(John Andrews in the Denver Post, Sept. 18) Why not victory? The question haunted me all day on Sept. 11, the fourth anniversary of Islamofascist military attacks against America’s seat of self-government, Washington, and our crown jewel of liberty, New York. We are a nation supposedly at war, yet the enemy is not identified, the definition of winning is vague, the national will is weak. The war itself is misnamed and undeclared. In my town, Centennial, which firmly supports President Bush and the Republican Congress, not one house in 20 flew the flag last Sunday in memory of the Sept. 11 heroes, or in token of the will to avenge them and secure our freedom by defeating the global jihadist enemy. At my church there was but passing mention of the World Trade Center atrocity, and no mention of the unfinished conflict it ignited.
That Saturday I was at two gatherings where the national anthem was sung, a statewide conservative conference and the Caulkins opera house opening gala. Little of the somber tone of wartime was felt at either of them. You can bet that on Friday, the day before, imams in countless mosques around the world – including many right here – were revisiting the glories of destruction on that fall day in 2001, and inciting the faithful to further bloodshed for Allah.
But the Twin Towers and Pentagon anniversary was largely crowded off weekend front pages by Katrina coverage in both the Post and the News. The Post did find room for a story headlined, “Muslims say fear lingers.” The Gulf Coast hurricane and the Islamist act of war were paired as twin “tragedies” in a Rocky headline on Sept. 12.
Look, storm devastation compounded with human failings is a tragedy -- but a sneak attack on our homeland by foreigners bent on killing us by the millions and subjugating America to Muslim theocracy is not. It is, or should have been, a fearsome warning to mobilize this mighty land militarily, diplomatically, economically, and spiritually for total self-defense and ferocious counterattack, never slackening until the enemy is crushed.
Tragedy, hell. This is war, and not just a war on “terror.” Certain Muslim groups and Muslim countries are out to break the U.S. and its free-world allies, dating from at least 1979 when they hit us in Tehran. Their side is bent on victory. Our side, up to this point, clearly is not.
Coping, managing the problem, at most swatting the enemy, seems to be the extent of our objective. While Bush has been far better than Clinton, cleaning the Taliban out of Afghanistan and removing Saddam, the latter-day Hitler, from Iraq, he hasn’t done nearly enough.
Since my lists in previous columns caused a gratifying stir with readers, here’s my “Why Not Victory?” list:
1. Address Congress and call this what it is, World War IV.
2. Send another 50,000 troops to Iraq.
3. Increase the defense budget by $200 billion.
4. Institute a draft for the armed forces.
5. Declare war on Syria.
6. Put Cheney over a task force to find Bin Laden, Zawahiri, and Zarqawi.
7. Name a Democrat, perhaps Lieberman or Bayh, as Homeland Security secretary.
8. Militarize the Mexican border.
9. Summon the leaders of Muslim nations to the woodshed in Washington.
10. Assemble democracy activists from Muslim nations at Independence Hall.
11. Intensify FBI surveillance of Islamofascist front groups in the U.S.
12. Break relations with the Palestinian Authority.
13. Speed up Saddam Hussein’s trial and urge his execution.
14. Indict Kofi Annan and notify the United Nations to relocate overseas.
15. Convene a Warsaw summit of the democracies toward replacing the UN.
Katrina was horrific, to be sure. But so were the 1918 flu epidemic and 1943 race riots, little remembered today. What then mattered most was winning the first and second world wars. What matters supremely today is winning this world war. America again stands in mortal peril. Statesmen, defined on this page last week by Paul Johnson as “selfless leaders… seeking the common good,” are greatly needed. Their stark challenge to all of us must be: Why not victory?