Imagine if World War II had been fought the way the defense against the global jihad has been.
Imagine it is December 7, 1957, the 16th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, and President Adlai E. Stevenson gives what was then something new: a nationally televised address. He looks determinedly into the cameras and says:
My fellow Americans: We remember, and we will never forget, the 2,403 beautiful lives taken from us so cruelly. We come together in prayer and in gratitude for the strength that has fortified us across these 16 years.
Perhaps most of all, we stay true to the spirit of this day by defending not only our country, but our ideals. Sixteen years into this fight, and we have not given in to the temptation to demonize and stigmatize entire nations for the deeds of a few extremists. The Germans are not our enemies. The Japanese are not our enemies. We are fighting against the tiny remnant of extremist ideologies that have unfortunately hijacked the noble traditions of the Shinto religion in Japan and National Socialism in Germany. And we will prevail. But we will prevail hand-in-hand with the Japanese and German moderates who have been the first and most numerous victims of these extremists.
That’s why today, after consulting with representatives from the Council on Japanese-American Relations and the Nazi Poverty Law Center, I have issued a proclamation declaring this 16th anniversary of that terrible day a Day of Solidarity Against Germanophobia and Japanophobia. We’ve mourned the loss of innocents on our battlefields in California and Connecticut, but groups like the Shinto and Nazi extremists know that they will never be able to defeat a nation as great and as strong as America. So, instead, they’ve tried to terrorize in the hopes that they can stoke enough fear that we turn on each other and that we change who we are or how we live. And that’s why it is so important today that we reaffirm our character as a nation, by rejecting all hate and fear. If you see a representative of imperial Japan or Nazi Germany today, give him a hug. Show that we are bigger than the hate of the extremists on both sides. For we know that our diversity — our patchwork heritage — is not a weakness; it is still, and always will be, one of our greatest strengths. May God bless the United States of America.
I must apologize to Adlai Stevenson for putting this nonsense into his mouth; Democrats of his day were not quite so spectacularly insane as the current variety (much of the verbiage comes straight from one of Barack Obama’s 9/11 blatherings). But is it really as bad today as I have made it seem with that address? In what way is it not? This war has gone on for a very long time, and today, in all the reminiscences, and eulogies, and encomia, and lamentations, virtually no one has explained why, for the simple reason that essentially no one among the political and media elites knows why. The entire Western intelligentsia, the totality of our political and media elites, steadfastly refuses to acknowledge exactly what the mind-set and motivating ideology of the terrorists really is, and where it comes from.
And so because they have made the wrong diagnosis, they keep applying the wrong remedies. Policies that don’t deal with the actual problem keep being applied and re-applied, at the cost of thousands of American lives, billions of American dollars, and nothing to show for all this expenditure but a sharp and continuing loss of American power and prestige. The jihadis who struck the U.S. on September 11, 2001 have made such immense advances since then not because they are strong, or clever, or capable, but because we are weak, short-sighted, and resolute not in fighting them but in maintaining our denial about who they are and what they want, to the extent that we have taken numerous steps not to stop them, but actually to enable them to achieve their goals.
One key reason why this war drags on, sixteen years after 9/11, was implied in the address of “President Stevenson”: millions passively and unthinkingly accept the dogma that to speak honestly and accurately about the jihadis’ motives and goals is to descend in “racism” and “bigotry,” and to endanger innocent Muslims. And so sixteen years after 9/11, it is still almost unheard-of for there to be an honest discussion of jihadi motives and goals in the mainstream.
Sixteen years after 9/11, and even after the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, the free West is dug in: wholeheartedly committed to denial, willful ignorance, and policies that are self-defeating to the point of suicidal. In light of that, the wonder is not that this war has lasted so long, but that we have held out so long. Unless the political landscape changes considerably and this denial is decisively rejected and discarded, darker, much darker, days are coming.