Victor Davis Hanson writes about the fundamental immaturity of many in this war. We’re currently engaged in a struggle against a force that is no less evil, no less barbaric, and no less deserving of destruction than Nazism or the “Greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere” of imperial Japan that brought the rape of Nanking and the Bridge on the River Kwai. We’re fighting a group of savages who beheads Americans, murders civilians, and states quite clearly it’s their religious duty to kill everyone who will not submit to their twisted view of the will of Allah.
But the rhetoric coming out of this country is profoundly unserious. The Democrats are more interesting in attacking Bush than the enemy – terrorism for them is a convenient method of beating the real enemy – George W. Bush. Unfortunately, the same can be said of some Republicans as well.
The fact is, there’s a war on. Arguing that attacking the Islamofascists, whether they be in Iraq, Afghanistan, or wherever will somehow make things worse is like arguing that we shouldn’t attack Hitler or he might kill more Jews. These people are totalitarians, they don’t need an excuse to attack the United States. If right after Election Day President Kerry said that we were pulling out of the Middle East entirely, giving no support to Israel, and never bothering the region again, it would not end the attacks against us. If anything, they’d increase. It would be precisely the sign of weakness that would show the Islamofascists that the Great Satan could be destroyed utterly. As I have written countless times, the demands of the Islamofacists are contained in the very ideology that drives them – the world consists of Dar-al-Islam (The House of Submission) and Dar-al-Harb (The House of War). The goal of every Islamofascist is to slay all those who do not submit. Either submit to the will of Allah or perish. Neither negotiation nor compromise will satiate them, just as negotiation and compromise failed to end Hitler’s desire for power.
Only the complete and utter defeat of this ideology will prevent us from facing more September 11s every few years – or worse. The only way to do that is to ensure that this ideology is discredited completely. We cannot do that through impotent dictates from the toothless and corrupt United Nations.
Yet as VDH notes, this country is barely aware of the reality in which we live:
In a word, we have devolved into an infantile society in which our technological successes have wrongly suggested that we can alter the nature of man to our whims and pleasures â€” just like a child who expects instant gratification from his parents. In a culture where affluence and leisure are seen as birthrights, war, sacrifice, or even the mental fatigue about worrying over such things wear on us. So we construct, in a deductive and anti-empirical way, a play universe that better suits us.
In that regard, for the moment George Bush is a godsend. His drawl, Christianity, tough talk, ramrod straight strut â€” all that and more become the locus of our fears: French and Germans on the warpath? They must have been Bushwhacked, not angry that their subsidized utopia â€” from a short work week, looming pension catastrophe, and no national defense â€” is eroding.
Bombs going off in Manhattan or stuck in a tunnel while cops search every truck? Either way, Bush is the problem. Either he foolishly went into Iraq and let down our guard, or he is trying to scare us into believing that a nonexistent terrorist is under every bed. The television still blares about suicide bombers and repugnant thugs tormenting bound hostages? Surely Bush set them off. The proper response? Presto! Elect a less confrontational John Kerry, and thus cease a long, difficult war to defeat and to discredit all who would embrace such odious ideas.
Liberal civilizations often tire of eternal vigilance and in the midst of peacetime affluence work themselves into mass hysteria when challenged. Such is the picture we receive of the Athenian assembly around 340 B.C. when Demosthenes desperately warned that Philip was not a national liberator. Few thought Hannibal really would cross the Ebro. Churchill in the 1930s wasn’t listened to very much â€” after the Somme, who wanted lectures about deterrence? Ronald Reagan’s earlier prescience about the Soviet threat in the post-Vietnam era prompted Hollywood to turn out cheap TV movies warning of Reagan-inspired nuclear winters.
We too are reverting to our childhood and thus are in the same weird mood preferring fantasies and stories to reality. The Democrats know it. And so the unifying theme of their otherwise contradictory messages is that we can return to the infantile delusions of September 10, and not the crisis-filled adult world of post-September 11 that now confronts George W. Bush.
I would respect a Democrat who would acknowledge that we are at war, and that we must do what we need to in order to ensure that we win this war. Joe Lieberman understands this, as apparently does Joe Biden. If that means that we must foresake our false friends who embrace tyrannies rather than ending them, so be it.
In the end, we have a choice. Either we can admit to ourselves that we’re in a war, and that we have to win it, or we can go back to trying to pretend that the war doesn’t exist until an another September 11 awakes us from our slumber yet again. Given that the next attack could leave 3,000 caring for an entire city rather than other way around, we cannot afford that option.