(John Andrews in the Denver Post, Aug. 7) What are the war aims of the United States in the global conflict that began on September 11, 2001? No one really knows. All Americans, including the President and Congress, have simply gone about the job of striking back at those who struck at us – without ever formally debating and deciding who the enemy is and what will constitute victory. No wonder the opinion elites quail upon hearing the battle for Iraq has now cost us 1800 dead, a fraction of the lives lost monthly to auto accidents. No wonder the legal utopians worry that a foreign jihadist in Guantanamo isn’t accorded the same criminal rights as an American jaywalker in Greeley.
No wonder the censors descend on Congressman Tom Tancredo when he dares to talk about our defensive options – defensive options! – if Denver were nuked by Islamist invaders. When America has yet to define her war aims, when many Americans don’t even agree we are at war, why wouldn’t we just slouch through our days in denial and, if given a disturbing message about reality, attack the messenger?
Mind your manners there, Congressman. Or better yet, go away, resign, join the border patrol. Who do you think you are, scaring everyone with this war talk, disturbing our happy little Disneyland of iPods and latte drinks? It’s as if you were delusional with your oath of office, your sacred pledge to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. (Translation: help America survive, help Americans avoid annihilation.)
So get over yourself, Tom. If the rest of our elected officials can shrug off Osama Bin Laden’s declared goal of vaporizing our cities with nuclear bombs, killing us by the millions, why can’t you? After all, Hitler’s Mein Kampf was just empty bluster too, as everybody in the in-crowd recognized back then – except a few cranks like Churchill.
But wait. Did someone say “sacred pledge?” I did, one paragraph ago, and that brings us to the nub of Tancredo’s controversial statement, the idea of the holy. His five words heard round the world – suggesting how we might counter-attack, remember, if our population was first decimated by an ultimate weapon never used since 1945 – were “take out their holy sites.”
Stop and think with me about this for a moment. Lost in all the politically correct backlash has been the fact that sites and symbols held by Americans in highest reverence (which is what “holy” means) have already been bombed or targeted by Islam’s holy warriors.
This means, in a secular free society such as ours, not temples of worship but shrines of liberty. But they are, or should be, no less holy to you and me for that reason. To the extent we do not regard them so, our cultural soul is sick and our national survival is unlikely – just what the Islamists are counting on. Let’s review those sites:
The White House or the Capitol, symbols of American self-government, were the target for Flight 93 in the coordinated air attacks of Sept. 11. The Pentagon, symbol of our willingness to fight for this way of life, was bloodied that day. The World Trade Center, symbol of expanding affluence through free markets in an open world, was entirely “taken out,” to use Tancredo’s phrase. All for Allah’s glory, by Muslim fighters eagerly embracing what they believed was a holy death.
Why England Slept, John F. Kennedy’s book about the apathy of Churchill’s countrymen toward the German fascists, should be an alarm bell for both Britons and Americans today. Opinion elites over there, even after the recent London attacks by Islamic fascists, still resist using “Islam” and “terrorism” in the same sentence.
Opinion elites over here, even this long after the 2001 WTC bombing (longer than the time from Pearl Harbor to VJ-Day, in fact) still advocate a sleepwalking approach to America’s deadly serious struggle for free-world survival.
So naturally, when someone like Tancredo sounds a wakeup call, he must be silenced. Unthinkable, they say – not the nuking of our homeland and holy sites, you understand, but the counter-attack on theirs. Wow. I tremble, as Jefferson said in another context, for my country.