WAR ON TERROR: PROGRESS REPORT
David Horowitz makes an interesting observation:
Imagine the date is Sept. 12, 2001. Ask yourself this question: Are you willing to bet that two years will pass and there will not be another terrorist attack on American soil?
I will wager that there is not one person reading this column who would have made that bet two years ago.
There is only one reason for this relative security that Americans enjoy. It is not that the terrorists have given up their violent agendas or their hatred for us. They have not. It is not because U.S. borders are secure or because U.S. internal security systems have been successfully overhauled.
There is one reason — and one reason alone — that Americans have been safe for the almost two years since the September 11 attacks.
That reason is the aggressive war that President Bush and the U.S. military have waged against international terrorism and its “Axis of Evil.” The war on terrorism has been fought in the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan, and Baghdad instead of Washington and New York. By taking the battle to the enemy camp, by making the terrorists the hunted instead of the hunters, Mr. Bush and the U.S. military have kept Americans safe.
I’d quibble a bit on this first assertion, in that the anthrax incidents in late 2001 were likely caused by terrorism. But it is true that most of us would have expected another violent attack by now. That the Bush Administration’s efforts are the reason for this relative calm in unprovable, but plausible. Clearly, the aggressive move against al Qaeda’s operations in Afghanistan had to have a disruptive effect. But there were lulls between the several al Qaeda attacks in the pre-9/11 period, too.
Horowitze goes on to argue that Iraq is a natural extension of this policy:
If Iraq can be secured and become a U.S. ally, then Syrian terrorism and Iranian terrorism and Palestinian terrorism will have no place to hide. American pressure on terrorists everywhere will be dramatically enhanced. If, on the other hand, the United States withdraws in defeat, then terrorism will flourish again in Baghdad, Basra and Tikrit, but also in Damascus, Tehran and Ramallah.
The way to think about the war on terrorism is to ask yourself who is supporting Mr. Bush and the U.S. military in this life and death engagement, and who is not?
Help is certainly not coming from the European nations who armed and then appeased Saddam Hussein and opposed the liberation of Iraq.
Far worse, with exception of fading candidates like Joe Lieberman and John Edwards, it is certainly not coming from the leaders of the Democratic Party, who from the moment Baghdad was liberated have with ferocious intensity attacked the credibility of the U.S. commander-in-chief, the justification for our mission in Iraq and the ability of our forces to prevail.
In this mission of sabotage, no political figure has stooped as low as Al Gore. In the wake of the war that went spectacularly well — the swiftest, most casualty-free liberation of a nation in human history — Al Gore has accused Mr. Bush of deceit and cynical manipulation of the facts with the purpose of misleading the American public and sacrificing U.S. soldiers. By linking these accusations to the Florida election recount, he and other Democrats have implied that the war was merely an instrument of a partisan plot to deprive them of their claim to the White House.
I tend to agree that a stable, comparatively democratic Iraq will go a long way toward stabilizing the region, and thus toward quelling Islamic terrorism, down the road. It is, however, a point with which reasonable people can disagree. And, certainly, Afghanistan-style raids against specific terrorist groups’ headquarters might be more effacious than this indirect route, anyway. Implying that the opponents of the war, whether our European allies or prominent Democrats, are pro-terrorism is rather silly and pointless, regardless.