What have we learned in the 10 years since Islamic terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon? Several lessons spring to mind:
1. There is nothing President George W. Bush could have done to prevent terrorist acts in his first eight months in office, of which his post-9/11 critics would have approved. Even after 9/11, liberals have loudly disapproved of profiling at airports, surreptitiously monitoring terrorist communications, and fighting al-Qaeda militarily abroad. Imagine how they would have reacted if Bush had attempted any of these strategies pre-9/11.
2. Poverty does not cause terrorism; it is both unnecessary and insufficient to the task. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to blow up Northwest Flight 253, was the son of a wealthy Nigerian banker. American Taliban John Walker Lindh went to high school at a “California Distinguished School” in SoCal. In contrast, poor people the world over—rice farmers in China, untouchables in India—do not rise up en masse to wreak havoc in suicide bombings. Modern-day terrorism is caused by individuals’ adherence to an ideology that encourages terrorist acts against innocent civilians—an ideology that usually happens to be Islamist. Not all Muslims are terrorists, but almost all modern-day terrorists are Muslims.
3. Liberals have amassed a formidable glossary of imprecations they invoke whenever commentators scrutinize the radical nature of Islam: alienating Muslims, being at war with Islam, being Islamophobic, demonizing the other, engaging in inflammatory rhetoric, hijacking a peaceful religion, singling out people because of their religion. None of these terms is objective enough to mean anything.
4. The criticism that the U.S. shouldn’t be vocal in our support of Israel is specious. In supporting Israel, our anti-terror stance gains consistency and moral credence to reformists in hostile regimes who are potentially open to our ideas. Israel is also the U.S.’s front line in the war on terror, and, if supported, may have the guts to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities if we don’t get around to doing it.
5. Announcing that we are at war with Islam does not constitute recruitment propaganda for the enemy. Minnesota’s Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the U.S. House, declared, “I don’t want [al-Qaeda] to be able to stand up and claim… ‘America is at war with Islam.’ That’s one of their main recruiting arguments.” Actually, one of al-Qaeda’s main recruiting arguments is, “The infidel is wicked, and his weakness and inability to stand up to us prove that our cause is just.” An argument that would hurt recruiting would be, “America is at war with Islam, and you are going to get blown to smithereens if you fight for us.”
6. Waterboarding isn’t torture—it’s a resistance training technique routinely carried out on U.S. special operations forces, and leaves no permanent physical or psychological damage. Waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques have been spectacularly successful in uncovering imminent terrorist plots and killing 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden.
7. Troop surges are a winning strategy, as demonstrated in Iraq, Afghanistan, and even Libya. As John McCain noted in his support for the second Afghanistan surge, half-measures in war “lead to failure over time and an erosion of American public support.” We should never again fail to send an adequate number of troops to get the job done, as soon as they are needed.
8. Bush had to withhold from the public reams of documents about chilling terrorist threats we faced; when newly sworn-in President Obama was briefed on this intelligence, he suddenly did an about-face on almost every campaign promise he had made to reverse his predecessor’s policies. In just his first 100 days in office, Obama implemented a surge in Afghanistan (followed by a larger surge later that year), asked Congress for $83 billion more for Iraq and Afghanistan without funding benchmarks, stepped up Predator drone attacks in Afghanistan, supported renewal of the Patriot Act, invoked the state secrets doctrine, reversed his opposition to rendition, rejected Democrats’ call for a Truth Commission, filed a brief claiming the U.S. can indefinitely hold anyone who supports Al-Qaeda or the Taliban, supported denial of habeas corpus to Bagram prisoners, revived military tribunals at Gitmo, opposed release of Abu Ghraib photos, and failed to do anything to close Gitmo. It seems as though Commander-in-Chief Bush knew better than Alinskyite community organizer Obama did after all.
9. War is less expensive than Democrats’ wasteful domestic social programs. Eight years of the Iraq War—including training and preparation for the 2003 invasion—cost less ($709 billion) than Obama’s useless stimulus bill ($787 billion). U.S. involvement in the Libyan conflict cost the same ($1 billion) as the first 48 hours of Obama’s failed Cash-for-Clunkers program. Defense spending constitutes 20% of the federal budget, and foreign aid just 1%, whereas entitlement spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid make up 43%.
10. Liberals have learned absolutely nothing since 9/11, except that Islam is much more peaceful, tolerant, and pro-U.S. than they’d ever dreamed; KSM should be tried in the same court as people who eat trans fats while drinking Four Loko and smoking in bars; and Muslims were the real victims of 9/11.
- How the United States returned to its congenial pre-9/11 ways (fullcomment.nationalpost.com)
- The war on terror 10 years on (macleans.ca)
- Babble of an extremist: Seumas Milne defends his post 9/11 essay which blamed attacks on US actions & support for Israel (cifwatch.com)
- 9/11 and the Successful War (terorismsicontraterorismdotwordpressdotcom.wordpress.com)
- 9/11: what have we learnt? (telegraph.co.uk)