The Corner

7/7

Andy McCarthy, one year ago: 

Not only do the Brits display a curious legal and military deference to terrorists’ choice of barbaric tactics. They are also in the vanguard pushing toward legitimizing those tactics politically—even now toying with the idea of recognizing and negotiating with Ham as and Hezbollah. As our government nervously watches developments in the Middle East—where the Palestinian Authority is poised to invite Hamas into its governing coalition—atrocities like the ones in London today should remind us that the moral clarity of the Bush Doctrine (you are either with us, or with the terrorists) is dependent on a steadfast rejection of all who practice or promote the slaughter of innocent civilians to achieve political ends.

Further, the British revile our Guantanamo Bay detentions of captured enemy combatants, to the point of insisting, with success, that British prisoners (some of whom were among the worst terrorists held in Gitmo) be returned to England, where most were promptly released into the population.

And, when parliament enacted a tough antiterrorism law, the House of Lords threw out the provisions permitting national-security detentions. Why? The Law Lords one-sidedly ruled that detaining terrorists without trial violated European human-rights standards.

Of course, detaining enemy operatives until hostilities are over is not simply acceptable under the time-honored laws of war; it is common sense not to release militants so they can kill more of your soldiers and civilians. Too often, in Britain and throughout Europe, the humans whose rights are the subject of obsessive concern are the ones doing the killing rather than the ones doing the dying.

Amid the carnage today, Home Secretary Charles Clarke is talking about the people who carried out “these terrible criminal acts.” That’s an understandable reaction—and we shouldn’t quibble too much over a choice of words by people who have been stellar allies, who are in the middle of a rescue effort, and who are unsure the bombing has actually stopped. But it is worth repeating that what happened today is not mere crime.

This is war. It can’t sensibly be separated from Bali or Mombassa or Istanbul or Madrid or Baghdad or Virginia or lower Manhattan—or any of the other places where the enemy has attacked.

The only security—and an imperfect security it is—is to acknowledge that this is a war and fight it like a one. Prime Minister Blair has been a staunch ally after 9/11, but many in his country, and throughout Europe, have not grasped what we are up against.

More 7/7/05 coverage here .

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