Sep 26

a till ö Ugglan

We cannot identify every one of these prospective terrorists no matter how well we do. However, people in law enforcement agencies across the United States will tell you that the best intelligence about potential terrorists comes from their communities, which often means in these times, Muslim communities. So we need eyes on the ground, friendly relations with imams and other leaders, and outreach to all parts of the communities. We might take a cue here from Europe. Historically, assimilation has worked better in America, but as I wrote recently, European countries are dealing with a much more complex, larger problem.

The lesson from Europe seems to be: Embrace Muslim communities. This may sound too soft, but it is a proven method. In fact, just a few weeks ago, a Canadian plot to attack trains was thwarted with just this sort of intelligence provided by the local Muslim community.The war on terror began as a grand enterprise involving major war. It seems to have evolved into police work. That is a measure of progress.And one final point – just some facts. The National Counterterrorism Center released its annual report last June. It showed that attacks worldwide had dropped by 12 percent from 2010 and were down 29 percent from 2007.

The Global Terrorism Index, also released last year, systematically ranks countries by levels of terrorist incidents. Over the ten year period it analyzed, 2002-2011, the region least likely to suffer from a terrorist attack was North America. The fact is that the most comprehensive studies show that terrorism was declining in the United States even in 2001 and it dropped even more sharply after 9/11. The historian John Mueller has pointed out that more Americans die in their bathtubs every year than are killed by terrorists.The emotions generated by terrorist attacks are raw and intense. But it is essential moving forward that we are still able to have a rational discussion, grounded in facts, if we are to have any chance of keeping the country safe in the future.