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A Publication of WTVP

As the television scenes from the London bombings rolled across the screen July 7, I believe it served as a terrible reminder that we must continue our vigilance in fighting terrorists around the globe. As Americans, we share a special bond with the British—probably more so than any other country—and the stoicism shown by the English citizens after the bombings was nothing short of extraordinary. We’re brothers-in-arms with the British in this War on Terrorism, and we certainly mourn the victims of this latest act of violence.

A week after the London bombings, a very interesting poll was highlighted by the national media—a poll that was actually taken before the London tragedy. This poll showed support for terrorist acts of violence—and support for Osama bin Laden—was dramatically eroding in countries with predominantly Muslim populations. In North Africa, the Middle East, and Asian countries, surveyors from the Pew Global Attitudes Project were told that citizens share concerns found in Western countries about Islamic extremism. In countries such as Indonesia and Turkey, which have experienced terrorist attacks on their soil, support for bin Laden and terrorist attacks have eroded significantly over the past couple years.

The poll also illustrated that the idea of democratic governments has strong support in these nations, underscoring that this form of government isn’t just a Western ideology. Majorities of people polled in Muslim countries expressed support for democracy and believe democratic governments can thrive in their nations. In countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Indonesia, support of democrat governments approached 80 percent approval. These numbers show a profound change in attitudes in recent years.

The September 11 attacks brought the reality to Americans that terrorists are targeting the U.S., and targeting us on our own soil. Before then, the focus of international efforts by our nation wasn’t focused on eradicating terrorism. Since then, however, President Bush has led the efforts to combat those who wish to kill innocent citizens in the name of terror.

As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I know we still have terrorists in this country who wish to harm us, but all levels of government—from federal to local—have worked cooperatively over the past four years to make our homeland more secure. I also realize there are still people in this world who wish to attack America again. Do I think a terrorist attack will happen again in the U.S.? Yes, I do. But thousands of people are working 24 hours a day to make sure it doesn’t happen, and as of this writing, no terrorist attacks have happened on U.S. soil since 9/11. In the days and weeks following 9/11, there was a unanimous feeling in our country that we’d see a continued wave of violence. Those days have now turned into years, and we all pray we’ll never be attacked again.

In the wake of the London bombings, we should be reminded that we must continue to be vigilant against terrorism. At the cruel heart of terrorism is the idea that it can happen anytime and anywhere, without warning and without regard for innocent lives. Because of this reality, all citizens must continue to be steadfast in their resolve in fighting terrorists. A citizen’s seemingly insignificant tip to authorities might lead to dismantling an attack or breaking up a terrorist cell.

We’ve had many high-profile successes in the War on Terror—arrests of cells here at home, foiled bombing attempts overseas, bringing democracy to Afghanistan and Iraq—but there are also successes that will never be known by the public. These successes are underscored by the results of the Pew poll. People around the world want democracy. People around the world want security. And people won’t follow despots such as bin Laden. IBI

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