions invited the September 11 attacks, strongly disagreeing and denouncing the claim, but too many American politicians have only provided minimal objection to the premise. Others, like President Bush who in a recent press conference told a reporter that terrorists “are a threat to your children,” are accused of fear mongering when they speak bluntly about the reality and nature of the threat.

Outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair recently wrote about the need to recognize the true source of the threat posed by Islamic extremism. He described being stopped by someone who told him “it was not surprising there was so much terrorism in the world when we invaded their countries (meaning Afghanistan and Iraq). No wonder Muslims felt angry.”

Blair responded by asking the man what the Muslims had to “feel angry about” when we had removed “two utterly brutal and dictatorial regimes” and replaced them with “a UN-supervised democratic process” and he wondered why they were angry at us, but not at the people doing the killing.

Blair went on to say, “This extremism can be defeated. But it will be defeated only by recognizing that we have not created it; it cannot be negotiated with; pandering to its sense of grievance will only encourage it; and only by confronting it, the methods and the ideas, will we win.”

I wish American politicians would cut out that one line from Blair and carry it around with them as some do a pocket-size version of the Constitution. Maybe it would remind them that terrorism is not something we created, is not something that can be negotiated with, nor should it be pandered to, and that only by confronting it will we win. Sadly, I fear that too few of them actually believe those words anymore.

In the months, and even for a few years, following September 11, the horror of the attacks was still fresh and the importance of strongly addressing the threat of Islamic jihadism was understood. Today a growing number of Americans entertain wild theories that it was not 19 jihadists that brought down the Twin Towers, but rather was forces within our own government. Almost six years later, with no additional attacks on U.S. soil, many have grown weary of the fight. Some now even refuse to recognize the threat. In 2003, Michael Moore famously denounced George Bush’s “fictitious war.” Four years later, John Edwards, a major candidate in the Democrat’s presidential primary, said there was no war on terrorism – that it was just a “bumper sticker slogan.”

Those in the government who have to review the daily threat assessments know that there is nothing fictitious, or “bumper sticker,” about the terrorist threat. Those in Iraq discovering torture manuals in al Qaeda safe houses, or finding the mutilated bodies of their fellow soldiers tied to bombs, know that the terrorist threat is real. Hopefully it won’t take another September 11 style attack on U.S. soil to remind those who have forgotten who the real terrorists are.