Monday, August 28, 2006

None Are So Blind As Those That Will Not See

Among the most puzzling things today is the seeming inability of the Left in the United States to grasp the seriousness of the threat of global Islamic terrorism. That this threat is real, and that it is the most significant threat to free people is a reality accepted by objective folk. Yet, a sizable group of Americans either does not understand it or refuses to accept it.

Think back to September 11, 2001, the day 19 barbaric Islamic radicals hijacked four airliners and crashed two of them into the World Trade Center, one more into the Pentagon, and a fourth (whose target isn’t certain) crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Nearly three thousand innocent people died that dark day. The next day, September 12, everybody understood the threat; everybody was united against the threat; no one doubted the threat. Just five short years later a substantial number of Americans no longer recognize the threat. Why?

One answer is that it is much easier to criticize George W. Bush and his administration if there is no terrorist threat. One of the President’s constant themes is that we are in a war of global proportions against Islamic terrorism. We are pretty much forced either to accept that assertion or to reject it. Obviously, if we accept it, we won’t be as complacent about a future attack as the liberals and Democrats are. But that isn’t the only answer, and it only accounts for a portion of the doubters, which is the hard core Bush-haters for whom no threat is greater than the perceived threat posed by the Bush administration. That is a mindless muddle of emotionalism passing as a viable analysis of events. It is, however, a prevalent attitude.

Another answer is that because the U.S. hasn’t been attacked since 2001 many believe the terrorist threat has been eliminated or adequately reduced. A couple of questions naturally follow from such a premise, the first of which is: What happened that diminished the ability of terrorists to attack the U.S.? Was it because the U.S. responses to 9-11 were effective in reducing terrorist’s abilities to mount an attack? Did the action in Afghanistan disrupt al-Qaeda operations that greatly? Have U.S. intelligence agencies done an effective job at tracking and interfering with terrorists through the NSA surveillance program and other covert means? Has the fighting in Iraq tied up so many terrorists that there aren’t enough to focus on attacking the U.S.?

The second question is: How do these doubters explain the thwarted effort to bring down two handfuls of airliners bound for the U.S. from England? Does that dose of reality give them reason to rethink their position? Or do they think it was just a fluke?

You cannot adequately respond to a threat unless you fully and accurately recognize what the threat is. If a substantial portion of Americans does not believe that Islamic terrorists are a clear and present danger to this country, then they will not support efforts to thwart potential terrorist attacks, and, in fact, may openly oppose genuine efforts that target terrorist activities. This explains why The New York Times exposed counter-terror measures for the entire world, including terrorist planners, to see, and why the Left and the Bush-haters are so adamant about criticizing everything the President does, especially measures taken to identify and deter terrorists.

Such a state of affairs leads one to this conclusion: These Americans require being slapped in the face with another successful terrorist attack on our soil to wake them to reality. And so long as so many Doubting Thomases exist, it is only a matter of time.

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