Commentary Magazine


A Threat in Paris

From the AP:

Police acting on a warning Tuesday found a bundle of dynamite inside a Paris department store at the height of the Christmas season, and a group demanding that France withdraw from Afghanistan claimed responsibility.

The group calling itself the “the Afghan Revolutionary Front” may have broken new ground and invented symbolic terrorism — as the dynamite was old and there was no risk of actual explosion. But they left behind a note warning of future attacks.

Critics of the war in Iraq liked to say the U.S. invasion strengthened the Islamists’ hand by raising terrorist recruitment among young Muslims worldwide. But it seems the winding down of that war is dovetailing with a rise in high-profile terrorism elsewhere, as evidenced by this story, the Mumbai horror, and a slew of arrests in Asia and Europe. There is something to the argument that you fight them over there so as not to fight them here. And there was always a dangerous laziness in scapegoating the Iraq War as the impetus for attacks. As long as that war raged, people could criticize its supposed blowback effect in lieu of taking other, more proactive, counterterrorism measures. That’s changing, and people will have to get serious and realistic about terrorism once again.