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You cannot confront an enemy that you refuse to acknowledge. Retreating from the war against radical Islamist extremism is costly in that it inevitably emboldens our enemies. When pressed at a congressional committee hearing to answer who was behind the attack at Benghazi, Libya, after reports of al Qaeda being linked to the Libyan militia, then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton angrily exclaimed, “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

In light of Fort Hood, Times Square, Detroit, Benghazi and now Boston, it makes all the difference in the world.

Rep. Michael T. McCaul, Texas Republican, is the chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security.