Commandos grab another bad guy
It may slip the public's mind from time to time, but the war on terrorism is far from over.
The United States has demonstrated once again that it has a long memory when it comes to acts of terrorism and those who commit them.
Over the weekend, teams of U.S. Navy SEALs and Delta Force commandos carried out separate assaults in Somalia and Libya in an effort to capture Islamic extremists linked to murderous attacks, one that occurred during the Clinton administration and the other just a few weeks ago.
The effort to arrest Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai (alias Anas al-Libi) in Libya was a success. SEALs were unsuccessful in taking Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr into custody in Somalia.
Al-Libi is a longtime fugitive, wanted in connection with a series of bombing attacks in August 1998 on United States embassies. Hundreds of people were killed in simultaneous truck-bomb explosions in two East African cities.
The bombings foreshadowed later attacks by al-Qaida on the United States and helped bring the group's leader, Osama bin Laden, to public attention. He would, of course, become a household name after the 9/11 attacks, topping the most-wanted fugitives list until he was finally killed by the U.S. in Pakistan in May 2011.
Abu Zubeyr was sought in connection with the Sept. 21 siege on an upscale mall in Nairobi, Kenya, that left 67 people dead. Unfortunately, he still remains free along with members of his organization, Al-Shabab, to continue their deadly work with members of al-Qaida.
The two raids are a useful reminder of the continuing danger posed by members of these organizations.
Top U.S. officials repeatedly stated over the past year that al-Qaida is a spent force and no longer poses the kind of serious threat that it once did. Unfortunately, that is not true, as continued violence in Iraq, Afghanistan and other world hot spots demonstrates.
That's why the questioning of al-Libi is important. He is being held on the U.S.S. San Antonio in international waters, where he will be questioned by a special group of interrogators associated with the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group.
News reports were quick to raise the issue of how al-Libi was to be questioned, noting that he has not been informed of his Miranda rights to remain silent and not answer questions.
If he was charged with robbing a liquor store in an American city, that might be a valid concern. But al-Libi is much more than that. He is a high-ranking member of an organization that has declared war on the United States. It's important the U.S. interrogators find out what he knows and then act on that intelligence.
Given the Miranda restrictions, it's certainly appropriate that anything al-Libi say not be used against him when he is brought to trial in American courts. If past is prologue in these terrorists cases, American prosecutors will have plenty of other evidence to present to a jury if al-Libi goes to trial.