Monday, April 30, 2007

An Existential Threat to Civilization

Over the last few years I have often marvelled at how hard it is for the Left and Right to discuss the "Global War On Terror." Indeed, the Left has even chosen to abandon that term, even attempt to legislate against its use. The Left has argued that the term is misleading and that we should refer to specific local conflicts. That is, they do not believe that the conflicts are sufficiently related to justify the rubric. They also wish to be able to separate the conflict with Islamists in Iraq from those in so frighteningly many countries. In doing so, they enable themselves with the help of the mainstream media to bludgeon the Bush administration with Iraq, and still pursue Islamists militarily elsewhere (if a compelling need were to arise). Lastly, expunging the global war concept means we really don't have an ideological enemy which requires a firm collective response, rather we have a scattered ragtag nutcases which are more of an annoyance than a threat. History shows us that this was the Clinton Administration's attitude, and perhaps, most of our attitudes during the 1990's. 9/11/2001 changed that for some of us.

Many thinkers on the Right do not like the term "Global War on Terror" for wholly different reasons. For the Right, "terror" is simple a common unscrupulous tactic employed by our Enemy. In reality, the enemy are militant Islamists who wish to unify the moslem world through intimidation and thuggery. Videotaped beheadings of innocents are not the enemy, the enemy are those doing it. They are Islamists. A desire to avoid offending moslem people has caused even the Right to use such a poorly descriptive term as "Global War on Terror." In short the term is too Politically Correct.

There is a fundamental divide, a cognitive watershed, which separates the two camps on national security policy. The divide comes with the answer to the question:Do you think that militant Islamists are an existential threat to the United States of America, to Western Civilization as we know it? Which may be underscored with the question: have you even asked yourself the question?

The Left thinks America and the West do not face real danger from the Islamists; that, of course, America will survive this unpleasant problem. They believe that the problem is fundamentally one of public relations. That we have angered many in the Islamic world with oppressive business tactics and some are so angry as to become violent. For these violent few we need basically police and security forces where necessary. Thus we have Nancy Pelosi going to Siria to make ammends for our offenses. The answer lies in changing ourselves afterwhich the masked nutcases will settle down.

The Right accepts that American and Western civilization, the societies of individual freedom, now face another in a long line of dangerous and potentially lethal opponents. We see numerous uncomfortable parallels in world politics between 2007 and 1938. We see a ruthless intolerant ideological movement, based on religious principles which seeks world dominion by any means necessary. We see an ideological enemy which has declared total war on our way of life. We see an ever more pervasive more dangerous enemy who has educated a generation on how to kill us and taught them little else.

If our civilization is in mortal danger, then the war in Iraq is a pivot point to change the course of history for the better. If our children are facing peril, then Nancy Pelosi's trip to Siria is treason. If the problem is our behavior then we should do as the democrats recommend. I think we are in peril; I see it coming.

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