Fifteen years ago, the American people and the whole world became aware of the fact that violent jihadists were are war with us and with it. The war had been going on a for a while but we were not really paying attention. Before I go any further, let me acknowledge the fact that most victims of jihadism have been Muslims. It’s a hallmark of totalitarianism that it hurts first those closest to its center and brothers perceived as traitorous. (Remember Stalin?)
After fifteen years of war, we are not winning. Although the US proper has been comparatively safe, the enemies of civilization are causing destruction and suffering on a scale that would have been unimaginable on September 12th 2001. Here, in the United States, our lives have been changed forever. We have become security conscious and, I think, cowardly. That’s what bullying does to you: If you don’t smash the bully he makes you feel nervous all the time. It’s also arguable whether this society ever recovered economically from the massive blow.
It’s as if we had the luxury to feel tired of this war already. But some wars last a hundred years or more. There is no reason to expect a quick end to the war against terrorist islamism. The failed Muslim societies provide an endless supply of potential terrorist who would rather die in a burst of glory fire than live mediocre, meaningless lives. And you would have to be a fool to deny that they find sturdy inspiration in what they think is their sacred tradition, given by a leader who was a sucessful war chieftain and an occasional terrorist. (Ask me.) Incidentally, I don’t know what’s the real Islam, who is a real Muslim and who isn’t. Unlike Pres. Obama and Sec. Kerry, I am not a theologian. I am not even sure the question has any meaning.
Moral ambiguity and intellectual confusion don’t help in the struggle. There are still Americans who are making excuses for the mass murder of 9/11. I meet them on the Internet frequently. Many are leftists; a surprising number present themselves as libertarians. Many Americans also don’t understand and pretend to not understand that when an entity kills your people and promises loudly to kill more, when the same entity expresses clearly its loathing for what you love (democratic elections, separation of church and state) then, you are at war. It does not matter whether anyone “declares war.” A state a war existed between Japan and the US one hour after the attack on Pearl Harbor – which killed fewer Americans than 9/11 – with or without words to that effect.
Plain ignorance feeds intellectual confusion. Americans who are thirty now were fifteen in 2001. Those who are 25 were ten. It’s not obvious how many know that the US invaded Afghanistan to remove the Taliban government there that had sheltered Bin Laden, the self-proclaimed organizer of the mass murder of 9/11. I think even fewer know that the US gave the Taliban the option to turn over Bin Laden for trial. Fourteen years later, under a confused, simple-minded, vaguely anti-American American president, we are about to abandon Afghanistan, with a serious likelihood that the same Taliban will return to power there. Those are the same Taliban who used to shoot “adulterous” women on soccer fields during intermission. We ought to be proud of ourselves!
But we can’t be the policeman of the world, says our spineless Left, accompanied by most libertarians. But the US was, for many years. It did a good job of it. It kept the massive barbary of communism at bay and, in the end, beat it down. When the US ceases to be the policeman of the world, as they say, more reasonable, purer hearted people, like the Dutch, or, my favorites, the Finns, don’t step in. Instead people are burned alive and drowned in cages, and little girls are sold into sex slavery. It’s hard not to think of ourselves as pathetic, when you think about it, is it?