Last week every Republican Senator voted against a Democratic amendment earmarking $1 billion for mass-transit security—surveillance cameras, bomb-detection equipment, dogs, and the like. The vote came during a week in which we spent $1 billion on a war that Republican senator Chuck Hagel says we are losing. Billions for Iraq, not one penny for subways the week after the London subway bombings.
If we stay in Iraq until 2010 or 2012, as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has warned we might, Bush's folly could consume a trillion dollars. That money not only could pay for safer subways and other homeland defenses but finance a novel strategy in the "war on terror"—addressing the root causes of terrorism.
The Bush strategy is to kill them there before they can attack us here. But the "them" fighting us "there" are nationalist insurgents using Sunni suicide bombers from Saudi Arabia and Jordan—U.S. allies—to bring down Iraq's predominantly Shiite government. Our being there created "them." To be safe from them, all we have to do is leave Iraq.
The "them" we have to worry about here are ideas and their human vessels—young Muslim men alienated from their host or natal Western societies, men like Mohammed Atta, the son of an Egyptian doctor who led the September 11 hijackers, and men like the cricket-playing bombers from Leeds. "What we are confronting ... is an evil ideology," Tony Blair said of the poison in the minds of the suicide bombers. "It is not a clash of civilizations—all civilized people, Muslim or other, feel revulsion at it. But it is a global struggle and it is a battle of ideas, hearts and minds, both within Islam and outside it."