Saturday, July 16, 2005

Terrorism Becomes Personal on 7/7

It is one thing to read and hear about the low-life terrorists that are plaguing us today while in the comfort of my home and knowing that no one in my family is affected. It is quite another thing to have the implications of their actions hit you in the face out of the blue.

My eighteen year old son was traveling in Europe with a friend hoping to soak up all that history and art before bounding off for college in September. They were on the last leg of their tour when they boarded the chunnel train from Paris to the Waterloo Station in London on July 7. For some reason I couldn't quite understand, their train was delayed by mechanical problems and they ended up arriving at the London station about one hour after the 4 bombs detonated. Of course we didn't know this state side. We just knew that they were travelling that morning and in fact we had no idea which station they were arriving at in London. We did know, however, that their youth hostel was right in the targeted area in central London.

If you are a parent you can imagine our anguish. Fortunately for us, everything worked out fine. The boys were shook up and insisted on me changing their reservation for an earlier flight home instead of waiting for their scheduled flight on July 12. I didn't think that there would be more bombs. I was sure that by now the scum that did this were either dead, their favorite state of animation, or they were scurrying out of the country.

But more than this I also knew that the English would not let this stop their way of life and told my son over the phone that in one or two days the trains and buses would be running and they could go on with their sightseeing. But at the time he expressed anxiety and said he wanted to return home as soon as I could get them a new flight date. I agreed then seeing as how he was the one in the middle of the situation not me. Sure enough the next day when I informed him that they were coming home on the 9th of July my son said hesitatingly, that they would like to stay because the Londoners were taking back their city and going about their business. The transportation was also back on schedule except of course those stations that were hit.

Anyway I'm writing about all this to prove a point. Western life goes on and by that I mean our values will not be smashed by deranged nuts that insist that reality exists in some heaven and that the western way of life is evil because we care about the good life on earth.

What I would like to ask is did London reap what Madrid sowed? The Madrid bombs scared the Spanish into caving in to the terrorists demands that they withdraw their troops from Iraq. Did this cowardice prove to terrorists worldwide that if they could bring a once proud nation such as Spain to its knees then they may be able to do so to the mighty British? I think so. And for that I will never forgive the Spaniards their cowardice.

The sad thing is that while in Italy my son and his friend found out that most of the young were avowed communists and wanted their troops out of Iraq. But what can you say of a nation that would indict a person for writing and speaking about her uncompromising opinions about terrorists. I'm writing about Oriana Fallaci, the Italian author, journalist and political interviewer, who is one Italian that will not be cowed. So, there are some brave people everywhere who see the dire need to be strong and not give in to thugs.

As I see it, we now have Afganistan and Iraq under control if only somewhat. What about Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia? These are where these scum are getting their funding and acquiring their weapons and bases for training and hiding.

We do have precedent to look back to. Our new nation was in a similar if not identical situation where the Barbary States of the Ottoman Empire were busily engaged in a slave operation involving piracy and blackmail along the western coast of North Africa. Thomas Jefferson would have nothing to do with caving in to barbarians and sent the Navy instead (that's boats and guns not bread and butter for you peaceniks). Christopher Hitchens in a recent piece in Opinion Journal put it thus:

"Our third president was not in a position to enforce regime change in Algiers or Tripoli, but he was able to insist on regime behavior-modification (and thus to put an end to at least one slave system)."

Although we live in a dreadful politically correct era I'm inclined to like this one PC phrase. Regime behavior-modification is what we are trying to do in the middle east. If we don't there will be no end to bombings in the future. The regimes we must do lots of behavior modification on are: Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia. So let's pull up our chin, suck in our gut and get on with it.