“It is a war,” one Cabinet minister said to me. “People didn’t believe that till last Thursday. But they do now.” We face three, inextricably linked threats: from Islamist fanatics, from the rogue states that harbor them, and from the deadly weapons which they seek to acquire.
Ironically, it has taken a local event to remind us of the global nature of this conflict, its pervasiveness, and our consequent inability to escape its consequences simply by blaming this or that head of government. Does anyone seriously believe that 52 more Londoners would be alive today if Gordon Brown were prime minister, and John Kerry were president?
On Monday, Mr. Blair warned: “Just using the normal processes of law will not be enough,” thus opening the necessary debate on the proper balance between security and liberty. That debate will now be carried out in the proper context. This is not about party politics, Mr. Blair’s future, or the Iraq war. It is about what a civilized society does to confront those who will do anything to themselves, and to others, in the name of a murderous mission that knows no limit.