Politics over Patriotism

May 24, 2004

Trevor Matich


Radical Islamist terrorists will strike on American soil again.  They will kill and maim our countrymen again.

The key word is "again." 

Undoubtedly they would prefer a spectacular event along the lines of 9/11, but there are a number of simple ways they could severely disrupt our way of life.  

(I won't detail them here.  The fact that these ideas haven't already been tried indicates that at least some of the bad guys have the creativity of a milk cow; let's not help the enemy more than some of our politicians already are.)

When it happens, be careful to focus on the big picture.  

And be careful to identify which politicians and journalists put partisan politics above patriotism in time of war.  (It is the method of dissent, not the presence of dissent, that is at issue.)

Some of those politicians and journalists will blame President Bush for so angering these otherwise-benign serial murderers that they were moved to attack us again.  They will detail all of Bush's sins and bumbles and mistakes, building to their wise and learned conclusion -- that Bush is responsible.

Those who forward such a theory will expose their true agenda.  Please pay attention when it happens.  And remember the word that they will not be using: "Again."

The attacks of 9/11 happened even though we didn't have troops on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan, even though we hadn't yet pantied the heads of prisoners with Victoria's Secret's finest.  (Actually, by the looks of it, make that Wal Mart's finest...)

As a matter of fact, when al Qaeda bombed the USS Cole, our embassies in Africa, our military barracks in Saudi Arabia, and the World Trade Center (in 1993), we responded with politically-correct, nicey-nice, super-soft kid gloves.  We flexed our mighty cotton balls (yes, that's what I meant: cotton balls) by arresting a few low-level operatives and lobbing a few cruise missiles at some empty tents in Afghanistan and an aspirin factory in Sudan.  Nice of us.  Non-threatening.  Sweet, actually.  Even...silky.

And yet, those ungrateful terrorists didn't appreciate our marshmallow diplomacy.  Instead, they went ahead and murdered 3,000 of us on that September morning, in an attack that was in the making for years.

So if their motivation for these and other attacks couldn't have been George W. Bush (unless they really, really hated the Texas Rangers), then what was it?  If we had gone so far as to pull all military forces out of the Middle East and abandon Israel as an ally, do you think they would have left us alone?

If you do, then I suggest you listen to the terrorists themselves.  Their stated desire is that all American military, business, and cultural influence be withdrawn within our own borders.  They hate us because in America women can be doctors.  They hate us because of Friends and ER and The Tonight Show.  

They hate us because educated people in their own countries want the freedom and opportunity of which America is the worldwide symbol.  They learn about American-style freedom from travelers, satellite TV, and the Internet; information about freedom threatens radicals' influence at home.  (Eisenhower declared that the way to defeat the Soviet threat in the long run was to spread hope for democracy among its people.  He was right.)

They hate us because our government doesn't force all infidels to bow to the radical Islamists' version of worship.  

That is why they hate us; they themselves make it clear.  That is why they bombed the Cole and the embassies and the barracks and the World Trade Center.  That is why they murdered 3,000 on 9/11.  And that is why they continue to recruit new members and plan new attacks.

They do not hate us more because of President Bush.  How much more can they hate than to slaughter 3,000 innocent men, women, and children on American soil -- an atrocity planned years before Bush was a blip on their radar?

We are at war.  We must be united against our enemy, just as we were united against Hitler and Tojo in the last century.  It would have been utterly absurd to have blamed Roosevelt for the Battle of the Bulge, saying that if we hadn't provoked Hitler with the D-Day invasion, he wouldn't have had to attack us after that.  

It would have been utterly absurd to have blamed Truman for American deaths at the hands of Japanese kamikazes, saying that we provoked them into using such measures.  

And it would be utterly absurd to blame George W. Bush for the actions of an enemy sworn to destroy our way of life.  Like Pearl Harbor, they attacked us.  Like the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, we are carrying the fight to the enemy.  Now as then, the enemy who started the fight is desperate to survive and win.  Now as then, we will not be safe until we achieve victory over fanatics.  

(Think Hitler in his bunker.  Most Germans wanted to end the war long before Hitler died; leaders such as General Rommel, commander of German forces at Normandy, saw the prudence in suing for peace immediately after the success of the D-Day invasion.  But a small group of fanatics continued the fight until they were literally expunged from the earth.  Only after their physical removal was peace and reason restored.)

While united in the cause of victory, as a democracy we must encourage debate over how best to fight and win, just as there was such debate in the last century.  

But in that debate there is no place for political opportunism.  When terrorists hit us in the future, some Americans (and at least one Canadian) will blame our current President for the actions of fanatical killers who have been mobilizing for at least a decade.  Don't buy it.  

But do note who does it.  Do ask yourself if they are putting politics above patriotism, and more importantly, why.  And do view their subsequent pronouncements through that prism.

We are at war, and there are foxes in the henhouse.  Be watching when they reveal themselves.





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