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FRIDAY, AUGUST 11, 2006
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EDITORIAL

British uncover plot in real terrorism war

The nation awakened Thursday morning to the harsh realization that we are not fighting the real war against terrorism in Iraq.

Scotland Yard, London's metropolitan police force, was in the middle of rounding up suspects in what could have been the second worst terrorist act against the United States.

Scotland Yard said the suspects plotted to smuggle liquid explosives aboard airliners in carry-on bags headed for the United States from Great Britain. U.S. officials identified the targets as United, American and Continental airlines.

The plot was to blow up as many as 10 passenger-laden airliners while they were in simultaneous flight.

Uncovering the plot wasn't an incident of the blind hog finding an occasional acorn. Thwarting disaster was the result of fighting the other war on terrorism. Counter- intelligence agents patiently gleaned information in what the British called "a lengthy investigation" into a wide-ranging group of people.

U.S. officials said the plot had the earmarks of an al-Qaida plot as the nation approaches the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 plane hijackings and the tragedies in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. Thus, al-Qaida has to be a prime suspect.

But the war in Iraq has energized so many dissident groups that others may also be involved.

It's highly unlikely that all of the fighting in Iraq has uncovered or prevented one terrorist plot against the United States. Yet that war consumes most of the nation's money and attention in the fight against terrorism, suggesting that our emphasis is in the wrong place.

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