“For all we have and are, for all our children’s fate, stand up and take the war, the Hun is at the gate.”
— Rudyard Kipling
by Charles Gordon
March 3, 2007
What the future holds is anybody’s guess, but the fact remains that since September 11, 2001, there have been zero “911s” in our country. How remarkable this is can best be gleaned by recalling how on September 12, virtually everyone was bracing for waves of follow-up attacks on our soil.
Did our enemies just pack up and leave? Hardly. Over the past few years, there have been several attacks planned, but each of them were thwarted before they could commence.
Let’s give credit where credit is due. There is no federal agency that’s been more maligned since its inception than the Department of Homeland Security. People made fun of Tom Ridge’s color-coded threat level system while he was Secretary and criticize successor Michael Chertoff for not being warm, fuzzy and empathetic. Yet both these men must have been doing something right, for under their watch, America has indeed been spared another horrific attack.
Credit also belongs to the brave men and women who comprise our intelligence community. While the CIA, FBI, and their counterpart at the Department of Defense and across the government have committed their share of blunders across the years and decades, nobody in the know denies that since 911, they’ve disrupted and thwarted a number of plots against America and Americans.
Since the best defense is often a good offense, we need also to commend those who serve in our armed forces, here and especially in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. Clearly, what they’ve done is take the fight to the enemy, fighting on his turf, not our own. Truth be told, the terrorists who are fighting us in both these countries are being forced to fight for their survival and that of their movement in their own backyard, not ours. Al Qaiada terrorists who could have been sent westward across the Atlantic are now forced to make a last stand against freedom and democracy in the Middle East heartland from whence they came.
And finally, we should thank President Bush, who, despite the problems encountered in Iraq, has remained firm and resolute in the War on Terror.
So those are the heroes of our post-September 11 world.
Unfortunately there have been a number of prominent goats — both individual and institutional — as well. First, there are the Democrats in both houses of Congress who since 2000 have appeared never to have forgiven Bush for daring to assume the presidency despite losing the popular vote that year. From the Patriot Act to the handling of suspected terrorists at Guantanamo and elsewhere, from the battle for Iraq to the fight to control our own borders, an alarmingly high number of Democrats were found opposing nearly every action necessitated by the War on Terror.
Then there’s the State Department, one of the oldest, toughest, change-resistant bureaucracies in the world. How, for starters, did the plot that led to the 9/11 attacks go completely unnoticed by the “Staties” at the Near East Bureau? What was the bureau doing? The question answers itself.
How did State devolve into an organization whose careerists seem more bent on telling us how we must accommodate terrorists and terror enablers than on telling them how they must accommodate us?
And then there are some of our name-brand colleges and universities, where humanities and social sciences professors, in the name of political correctness, go so far as to label 9/11 as a “false-flag” operation, hysterically accusing Bush or Vice President Cheney or the CIA or Israel’s Mossad of staging the attacks and then blaming them on the poor, innocent Islamofascists.
Add to that the usual crowd of radical clergy and like-minded lawyers and judges and what we have in large measure is a liberal establishment that has been strikingly at odds with the countless strong measures proposed or enacted as part of the battle against those who would kill us.
Thus the heroes must fight against two groups of foes. They must do battle against the terrorists and the tyrants who make terrorists and terrorism possible. But they must also push back, and push back hard, against those fellow Americans who for whatever reason, oppose them at every turn.