07/06/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Forget the Terrorists: Fear Is Our Real Enemy

So they want to attack us - big deal.

The attempted bombing of Times Square - and the arrest of the alleged bomber, Faisal Shahzad, as his plane was readying to take off from JFK - is another example that the United States is still a target for various strains of terrorism.

But what should we do about it?

John McCain is arguing that Shahzad should not receive his Miranda rights (although he is a United States citizen). And Joe Lieberman, in the bizarro comment of the week, thinks that we should strip citizenship away from terror suspects. I would suspect that Dick and Liz Cheney would just water board Shahzad until he actually drowns.

Perhaps we should just trash our Constitution and, Roman Republic-style, appoint a dictator until we can do away with all terrorism risk?

Let's get serious. Terrorism is meant to terrorize - to provoke fear. Since the vicious attacks on 9/11, we have been on a global campaign against terrorists. Good. Let's kill them in the field or catch them, try them, and if guilty, execute them.

But let's not give them what they want: our fear.

Let's not trade our God-given civil rights for a theoretical state of "security".

For decades, both Spain and the United Kingdom have lived with domestic terrorism. Bloody and brutal, the perpetrators sought to inflict as much human carnage as possible - to spread fear like a virus.

While the IRA in the U.K. and ETA in Spain shot, stabbed and blew up innocents, the British and the Spaniards did not cower in fear - or shred their civil liberties in the name of fighting terrorism.

Moreover, both peoples have demonstrated a tremendous resiliency in the face of their own Al-Qaeda inspired terror bombings in London and Madrid.

Yes the deaths of innocents was shocking. Of course it created momentary panic. But quickly both countries got on with it - they did not fall for the trap of fear, they did not hide or run. They went back to their lives in spite of the terrorist threat.

The United States can never be defeated by Al-Qaeda and its spawn unless we the people surrender to fear.

Said in another time and different context, Franklin Delano Roosevelt's exhortation that "we have nothing to fear but fear itself" holds true today, more than ever, in our fight against terrorism.