I noted on July 1 that war has a powerful influence over all who are touched by it. Let us be clear about this, war is bad, very bad. But my observations are not those of a pacifist. I believe that there is something worse than war, namely a peace that allows tyranny to dominate a people and/or society so that human freedom is crushed under ideologies that destroy mankind’s ability to seek peace and to worship God freely.
I have no real doubt that we are presently engaged in what Samuel Huntington has called “A Clash of Civilizations.” This is true regardless of the mistakes we have made with regard to Iraq, and plenty seem to have been made.
Uwe Siemon-Netto, a Christian journalist I deeply respect, is a realist when he asks: “Are hard line tactics the most effective way to deal with terrorism?” He concludes: “What are the alternatives? Negotiate a peaceful settlement that will limit suicide bombings to one a month and decapitations before rolling video cameras to one per year—well, maybe two? Propose Osama bin-Laden for the Nobel Peace Prize? Tell the Islamacists, ‘O.K. we agree to your phased takeover of most of Europe as long as you stay out of Northumberland, the Dordogne, Tuscany and the Lunenburg Heath?’ Let’s stop fooling ourselves. Israel is still around because it has not been run by the Y. M. C. A. And there haven’t been any terrorist attacks against the United States since September 11, 2001, because America is pursuing the War on Terror with determination, albeit sometimes too clumsily for our refined tastes.”
Siemon-Netto rightly concludes that we are now engaged in a global conflict. This is nothing like Vietnam, a regional struggle in the truest sense. He correctly concludes: “Given the enemy’s lunatic mindset we had better get used to the reality that this kind of war cannot be ended with sickly-sweet postmodern chatter, but only with resolve.”
I do wonder if that resolve is strong enough for the long haul given the moral and spiritual weakness of our culture. We need both Democrats and Republicans to understand this reality and to offer real strategies about how to pursue the dangers that we obviously face in a “brave new world.”