Mortimer Zuckerman, the editor of USNews and World Report, writes an excellent article this week, much as he normally does; stating facts in a straightforward and honest manner and pointing out what should be obvious in a much clearer form.
This week, he discusses the terror threat that exists in the world today, and some of the changes we must make before we even begin to fight it.
Our leaders face an extraordinary challenge. They must make all of us understand the uniqueness of this struggle: a better word than war, which implies dealing with states and soldiers in uniform, when what we are up against are stealth and treachery. This is not the all-engulfing conflict of the two world wars. It will be marked by unpredictable pauses between attacks, sometimes from an "enemy within," who will try to find ways to exploit the very freedoms and openness that keep a civil, democratic society together.Terror is unpredictable. It can strike at any time, in any place, against any group of people. It may strike at Jews, at the West, or even at Muslims who are not sympathetic enough to the twisted views of the terrorists.
In our open society, there is no way that governments can meet their most basic obligations to guarantee everyone's security. We cannot possibly police all the vulnerable pores in our highly mobile, free-market society, but we will somehow have to fashion new security checks and protections consistent with our democratic way of life.It is unrealistic to believe that we can stop every attack; or even most attacks. But we must do our best.
Some progress has been made. The bombings in London and Egypt have stimulated a global alliance of political leaders. Europe, finally, seems to have seen the face of terror for what it is, as Americans did on 9/11. London has paid a fearsome price for its long tolerance of preachers who spew Islamic hate, inspiring jihadists around the globe, in Madrid, Casablanca, Saudi Arabia, and Israel. But the betrayals by the British citizens behind the recent London bombings have also brought a dramatic leap in support for Tony Blair and punctured the apologists for extremism.This is just the first step. Zuckerman goes on to enumerate some of the actions that must be taken.
Platitudes will not suffice. New and tougher measures must now be on the agenda: tighter immigration reviews, many more of the closed-circuit television cameras that worked so well in London, monitoring of Islamic centers to be sure they are not used to recruit local Muslims to jihad, and more scrutiny of all travelers.Otherwise, we may end up like Israel:
A more distressing possibility is that our cities may soon be transformed by a stream of bombings disrupting everyday life--a bomb on a bus or train, in a pizza parlor, a school, a shopping mall, a disco, a church. Our Islamifascist enemies have no scruples.
The world has become a global village--this time, though, of terrorism. It is a lethal cocktail of globalized ideologies, worldwide instantaneous communications, porous borders, and radical extremists that have wiped out the line between foreign and domestic threats.
When terrorist attacks hit London, Paris, Madrid, or New York, it doesn't stay there. The fear spreads to every major metropolis.To stop this, we must respond as Israel has, and not as we have so far, and not as the British have so far:
The kind of political correctness that betrayed London will not do. When New York announced that it would screen subway passengers, the police immediately felt the need to say the checks would be random. But what sense does it make when random searches stop a mother with a child, because she happens to be the fifth through the turnstile, and then lets through a young Muslim man with a backpack? Targeted profiling of this kind, which has worked in other countries, especially Israel, is a necessary and legitimate security measure.
The terrorists, after all, have pretty well all been young Muslim men, and the Muslim community has a duty to do something about the poison in its midst, these misguided young men impelled by an upside-down version of their religion.
When a similiar type of occurence happens tragically by Jewish hands, as happened today, Israeli and Jewish society immediately condemn the action, and work at figuring out how to make sure such a thing never happens again. No blame is shifted onto other societies, no excuses are made; as Yesha leader Bentsi Lieberman said after learning of the attack:
"Murder is murder is murder, and there can be no other response but to denounce it completely and express revulsion."The same standards apply to all societies. Israel and the Jewish people will do their best to stop future attacks such as the one that happened today from happening, and will do so regardless of whether or not the Palestinians and others do the same. At the same time, Muslim society must figure out how to teach their youth not to hate; not to destroy; not to kill.
This will not happen overnight. It will take many years, and many large changes - some changes may need to be similiar to what happened in Iraq. But no matter the path, Zuckerman concludes:
One thing we can count on: We'll have to hold on to our seat belts, for this is going to be a very bumpy ride.