We have been incredibly fortunate that there has not been a major terrorist attack in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001. But yesterday's horrific news from London is a reminder that to make the nation safer, the Bush administration and Congress need to do more than raising the terror alert.
Several important steps should be taken right away. But influential industries and members of Congress have blocked these common-sense solutions, putting their narrow interests ahead of the national interest. They have been helped by a growing sense of complacency, fueled by the idea that the absence of attacks means the threat is gone. If the Madrid train attack last year did not change that thinking, yesterday's events certainly should.
They then go on to give specific examples of commonsense anti-terror steps that Republicans are actively blocking (prioritizing funds for high-risk locations, improving security for mass transit and chemical plants, restricting travel routes of hazardous chemicals). As I have said before, Democrats cannot yell loudly enough about this: Republicans posture and talk tough on terror, but they put corporate and regional interests ahead of the safety of American citizens. The supposedly spineless and wimpy Democrats are the ones trying to pass concrete measures to actually make us safer.
Really, how hard could this be? We'll see if the dynamic changes now that people who look like us and even speak the same language have been killed in the heart of their capitol, but my suspicion is that the Republican prescription will be... more posturing and tough talk. Maybe larger flag pins.