Enemies Among Us

Injured tube passengers are escorted away from Edgware Road Tube Station in London following an explosion, Thursday July 7, 2005. Near simultaneous explosions rocked at least five London subway stations and ripped apart a double-decker bus at the morning rush hour Thursday, police said, causing at least two deaths, reportedly injuring at least 95 people and sending bloodied victims fleeing from debris-strewn blast sites. AP

This column was written by CBS News Early Show Co-Anchor Harry Smith.
We should know by now that there still are significant numbers of people who hold us, our allies and our way of life in contempt. But prepare as we might and as intellectually girded as we might be, it still comes as shock that terrorists attack -- and attack successfully.

I was in London just a few weeks ago and when I first saw the pictures very early this morning I assumed that London's rickety subway system had malfunctioned. As a news person, I'm wired to expect the worst. Why didn't I think the worst? Somehow, even with the reality of 9/11, the reality of 191 dead in Madrid a year and half ago, the bombs in Bali, we're still not cognizant on a daily basis of the fact that our enemies are among us. We think, perhaps, that because al Queda is on the run. That because Osama bin Laden can no longer run terror camps that the reach of people who hate us is somehow limited.

Well today was proof that that assumption is just false. Al Queda was suspected in the days and months after Madrid and a year later investigators concluded that, in fact, the perpetrators of that heinous act were Moroccans performing very much independently.

Several terrorism experts I spoke with today said that what Madrid showed, and what also may true in London, is terrorists need not wait for orders from a cave in Afghanistan.

We're told we should carry on in as normal a fashion as possible. But, that presumes we're going to be safe. And that's exactly what the people in London thought this morning.



Harry's daily commentary can be heard on manyCBS Radio News affiliates across the country.
  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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