The Western liberal democracies' half-century embrace of multiculturalism, sensitivity, and moral relativism has blinded us all to the parallel between where we stand now and where we stood in 1935. Now as then, the enemy is obvious, his unimaginably horrific plans are articulated so all can understand them, but our natural aversion to the horrors of war holds us back. But the painful, awful choice is the same. We can rely, as Neville Chamberlain strove so mightily to do, on diplomacy to gain us an illusory "peace in our time"; or we can use every bit of our military might to crush the enemy, accepting, as we ultimately did from Dresden to Frankfurt to Tokyo to Hiroshima to Nagasaki, the horrible necessity of wholesale incineration of vast numbers of innocent, noncombatant, "enemy" civilians.
I would submit that those civilians' doom has already been sealed by the unspeakably vicious monsters living among them. The only remaining question is whether we prolong that doom sufficiently that huge numbers of us have to die with them, or nip this fulminating horror in the bud by crushing it without mercy -- or, if nothing else will work, vaporizing it.
In the aftermath of 9/11, the President's and Congress' admirable resolve in the face of inhuman savagery was inspirational. Five years later, that resolve is sorely missed. Muslim lunatics from Peshawar to Teheran to Damascus have come to believe, again, that they can attack the civilized world with impunity, because we lack the will to do what is needed to stop them. The Democrats' defeatism, weakness, and refusal to acknowledge the magnitude and seriousness of the threat have infected the mainstream press, Congressional Republicans, the Supreme Court, and the Bush White House. For the past three years, our irresolute behavior has reinforced the maniacs' belief in our essential weakness. Only little Israel demonstrates the guts to do what must be done, perhaps because they, alone, have no choice.
The bitter truth is that we are dealing with people who will never voluntarily stop murdering infidels. The core belief on which their entire lives are based is that God wants them to convert the world to Islam, and kill those who resist. Negotiating with them will never produce a compromise under which we and they can live with in peace. Any promise they make to abide by international agreements, or respect the rights, institutions, and lives of non-Muslims will be a lie, designed only to buy them more time to make more murderous plans and acquire better weapons to use against us. The civilians among whom they hide support them, nurture them, and make it impossible to target them without "collateral damage." But we must target them, regardless. Our lives and our civilization depend on it.
The mad mullahs, and Baathists, and Islamofascists must be made to understand that they must stop ALL terrorist acts against ALL other nations, and anything that even smells like development of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons RIGHT NOW, or they and their populations will face annihilation. No more talk, no more lies, no more dissembling, no more diplomacy. They stop, and they stay stopped, or they die, and their countries die with them. In Iran, in Syria, in Somalia, in Waziristan, leaders and civilians who support terrorists have forfeited their right to breathe the air of this planet. We don't have to occupy them, we don't have to rebuild them, we don't have to "bring them to justice," or grant them habeas corpus or let them have lawyers. We just have to destroy them.
I daresay nearly everyone has some threshold beyond which he would agree that it is time to unleash hell on the jihadis, with deep sorrow, but no change of course, for the innocents who are consumed in the fire. The differences among us are only in where that threshold lies. The destruction of Haifa? The obliteration of Israel? How about London? Another 9/11-type attack in this country? A coordinated biological attack at O'Hare, JFK, Dulles and LAX? Dirty bombs in downtown Chicago, NYC, and Washington? A 10 kiloton bomb in a delivery van a couple of blocks from the White House? Or Times Square? Or Disney World? Or all of the above?
If we are to survive as a nation, Congress must authorize and encourage President Bush to solve this problem, once and for all, by any means necessary, before the threat grows even worse. We cannot hide behind Israel any longer. We cannot afford to have the Democratic Party putting its energies into undermining Bush rather than joining with Republicans to ensure our survival. There is no doubt we will have to fight this war. No other course of action will allow us to return to a world of peace. The war has started, at a relatively low intensity, but it is escalating. Millions of Muslims are going to die. The only remaining question is whether millions of us are, too. My guess is that we will lose at least one major US city, and maybe a couple of major European cities, before we respond in force. Since we will continue to dither until then, the cataclysm will begin at a time of al Qaeda's choosing. That is a terrible shame, because far fewer of us, and probably fewer of them, would die if we took preemptive action now, rather than waiting for the first American city to go up in flames. But it will begin, either way. As Churchill said, we must fight this enemy on the land, on the sea, and in the air, and not rest until we have rid the earth of his shadow.
I've tried long and hard to come to a different conclusion, as I'm sure most of Europe, and certainly nearly all Americans, spent the 1930s trying to convince themselves that the nightmare they saw growing in the distance wasn't -- COULDN'T POSSIBLY BE -- real. But wishing couldn't stop it then, and I cannot escape the conclusion that it can't now, either. To paraphrase Margaret Thatcher's advice to President Bush 41, this is no time to go all wobbly. It is long past time to put a stop to this insane savagery.