Originally created 03/31/04

A battle for freedom

They're not random. They're not without great planning and thought. And terror isn't their only motivation.

The repeated suicide attacks and bombings by Islamists over the years are not just sheer madness. There's a method to them.

They want to drive out Westerners. They want to eliminate infidels. They want no foreign feet on their holy land. They want Jews and Israel gone. And they want to create a pure and strict Islamic world.

One without religious, political or cultural freedom.

And lately, their strategy has been as transparent as a paneless window: to frighten voters on the eve of elections - to upset freedom's apple cart, as it were.

Sadly, it worked in Spain, where spineless voters reacted to the March 11 Madrid bombing by ousting the government that was fighting terror.

Perhaps emboldened by their ability to pull Spaniards' strings, al-Qaida-linked terrorists were planning to mount a Madrid-style attack in Manila - in advance of a pivotal election in May.

Authorities arrested four Muslim extremists allegedly planning TNT attacks on trains and shopping malls in the Philippine capital.

Another terrorist attack seems to have been averted in London, where police arrested eight men and confiscated a half-ton of explosive fertilizer.

Though Britain is a prime target for its support of the United States in the war on terror, it's clear the terrorists have fallen in love with the idea of influencing elections in free countries.

What hath the Spanish voter wrought?

And what might this mean for the American voter - who is staring at an eight-month window of opportunity for terrorists who have a notion of playing a part in the November presidential election here?

Clearly, our government will have its hands full in the coming months trying to prevent terrorist activity, as officials in Manila and London have done this week.

Meanwhile, let no one be fooled by the shrill rhetoric of the Islamists or of the American left: The threat of terrorism has not been exaggerated in the least; and the methods of the terrorists leave no doubt that this is not just a war against the West.

This is a battle for freedom itself.

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