Friday, August 18, 2006

The Friday Furo Questus

Well, here I am, back for another week...

Um, well, yeah, I missed last week. But I'm back now!

Questus Furore - Declining to Engage

What a difference a week makes.

Last week's revelation of a plot to blow up trans-Atlantic airliners hammered home one key fact: While we may have grown bored or tired of terrorism, terrorists are still quite interested in us.

We are now four years and a little over eleven months after September 11, 2001. The threat remains, though blunted. The threat of terror will likely in some form always be with us - but it does not have to remain the danger it is now.

What is needed now is a recommitment of the national will - and a drive by our political leaders to see to it that the war on terror continues to be taken to the enemy, up to and including the larger use of force on the international scale if necessary. The trouble is, that will is flagging.

The Republicans are hurting because of an inability to define the problem, the problem being that we have bands of men, some independent actors and some supported by various totalitarian powers, who are fired up to go kill anyone who stands in the way of a glorious Caliphate. Stymied by this seemingly simple problem, they have gone on to politics as usual, spending like drunken sailors.

What is worse is that they have no incentive to focus. The Republicans may not have much focus on this issue, but the Democrats are pretending it doesn't exist. The anti-war special interest groups have gone after those Dems who feel getting rid of Saddam was a good idea, as Senator Lieberman found out. The days of hawkish Democrats are over. And this is a loss for all of us - for that means we are unable to to agree on that most fundamental of questions, the question of whether the United States is at danger from attack from without. That such a large proportion of Americans can ignore the threat posed by Islamic radicals so soon after 9/11 boggles my mind.

The only plan the Democrats currently have is to pull out of Iraq and... that's it. All the Republicans have to do is point at the Dems and say, "Well, we have more of a plan than they do," and win on the national security issue - because they would be right.

In the 1960s, letting the peaceniks win the day and make us pull out of Vietnam (and condemning millions to die in concentration re-education camps) posed little immediate physical threat to the United States, because there was little chance of Viet Cong infiltrating into the United States and hijacking planes.

This isn't the 1960s. We are up against a new enemy, that does not play by our rules, that does not share our regard for life, that does not flinch at sacrificing thousands or millions of their own children in service of their cause. Treating them as legitimate combatants grants them an honor they do not deserve. Treating them as criminals explains away their murders as products of social deviancy.

They are barbarians, and they have crossed the frontier. They have come to sack and burn our cities. Will we rally ourselves to our own defense, or will some cities fall before we awaken from our stupor?

The current state of affairs does not encourage me.

Recommended Reading
VDH, "The Brink of Madness," "Surreal Rules," and "Hope Amid Despair?"

Jonah Goldberg, "The Swastika and the Scimitar."

John O'Sullivan, "Invincibility Myth No More."

Mona CHaren, "How Do You Fight Someone Who Isn't Afraid to Die?"

Good luck sleeping after reading this piece, "August 22," by Bernard Lewis.

Why, yes, I don't much like Salt Lake Mayor Rocky Anderson. How did you know?

Thought of the Week
"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."
Marcus Aurelius

Churchill Quote of the Week
"Britain and France had to choose between war and dishonour. They chose dishonour. They will have war."
Sir Winston Churchill, to Neville Chamberlain in the House of Commons, after the Munich accords (1938)


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