INTELLIGENCE GATHERING AND LAW ENFORCEMENT…. Back in 2004, then-President Bush told an audience, “[John] Kerry said, and I quote, ‘The war on terror is far less of a military operation and far more of an intelligence-gathering law-enforcement operation.’ I disagree…. After the chaos and carnage of September the 11th, it is not enough to serve our enemies with legal papers. With those attacks, the terrorists and supporters declared war on the United States of America — and war is what they got.”

The point was hardly subtle — Bush and Republicans battle terrorists with the most powerful military in the world; Democrats fight al Qaeda with cops and intelligence-agency bureaucrats.

The evidence of how wrong Bush was continues to be overwhelming. If we want to stop al Qaeda, intelligence gathering and law-enforcement operations are what works.

Pakistani police acting on a tip from U.S. intelligence agents arrested an al-Qaida suspect believed linked to the 2005 London transit bombings, two Pakistani security officials said Thursday.

Zabi ul Taifi, a Saudi national, was among seven al-Qaida suspects caught in a raid near the main northwest city of Peshawar, they told The Associated Press. They said the raid was witnessed by U.S. intelligence officials sitting in a nearby car. […]

“We have reasons to believe that we got the right man who had played a role in the 2005 attacks in London,” said one official, who said he received the information from security agents in Peshawar.

Hmm, U.S. intelligence cooperating with Pakistani police captured a dangerous terrorist suspect. Success, in other words, was dependent on international cooperation, law enforcement, and intelligence gathering. What a concept.

As Joe Klein noted, “One hopes that with less public melodrama, less Presidential bloodlust rhetoric, there will be more events like this arrest of a major Al Qaeda operative — and even though they’ll be reported in the back pages, the damage to the terrorist network will be extensive.”

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.