Five years after Pearl Harbor, the war was over. The Third Reich was kaput. The Japanese were vanquished as well.
But five years and counting after 9/11, there is no victory in sight. There is not even much clarity about why we are fighting, or whom we are fighting. Some of the most important victories in this shadowy twilight war have come in the form of arrests of those who were plotting attacks even more heinous than 9/11, but these arrests have an unfortunate side effect: they perpetuate the illusion that we are not seriously threatened, that there is nothing to be particularly concerned about — after all, they haven’t struck since 9/11. They probably can’t. They probably just got lucky on that day.
One main reason, meanwhile, why the war is so poorly understood and controversial: the enemy is not a nation-state but an ideology, an ideology which has been spread throughout the world and can now be found in practically every nation on the planet. Because of the religious derivation of this ideology, analysts are generally reluctant to identify it properly or fully. They don’t wish to examine how this ideology is advancing through peaceful means. They refuse to consider the ways in which it threatens American society, laws, and mores. And multiculturalism dins into all our ears that all value systems and belief systems are equal, and that only “bigots” oppose one or another, or dare to examine how one may be contain incitements to violence and supremacism.
That’s why after more than five years it still feels as if we have barely begun. Few in the Muslim world are willing, as he notes, to confront the deep roots that jihad violence has in the Islamic texts, and no one among the Western government or media elites is daring to ask them to do so. The myth persists that Americans can adjust the U.S. policy in a way that will end the global jihad — by leaving Iraq, or ending support for Israel, or by cleaning up American society, or what have you. No one in official Washington seems capable of realizing that the jihad would proceed against us no matter what we do or don’t do, because it springs from imperatives within Islam that are not dependent upon the character of the infidels who must be fought.
It is crucial now that we identify forthrightly what we are up against, so as to be able to fight against it more effectively. But I have said this for years, and we are no closer to doing it than we were the first time I said it. Yet the longer we postpone doing it, the more likely it is that the carnage of September 11 will be just a prelude.
May the courageous ones who fought to defend America, Britain, and Western Europe from the Axis scourge be blessed today. And may we prove to be their worthy sons and daughters.