This war has gone on for a very long time, and today, in all the reminiscences, and eulogies, and encomia, and lamentations, virtually no one has explained why, for the simple reason that essentially no one among the political and media elites knows why. Yet even the most dire estimates of exactly how long this is going to take have fallen wide of the mark. General Petraeus said in 2010 that it could take another ten years to defeat the Afghan “insurgency.” Do you think the Taliban is likely to be disbanded and Afghan a stable, functioning republic in 2020? In 2007, Britain’s security chief, Admiral Lord Alan West, said it could take 30 years to defeat terrorism in the United Kingdom. Do you think that in 2037, Britain will be peaceful and free of jihad terrorists?
The very idea is preposterous, and it is preposterous for the same reason that here we are 15 years after the September 11, 2001 jihad attacks, and no one know why this strange war has lasted so long. West said in that 2007 interview that to defeat terrorism, “I now realise that we are talking about a generation — and by that I would say 30 years. That doesn’t mean necessarily that we are going to stay at a severe level of threat for all those years. But to be able to say one has absolutely changed the mind-set and thought of people IS going to take a generation.” Yet in reality, nothing, nothing whatsoever, is being done in Britain or anywhere else to change “the mind-set and thought of people.”
And that is precisely why, fifteen years now after 9/11, the West is weaker and more vulnerable than ever: the entire Western intelligentsia, the totality of our political and media elites, steadfastly refuses to acknowledge exactly what the “mind-set and thought” of the terrorists really is, and where it comes from. And because of that refusal, policies that don’t deal with the actual problem keep being applied and re-applied, at the cost of thousands of American lives, billions of American dollars, and nothing to show for all this expenditure but a sharp and continuing loss of American power and prestige. The jihadis who struck the U.S. on September 11, 2001 have made such immense advances since then not because they are strong, or clever, or capable, but because we are weak, short-sighted, and resolute not in fighting them but in maintaining our denial about who they are and what they want, to the extent that we have taken numerous steps not to stop them, but actually to enable them to achieve their goals — the billions to the Islamic Republic of Iran and the massive Muslim migrant influx being just two of the most recent examples.
And today, instead of stories about the jihad threat and how it can be defeated or at least contained, the media is full of articles that would give an uninformed observer the impression that 3,000 Muslims were killed in the 9/11 attacks: the media preoccupation today is almost entirely with Muslims as victims. “Muslim Americans still struggle with hate crimes, 15 years after 9/11,” claims AOL. “For many Muslims, especially those born after Sept. 11, Islamophobia seems to be a fact of life,” laments the Huffington Post. The Washington Post has a piece by Rep. Keith Ellison: “I’m the first Muslim in Congress. I believe America can beat Islamophobia. Fifteen years after 9/11, American Muslims have seen both progress and peril.”
Coming after Fort Hood, and Boston, and Garland, and Chattanooga, and San Bernardino, and Orlando, as well as Paris, Brussels, Nice, and so very many others, this myopia is ludicrous to the point of being grotesque. And it is one key reason why this war drags on, fifteen years after 9/11: millions passively and unthinkingly accept the dogma that to speak honestly and accurately about the jihadis’ motives and goals is to descend in “racism” and “bigotry,” and to endanger innocent Muslims. And so fifteen years after 9/11, it is still almost unheard-of for there to be an honest discussion of jihadi motives and goals in the mainstream.
Fifteen years after 9/11, the free West is dug in: wholeheartedly committed to denial, willful ignorance, and policies that are self-defeating to the point of suicidal. In light of that, the wonder is not that this war has lasted so long, but that we have held out so long. Unless the political landscape changes considerably and this denial is decisively rejected and discarded, darker, much darker, days are coming.