A Lesson Unlearned

Regular readers of Wizbang recognize that it is usually Jay Tea’s job to take issue with the venerable Boston Globe. We hope, then, that Jay Tea won’t mind our own discussion of some typical Boston Globe foolishness. But this example of moronic Globe editorializing simply begs for rebuttal.

The September 8 number of the Globe contains a staff editorial called “An Antiterrorism Lesson.” It begins as follows:

The arrest Tuesday of three suspects in a plot to carry out bombings in Germany offers crucial lessons about preventing terrorism. Some of those lessons have to do with the tactics of law-enforcement and intelligence agencies. But the most beneficial insight Americans could gain from the German example is that war is the wrong metaphor for a nation’s defense against terrorism.

Ah, we just knew it would happen. Every time a government catches a few prospective terrorists, someone brings out the trusty “law enforcement alone will solve the problem” argument. Humorously, the Globe argues that war is “the wrong metaphor for a nation’s defense against terrorism.” Someone ought to inform the Globe that war is not merely a metaphor, but is actually being waged against, e.g., the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The Globe continues:

The terrorists may need to tell each other they are killing civilians in the cause of a holy war. But societies that have to protect themselves against Al Qaeda and its offshoots are not at war. And they don’t need to act as if they are going to war.

The investigation leading to this week’s arrests and the seizure of bomb-making material suggests that the terrorist threat is best countered not by armies, but by meticulous police work, intelligence cooperation, and laws that strike a reasonable balance between civil liberties and the state’s obligation to protect the lives of citizens.

Thus do the deep thinkers of The Boston Globe present the opinion that war is never the appropriate response to terrorism. To which one might reasonably ask: Even in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan? Was it wrong for the US to topple that odious government, when it could have done some “meticulous police work” instead?

Someone ought to introduce the Globe staff to the 1990s. After all, it was during this decade that President Bill Clinton treated terrorism as a law-enforcement issue. He did not respond to terrorist attacks with armies; he responded with police work instead.

And what happened? Well, an escalation in terrorism throughout the decade, which ultimately led to 9/11. That is the proper way to handle the terrorist menace?

Now, it is certainly true that intelligence and law enforcement have a role to play in the War on Terrorism. But to assume that they alone can handle Islamist fascism is ahistorical and absurd.

(Note: The crack young staff normally “weblog” over at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” where they are currently demanding the use of “meticulous police work” to stop the genocide in Darfur.)

Analyzing Osama
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