After the attacks in London, the “War on Terror” and Terrorism in general has again taken center stage.
But what has changed?
Did the London bombings expose a permanent weakness, or was it only there because of a mistake or focus elsewhere? You simply can’t be prepared for everything. In a free and democratic society like those in the Western world, people base their security on the trust and common sense of others.
Terrorists know this… and they exploit it to the fullest.
So how do we stop terrorist attacks?
We can’t. We can only prepare for the worst while preserving the fundamental beliefs that make our socities so desirable, and so much the envy of others. Everytime that we change or tighten our own rules to squeeze our own freedoms and liberties, then these Islamofascist terrorists win.
Everytime that we create things like the Patriot Act and Security Certificates, the terrorists win. Everytime that we prop up or support or depend another repressive regime like Saudi Arabia or Jordan… the terrorists win.
We must not allow ourselves to take the easy route. We must think outside the box. Waging wars does not qualify as outside-the-box. Nor do no-fly-lists. Or biometrics.
These are all measures that limit our own freedom and do nothing to prevent terrorism.
Wars can be avoided or even used for recruiting.
No-fly-lists can be forged or incorrect.
Borders need not be crossed.
The terrorist attacks will continue. They will hit Barcelona, Paris and Rome. Washington, Seattle and Atlanta. Canada, Hong Kong, and Singapore. It will take years, even decades for these predictions to come true, but if we do not change our tactics then the result is inevitable. I will not predict what they will attack or the effect because the possibilities are simply too numerous, and too frightening.
Yes, some, even many, terrorists will be caught… but the odds are always against us when it only takes one person to detonate a device.
We are fighting a generational war. The terrorists understand this and are in it for the long haul. They are gathering their recruits and instilling in them the will to fight not for immediate power or fame, but rather for an abstract and twisted righteousness. It started in earnest 20 years ago in Afghanistan against the Soviets and now as the Wests’ ignorance, inaction and double standards in the Middle East has continued, the focus has shifted in our direction.
The only way we will stop the terrorists is by resolving the issues that make them so desperate. We must resolve the Israeli-Palestinian issue. We must end our utter-dependance on Saudi Arabia and put democracy and freedom before oil and money.
In short, we must be true to our values at every turn. We must walk the walk. We are too often seduced by the easy route and reluctant to make the hard decisions.
We must be idealists, not capitalists. We must believe in our values for they are what make our lives better. But most of all, we must believe in ourselves.