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Right Turn
Posted at 08:00 PM ET, 07/23/2011

Evil in Norway.

Undiluted evil. The dark side of humanity. Whatever you call it, that is what wreaked havoc in Norway. The Post reports:

Police were searching a remote farm that was the most recent home of the man suspected of twin attacks on Norway that killed at least 94 people, Norwegian police said Saturday.
They charged a 32-year-old Norwegian man with planting explosives in central Oslo on Friday and a shooting spree on an isolated island hours later, in what added up to the largest attack on Norway since World War II. The death toll rose dramatically overnight and appeared likely to continue to rise, as authorities searched for victims on the island northwest of Oslo.

Early suspicion that the attacks might have been linked to a jihadist bombing plot in Oslo last year or the recent Norwegian prosecution of an Iraqi terrorist did not bear up. Right Turn specifically quoted Thomas Joscelyn of the Weekly Standard for the proposition that we “ [didn]’t know [emphasis added]” at the time if al-Qaeda was responsible, although there was plenty of concern in Norway about jihadist terror plots that have increased in Scandinavia. As Joscelyn did, at the time I believed the best working theory, given Norway’s recent experiences, was that it was jihadist-related. It nevertheless is a good reminder to all of us including myself that early reports are often wrong. (Indeed, late today there were new questions as to whether the suspect acted alone.)

As to the horror in Norway, once again we are reminded how vulnerable free and open societies are. We are reminded that the best security system is not airtight. And, we are reminded that the first obligation of government is to protect its citizenry.

That the suspect here is a blond Norwegian does not support the proposition that we can rest easy with regard to the panoply of threats we face or that homeland security, intelligence and traditional military can be pruned back. To the contrary, the world remains very dangerous because very bad people will do horrendous things. There are many more jihadists than blond Norwegians out to kill Americans, and we should keep our eye on the systemic and far more potent threats that stem from an ideological war with the West.

In our own debates about national security, conservatives argue that national security spending is deserving of a higher priority than other expenditures. The defense budget is not numbers on a balance sheet as some of those on the left and right insist. Cutting defense spending is not the same as cutting domestic spending. That light rail project can wait, or states can do it, or we can decide it’s a boondoggle not worth doing even if we had the money. But national security is solely a federal function, and it can’t be put off.

There are lone-wolf domestic terrorists, and there are organized jihadists. Bombs go off near our embassies. There is no shortage of threats. There is no shortage of evil. Democratic governments have many demands on tax dollars, but none is more important than defending the lives and security of our citizenry.

By  |  08:00 PM ET, 07/23/2011

Categories:  National Security

 
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