There is lots of news in the battle against transnational terrorism—a lot of it not good. AP wire stories highlight one of the conclusions in the recently released State Department annual report on the state of terrorism in the world. According to the news service, al Qaeda “has rebuilt some of its pre-Sept. 11 capabilities from remote hiding places in Pakistan, leading to a spike in attacks last year in that country and neighboring Afghanistan.” Meanwhile, a Los Angles Times headline highlights that April was bad month in Iraq with U.S. deaths at a seven month high. On the home front, The Hill reports that “If Congress does not approve an overhaul of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by Memorial Day, intelligence community officials will have to prepare dozens of individual surveillance warrants, a cumbersome alternative to the broader wiretapping authority granted by the Protect America Act, say congressional officials familiar with the issue.”
What Americans should make of all this news is that these are grim reminders that there is a long war to be won. That war cannot be won by denying there is a war—doing nothing—or trying to pick only politically expedient fights to fight. Heritage security analysts James Carafano and Lisa Curtis recently pointed out “the single most important issue–recognizing that the fights in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan are inextricably linked, in much the same way as the campaigns in France, the Mediterranean, and the Russian Front were integral to defeating Nazi Germany during World War II.” Winning on all three fronts is vital to rooting out al Qaeda. Remember, during World War II, even as allied forces converged on Germany and bombed it from the air, Nazi production of war materials actually increased. Likewise, until the al Qaeda is rooted out it will continue to send forth people and ideas with one murderous thought—kill innocents and conquer. In Petraeus Hearing Should Focus on Three Fronts, One Long War Carafano and Curits offer a prescription for victory.
Meanwhile on the home front, the U.S. cannot remain complacent even though al Qaeda has not successfully attacked our shores since 9/11. In FISA Modernization Is Not About Warrantless Wiretapping, Heritage legal analyst Andrew Grossman made the case that the reforms instituted by Congress to help track terrorists were perfectly legitimate. Yet, Congress let these authorities lapse and has made no serious effort to renew them. Congress has to renew the FISA authorities now—before al Qaeda figures out how to strike the U.S. again.