A Reminder from Mumbai

In case anyone has forgotten about the risk posed by Islamic terrorists, the Mumbai attacks should stand as a fierce reminder of that threat. The current death toll stands at 174, including 10 Americans. It is obvious that Mumbai targets were chosen primarily because they cater to Westerners (meaning mostly Americans and Englishman).

Why would a city like Mumbai be chosen when an American or Western European city would be a much bigger prize? The answer is obvious. Mumbai was a soft target. If Al-Qaeda, or its franchises, could hit the US or Western Europe, it would. The Bush Administration’s efforts in the War on Terror, as well as Tony Blair’s government in the United Kingdom, have made our homeland a difficult target for the Islamic terrorists. It is hard to believe that a country like India that has had an Islamic insurgency for much longer than we have been on guard for an Islamic terrorist attack could be a soft target. India is a successful democracy and a reliable ally in the War on Terror. However, the Indian people must hold their government accountable for its security failure. The Indian Home Security has already been forced to resign.

The acts of the past week in Mumbai should remind all of us that the Islamists declared war on Western civilization long before we were engaged in the War on Terror. Their goal of killing the infidels and restoring the caliphate should not be seen as the rants of a few crackpots. The threat must be taken seriously. Remember, it was Osama Bin-Laden who said, “when people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature, they will like the strong horse.”

In this simple statement, Bin-Laden has given us the strategy for winning the War on Terror. The United States must be the strong horse. We must not show weakness in dealing with the Islamists. These are people who do not value life and are literally lining up to die for their cause. In the face of this, we must take all actions necessary to stop them. They must fear us and the actions that we will take in response to their acts of terrorism.

Unfortunately, the War on Terror will be a long fight. As Mumbai shows us, there will be many fronts. We must be willing to engage them anywhere in the world. As it happened in Iraq, it is far better to engage them abroad than here at home.

I am optimistic that, eventually, American resolve will prevail and the Islamists ideology will be thrown on the ash bin of history, along with fascism and communism. I do not believe that such resolve has yet taken hold. Our memories are short and as each day past September 11, 2001 passes without another terrorist attack in the United States, we seem to grow softer in our desire to win this war. However, there will be a catalyst that will finally cause American resolve in this matter to take hold. What it will be, I do not know. I recently spoke to a retired general officer in our military and he believed that the catalyst will be the detonation of a nuclear devise in a Western or Israeli city. I hope that is not the case, but it may very well be. However, once it happens, whatever it is, the sleeping giant will finally be awake. Maybe Mumbai is that catalyst.

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