Cheat-Seeking Missles

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Five Years On, Are We Safer?

Cries from Democrats that America is no safer today than it was five years ago are curious; on what evidence is the position based?

Looking from sea to shining sea, I see none. Every few months, a crazed Muslim hops in an SUV and plows down innocent Americans, but other than that, there have been no successful campaigns against Americans on America's shores since Sept. 11, 2001.

It is evident, then, that the Dems are not looking for evidence. Let's give them some anyway, shall we? From Opinion Journal:
We presume that bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman Zawahiri, are alive, probably in the Pakistani hinterland. But we know that Mohammed Atef, the mastermind of the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in East Africa, was killed in Afghanistan in an American air strike.

We know that Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, one of the masterminds of the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, is in U.S. custody, as is Abu Zubaydah, who allegedly planned the failed millennium attacks. We know the U.S. captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the al Qaeda operations chief and mastermind of September 11, as well as his successor, Abu Farraj al-Libbi. We know the U.S. killed al-Libbi's senior deputies, Haithem al Yemeni and Abu Hamza Rabia. We know that Midhat Mursi, author of al Qaeda's explosives manual, is dead.

This is not an exhaustive list. And while we do not know what proportion of al Qaeda's senior ranks are dead or in jail, Zawahiri must write letters to associates to find out whether his messages have aired on al-Jazeera. Al Qaeda has spawned imitators and affiliates, which trade on its radical infamy. But the ability of bin Laden and Zawahiri to plan and execute terrorism seems to have been massively degraded, and it shows in the fact that five years later there has been no major terrorist attack in the U.S., nor any, anywhere, comparable in scale to the attacks of that day.

Combine this with the list that Pres. Bush presented in his speech Wednesday, and we see that a great number of evil men who were working full-time to harm America are otherwise indisposed -- or decomposing -- at the moment.

The WSJ also reminds us that just a couple years ago, Palestine was not in the hands of Hamas, Lebanon was creeping towards democracy, Assad's Syria was on the ropes because of the Hariri investigation, Mubarak had agreed to elections in Egypt and Israel had withdrawn from the Gaza Strip. None of this would have been possible with Saddam in Iraq and the U.S. not in Iraq.

The last year has been one of setbacks on all these fronts, but setbacks should be anticipated in wars, which are plays of many acts. Meanwhile, in Iraq Saddam and the Baathists are still out of power, a democratic government is still in place, and that leaves open opportunities we never would have had, had the president not pursued war in Iraq.

The deaths of five years ago remain tragic, but we are still fighting for their memory, and to make their deaths worth something. And that is worth something.

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