Because the "war on terror" is so hotly debated I believe most Americans have little or no concept of what our civilization is engaged in right now. I know this sentence is controversial to some readers but I am convinced it is true. I majored in history and have always had a great love for the subject. I have studied twentieth century history in particular. It was the "bloodiest" century in human history. I think both World War I and World War II were not necessary, at least not initially. The problem is that many "wished" for the best and then did little or nothing to prepare for defending the West against the onslaught of ideologies and leaders who hated our values. In the case of World War II this was particularly true. One only has to recall Neville Chamberlain to know how unpreparedness set the stage for a longer and more costly conflict.
On this date, September 11 (seven years ago), the radical Islamic assault on the West came home to our shores. Most of us will always remember where we were and what we were doing. Some of us even knew people who were killed or the family members of someone who died that day. I walk in and out of the Beamer Center at Wheaton College several times a week and recall Todd Beamer’s last day on this earth. It was a day that we should not forget but sadly too many of us have already begun to let these memories fade into a war of words.
Last evening I remembered 9/11 by watching the one-hour special that was aired last year. It is titled Obsession: Radical Islams War Against the West. It is a disturbing and painful one hour but one that every reader of this blog ought to see if you have any doubts about radical Islam and its goals to destroy America, Britain and every Jew on the planet. It is so shocking that I think many will not deal with the message that it communicates. I hope you will join the number of those who do watch it and then make up your mind that we are engaged in a very real war. It might not be with another nation, as in the past. Nor is it with a specific dictator who is piling up weapons. But it is a real war, a war based on ideology as much as World War II was based on the radical ideological fascism of Adolph Hitler.
You can see Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West online for a small fee or better yet buy the DVD version. I own a copy and will watch it more than once and also show it to my friends. Please, open your eyes to the very real evil that is still a threat to us all. If good people do nothing then evil will succeed. Human nature has not changed. People can do great good and great evil. When religion is used by a minority of Muslims to create world-wide havoc in the name of Jihad we need to know how to respond before it is too late.
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I think the issue is not so much that there is a radical Islamic movement but how that movement is combated. Right now we (the US) is primarily attempting to combat it militarily. While I don’t think we should stop working militarily completely, I don’t think that it will solve the problem. I am reading Tom Friedman’s new book and he is making a strong case that the way to cut off funding and support for radical Islam is to move toward green energy and away from oil. Right now we are funding (through the purchase of oil) radical Islam at the same time we are trying to fight it. Another book I read recently “Three Cups of Tea” documents the work of an American to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan, especially for girls, to combat radical Islam.
The argument that we have to be for war to be against radical Islam is a false one. (I am not suggesting that John is making this argument, only that the argument is being made.) The best way to fight against radical Islam is to fight for green energy, universal education and global human rights. This includes fighting against US torture policy, for better access to US schools by middle eastern students and for stronger international institutions.
Green energy and global education are wonderful things that we in the West ought to pursue, but education and removing our dependence on foreign oil does nothing to deal with a “radical Islam and its goals to destroy America, Britain and every Jew on the planet.” There is, in the Middle East, a subset of the culture that will settle for nothing less than Sharia-run Islamic states. These groups burn down schools built for girls. They do not welcome westerners’ attempts at global human rights. Schools for girls are possible in Afganistan today because miltary force was used to depose the ruling Taliban. They do not want the people to have education or experience western culture in order to determine for themselves what they want. They suppress freedom with the perspective that God is on their side; that their cause is right and therefor they are to use any means necessary to achieve their goals.
Obviously, military action cannot be our only means of dealing with these difficult issues. Dipolmacy with the countries in which these factions exist and operate is crucial. But in the end, I believe that “carrying a big stick” goes a much longer way with unreasonable fundamentalist zealots.
Adam I appreciate some of the excellent points you make but I think Ross gets closer to the “hard” facts of radical Islam. Solving the energy debate, which we must do, and providing education, which we also should do, will not remove the vengeful, hate-filled message of radical Islam. This is not a conservative/liberal talking point. If you believe in radical and pervasive human evil, and I do as a Christian, then this is about protecting the world from an evil that is very militant and armed to bring about death and destruction. It is right to deal with it on several fronts but the major one must be military preparedness or we have fallen into the old view that people are good if they are simply treated as good. This was THE mistake with regard to Hitler. People wanted to believe he could be good if he was granted respect, left alone and dealt with in positive ways. Churchill saw it when few did. The same is true, to varying degrees, with radical Islam.
The post 9/11 world is not the world of the peaceful 1990s. If we do not see this then I honestly fear for us and multitudes who will die in the decades to come.
I was trained for the military but never served. I know the military culture well with a son who was in the Army. Real military leaders hate war, believing it is a last resort. But sometimes it must happen, as in World War II.
We can debate the “front” in terms of whether we should have entered Iraq, and I think we should not have gone in, but we should have little debate about the fact that what happens now is hugely important to the Middle East and millions of people there, much less to our interests in the West to preserve our freedom and culture.
America has many sins and has made so many mistakes it is not worth debating the fact of this reality. But at the end of the day this is a country that can reform itself peacefully and we can still speak truth to power. There is no better place to live in the world and likely will not be in the century ahead, though God knows what will happen in China, India, etc.
We should pray for peace, urge better understanding and the care for the planet, but all the while we must stay alert to the real dangers of our very real enemy. This was my point and I think Ross got it.
Clearly we will disagree about parts of this. But I think while we may never get rid of all of radical Islam, undercutting their support and funding will in fact do a lot more, and do it a lot more completely and efficiently than international military action. Sure there are those that burn down schools, but if we are around to re-build them again in the end people will support those that build the schools not those that burn them down. I think this is the story of the positive things that have been happening in Iraq right now.
Saudi money has built thousands of mosques and schools (around $45 million since 2000 alone, just in Pakistan). If we had diverted a couple days worth of funding from Iraq to building schools in Pakistan, there would likely not be so much doubt about the intentions of the US there right now. Instead we gave money for military and police.
Again, I don’t believe that military should never be the option, but that military should be the last option, and only used after we have actually tried the other options. Iraq was an example of giving lip service to other options and then going ahead anyway.
“If History teaches anything, it teaches that self-delusion in the face of unpleasant facts, is folly” – Ronald Reagan, ‘Evil Empire’ speech.
To hear the Rothbardian Anarchist tell it, its America that is the ‘evil empire’ of the world as Rothbard himself believed. Its America that “creates enemies”. Apparently if we just isolated ourselves behind Fortress America, other ideologies would never dream of doing anything to harm American interest and the peace of the world. following their absurd logic, and ignorant history and truth of human nature.
And of course their dishonest friends on the far-left believe the same.
” . . . their support and funding will in fact do a lot more”
Iraq was a State Sponsor of Islamic Terrorism, including Al-Qaeda. It is well documented and the secular left have gone out of their way to lie about that fact for their political gain. Saddam financed and harbored various segments of the Muslim Brotherhood ideology, including suicide attacks against Americans and no telling what we don’t know since this type of thing isn’t exactly done in the open.
The actions of Al-Qaeda speak louder than anything, they made their stand in Iraq, not Afghanistan against us. History will record that fact along with the long documentation the Secular Leftist have tried to cover up, no longer report on and flat out lie about so they could gain power.
“I don’t believe that military should never be the option, but that military should be the last option, and only used after we have actually tried the other options.”
This is exactly what happened in Iraq, after years and years of non-military options had failed. Saddam had committed multiple acts of war against the US for over a decade, funded and harbored Islamic Terrorist, including Al-Qaeda, tried to assassinate our POTUS, invaded neighbors, paid 20K to Hamas Suicide Bombers families. Much of this was reported in the media in the 1990’s.
Drom the Hoover Institute at Stanford. Decent rundown, the Al-Qaeda terrorist that bombed WTC in 1993, fled to Iraq after the bombing. Yasin, was on Saddam’s Govt. payroll afterward.
JP, the 9/11 commission and virtually every credible source has now debunked all connection between Iraq and Al-Qaeda. They are on opposite sides of the Islam. Al-Qaeda was supporting Kurdish rebels against Hussein before we invaded against Hussein. Iraq was a secular state that Al-Qaeda wanted destroyed. The website you mention was last updated in 2004 and much of it has been shown to be wrong.
Here is a wikipedia article. I know many people don’t like wikipedia, but this is very well sourced. http://tinyurl.com/prfqn
I am sure that John is not really wanting us to argue the Iraq war. And this is not the purpose of my posts. I am simply asking that as a country, and as Christians within that country that we give reasonable time and thought into ways to stay out of war while addressing very real and present threats.
In this particular instance I have to agree with Adam overall. And I was not asking for a debate about Iraq. I have deep questions about our entering Iraq. While I do not think the President lied or knowingly took us into Iraq on false premises there is no real doubt that the official reasons we had (WMD) were not well documented by the evidence that we have in hindsight. Having said this I do not think we should flee Iraq a.s.a.p., if for no other reason than it would not be humanitarian now that the country needs security.
What I am deeply concerned about is that we do not take our enemy seriously. This is the point Obsession makes so well. My criticism of some on the right is that they defend everything America does in combat and forget that the people and the Congress must be involved in such decisions in a democracy like ours. My criticism of the left is that they often think evil is not a real problem.
Bottom line: We do not understand the nature and threat of radical Islam!
Going green and loosening our dependence on foreign oil are worthy goals. But I don’t see how that would stop terrorism. Yes, it would reduce the flow of dollars into the economies of Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries. It would reduce their overall standard of living, perhaps with the poorest in those nations getting hit the hardest. How would that generate goodwill toward the United States? There is no magic bullet that will stop the flow of cash to terrorists without having unintended consequences. It’s hard enough (impossible, in fact) for the federal government to manage the U.S. economy. It’s even more far-fetched to think that, by our energy policy, we can effect cultural shifts that we desire in faraway lands. Radical Islam is not of our making. Our policies didn’t create it, nor can they eradicate it.
John, this post is very true, and that makes it sad and frightening that so many Americans, including political leaders in BOTH parties just don’t get it!!
I remeber where I was on 9-11-01; sitting in the firehouse kitchen, having just come on duty, and watching the horror unfold with the rest of my crew. It stunned me to see those towers come crashing down, knowing that several hundreds of firefighters had just died and untold numbers of civilians. By God’s grace the total death toll that morning was just under 3000; but as a firefighter I’ll never forget the 343 FDNY firefighters, as well as the NYPD and Port Authority officers that died as well. In addition to this, many firefighters and other workers who worked “the pile” for months afterward are suffering major lung diseases and have had to retire or take disability from their jobs. Also, none of us knows how many firefighters and family members have become addicted to drugs and alcohol or committed suicide since then. Life will never be “normal” again for the families, friends, and co-workers of those that died in NY, DC, and Shanksville PA. All of these people as well as our Military men and women need our prayers and deserve our support during this time. And us in the Church, yes, we need to “wake up” to the reality of our real enemy in this “War”. Our enemies are NOT Republicans or Democrats; nor the Iraqi people in general, but RADICAL Islam and the satanicly induced hatred that fuels it. I believe that the abortion industry and the 48,000,000 babies that have died as a result are drawing God’s wrath on our Nation. I hope we repent as a nation and that in God’s mercy, become a great nation once again. I truly love my country and fear for our future. God bless!
Good post. I agree with you concerning 9/11.
However, one problem I see is that most Americans still do not understand that Islamic terrorists are already ***inside America’s own backyard***, and not just thousands of miles away in Afghanistan or Iraq.
And, sadly, most Americans still do not understand the direct connection between illegal immigration and September 11, 2001.
The 9/11 terrorists were illegal aliens who had overstayed their visas, and also were helped by illegals.