As in past years, people who were older than about ten on September 11, 2001, have honored its anniversary. These social media acknowledgements of that fateful day tend to take two forms: (1) the “where were you then” form, as exemplified by George Takei, or as I think of it “the fly trapped in amber” approach ; and (2) the “9/11 still matters” viewpoint, as exemplified by Lt. Col. Allen West. I incline to Col. West’s approach, but it leaves important questions unanswered, which I’ll try to explain here.
George Takei has more that 7.5 million Facebook followers, thanks to the frequently amusing things he posts there. His popularity means it’s possible to discern certain cultural trends from his posts and from the response to those posts. Take, for example, his 9/11 post. To his credit, Takei didn’t forget that today is a special day. Instead, he acknowledged it and asked his followers to reminisce about their 9/11 experiences:
Last I looked, more than 20,000 people approved of this post, almost 4,000 shared it, and around 4,000 added their comments.
There’s nothing wrong with what Takei and his followers are doing. After all, more than fifty years after the fact, we still have people spending Thanksgiving explaining exactly what they were doing in 1963 when they learned Kennedy had been assassinated. It’s our way of assuring ourselves and others that we too are part of a cataclysmic, unifying, paradigm-shifting event, even if we lacked the geographic proximity to say truthfully “I was there.”
What’s missing from this “where were you then” approach to 9/11 is that it avoids taking a serious look at 9/11’s impact, not just on our personal emotional status, but on our nation and the world at large. “I was there, if only in spirit,” is a far cry from dealing with the practical reality that “Islamism is still here, in spirit and in fact.” It’s dangerous to lock 9/11 into the past, only to drag it out annually to admire it, much as one looks at a fly’s tortured body locked in ancient amber.
Lt. Col. Allen West represents the opposite end of the “Remembering 9/11” spectrum. The events of 9/11 may have happened thirteen years ago, he says, but they matter today. He is correct. They matter very much. In his 9/11 post, Col. West, after briefly describing his own 9/11 memories, turns the focus where it rightly belongs:
And here we are 13 years later and still living under the threat of an Islamic terrorist attack. We go through security protocols all because of Islamic terrorist attacks. We just witnessed two Americans beheaded by members of an Islamic terrorist army.
Thirteen years later and it is as though we learned no lessons from 9/11. Our own recalcitrance to define this enemy was demonstrated last night by our president, Barack Hussein Obama, who firmly declared that ISIS is not “Islamic” — then what the hell are they, Amish? Political correctness has placed us in a position where almost half of our country fears another major terrorist attack.
(Please remind me to pull out that “What the hell are they? Amish?” line next time I cross paths with an Islamic apologist.)
In addition to reminding us that 9/11 continues to have real-world repercussions, West proposes that the military provides an affirmative solution to radical Islam’s continuing aggression:
My fellow Americans, we don’t have to live under this specter of Islamo-fascism and jihadism. We cannot go another year — certainly not another 13 — living in fear all the while refusing to admit that they exist. I am tired of being told that we cannot offend folks. I am tired of hearing that it’s not all Muslims. If that’s so, those moderates need to “man up” and kick some extremist arse. Because for 13 years, we’ve fiddled around and played games of winning hearts and minds and nation building and all we got in exchange were two beheaded Americans.
The original “day that will live in infamy” led us to one goal: the destruction of the enemy who attacked us. It was Japanese Admiral Yamamoto who stated that he feared they had awakened a sleeping giant. But the giant that is America is still asleep.
When President Ronald Reagan was asked how he defined victory in the Cold War he replied simply, “we win they lose.” And it was Alexander the Great who said, “I would not fear an army of lions if led by sheep, but I would fear an army of sheep if led by a lion.” America is looking for a lion who will crush the wolves and embolden, unleash and direct the indomitable American spirit that will not cower.
I agree with Col. West that radical Islam needs to be stomped out, or at least sent to the far outskirts of civilization where this nihilistic ideology can wither and die on the vine. What I’d like Col. West to do, though, is to explain precisely how one goes about doing this.
The “how” of destroying radical Islam has been on my mind of late. Just today, when I explained to a young man of my acquaintance that radical Islam cannot be accommodated but must be destroyed, he asked the obvious question: “Well, what would you do?”
I had no answer. ISIS is actually the easiest problem to solve, because it has set itself up as an Islamic state. After all, if it’s a state, we can declare war against it and wipe it out. The problem is that, outside of ISIS’s helpful decision to attach a large target to its collective backside, we’re more hampered when it comes to the constantly increased number of other manifestations of radical Islam.
Looking outside Iraq, radical Islam isn’t a coherent, bomb-able, nation with borders. Instead, it’s a toxic ideology that permeates larger societies, both Muslim and non-Muslim. And even within Muslim nations or communities, it’s actively embraced only by about 10% of Muslims — although the majority provide strong passive support (putting the lie to Obama’s assurance that there’s nothing sharia-like about “real” Islam).
With regard to those passive sharia supporter, Col. West is correct that it’s time for the “so-called” moderates to put up or shut up, but that still leaves us with a problem: Where do we aim our guns?
Do we resume a hot war Afghanistan, just as we’re on the verge of treating, leaving a triumphant Taliban? Do we drop bombs on remote islands in the Philippines, where a bloody Muslim insurgency has gone on for years? Or how about taking the Marines to India, home of the Mumbai massacre? Or maybe we aim our guns on in Qatar, an oil-rich nation that generously funds Hamas (and is home to a CENTCOM presence).
And so it goes, with country after country hosting a large radical Islamist contingent that too often is an untouchable Fifth Column. Need more examples? There’s Turkey, which is a NATo member, and which is slowly being dragged from the 21st century back to the 7th, with 68% of Turkish citizens supporting Hamas. England was our ally in Iraq, but London is Ground Zero for radical Islam. France, where 16% of the population supports Hamas, is witnessing a mass Jewish Exodus that continued unabated throughout the summer, despite Israel’s wartime footing. Wartime Israel was safer to French Jews than peacetime France. And there’s always Malmo, in Sweden, where 40% of the population is Muslim. Thanks to this influx, Sweden has become the rape capital of Europe.
Radical Islam in the Middle East also leaves us without targets. We can’t attack Saudi Arabia, which has for decades funded the Sunni side of toxic Islam, because it’s long been our ally and, absent domestic drilling, is a necessary oil purveyor. Moreover, the Saudis are now afraid of the Frankenstein’s monster they created, and are making nice with Israel, our ally in the war against jihad Islam. We’re also unwilling to take on Iran, which has for decades funded the Shia side of toxic Islam. Worse, it seems that Obama would like to partner with Iran to help get rid of Sunni ISIS. And then of course there’s Gaza. We weren’t pleased when the Israelis delicately bombed it, so it’s unlikely that we’ll start bombing it ourselves any time soon.
And really, if we’re going to have to bomb whole communities of radical Islamists, we’re going to have to look within our own borders. We’ll need to add the states of Minnesota and Michigan to the list of targets, not to mention towns such as Fremont, California, and large parts of California’s Central Valley. Heck, if an FBI friend of mine is correct, it might be time to drop a bomb on Marin too, since that idyllic Leftist paradise has a burgeoning radical Islamic population. (Remember John Walker Lindh? His Marin connections weren’t a coincidence.)
Given the parasitism of radical Islam throughout the world, what precisely is the military solution to this ideology that has permeated the world’s fabric? Obama’s approach for the past five-and-a-half years has been a dismal failure. Moreover, if his speech last night (a fairly impotent combination of ambition, distraction, uglification, and derision) is anything to go by, his future approach to jihad seems to be headed to the same graveyard as his past course of action.
So, Col. West, if you’re reading this post, please expand on how you would deal, not just with ISIS, but with radical Islam’s pernicious spread throughout the world. With America on a wartime footing, this may well be your time to aim for the land’s highest office. Much as I like you, I wasn’t sure about your chances as a peacetime president because Americans might be leery of again electing a man with limited Congressional experience. As a war-time president, , though. . . . Well, if you have a workable course of action against Islam, that plan, put together with your conservativism, leadership skills, fearlessness, and bone-deep patriotism, means you’d have my support and my vote in a heartbeat.
UPDATE: JoshuaPundit believes that Iran is the pivot on which radical Islam turns. Deal with Iran, and the other dominoes will fall in a way favorable to Western interests.