Liability and the Law



Since Sept. 11, 2001, coverage of the war against Islamist terrorism has mostly focused on the fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as attempts to prevent further catastrophic attacks like those that subsequently occurred in London and Madrid. But another front in the battle against this deadly virus can be found in American courtrooms.

As a special report in The Philadelphia Inquirer outlined this past week, the struggle to hold the funders of Al Qaeda accountable for their crimes has been exceedingly difficult. And the efforts of a Philadelphia law firm, Cozen O'Connor, to place the government of Saudi Arabia and several Islamist charities that it funded in the dock for 9/11 has also been an uphill battle. The obstacles have been compounded by the U.S. government, which, despite certain disdain for Saudi practices, has always sought close relations with the government there, for security reasons or otherwise.

While the outcome of the firm's lawsuits is by no means certain, the willingness of attorney Stephen Cozen and his associates to challenge the oil-rich kingdom is highly commendable. It is also an example of seeking the truth about the reliability of this so-called "moderate ally," a practice our government should emulate.


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