by Rod D. Martin
September 11, 2007

There are certain events that seem to alter history’s course irrevocably. Radical Islam’s unspeakable attack on our homeland and its depraved slaughter of our civilians five years ago is a prime candidate.

More than anything, September 11th exposed the utter unreality and moral bankruptcy of cultural relativism, the refusal to render moral judgments on societies — especially non-Western ones — and their beliefs.

Relativists made significant inroads after the Vietnam War, a conflict which gave the hard Left a pretext to blur the distinction in foreign policy between good and evil, freedom and slavery, Jefferson and Marx, America and her enemies.

This post-Vietnam War Syndrome was to a large degree countered by Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, as the Iron Curtain fell and the Berlin Wall was obliterated. A Left which had actively supported communism as the way of the future and which had frequently condemned America as more imperialistic, more decadent and more flawed in every way, finally found in its heart the ability to condemn the most murderous regime in all of time — after the battle was done.

But recall what followed — Bill Clinton’s failure to respond to the bombings of the World Trade Center in 1993, Khobar Towers in 1996, two of our African embassies in 1998, and the USS Cole in 2000. After the Soviet collapse, America stood as the world’s sole superpower, yet failed even to define the looming Islamofascist threat, let alone confront it. The Left was all too happy to engage in internationalist nation-building projects from Haiti to Kosovo; defending America itself remained an abhorrent, ugly taboo.

Then came 9/11 — America’s moment of moral clarity.

As the smoke rose up from the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, our homegrown blame-America-firsters fell strikingly silent (with a few notable exceptions like Michael Moore). Meanwhile, what followed was the greatest outpouring of public patriotism since Pearl Harbor.

At the White House, September 11th triggered a revolution in our foreign policy, aligning it more with our founding principles and Declaration of Independence. Just as Vietnam had empowered radical elites who saw America as worse than its foes, so did September 11th embolden those who had long insisted that America was the exemplar of goodness and freedom.

September 11th produced a renewed, vigorous defense of America and her values. At home, with a few exceptions, the radical Left largely failed to stop the implementation of sensible homeland security measures, including reforms of needless shackles placed on law enforcement by Democrats from Frank Church to Jamie Gorelick. Abroad, America annihilated the Taliban regime, destroyed Osama bin Laden’s Afghan base and killed or captured fully two thirds of al Qaida’s leaders in short order.

This is not to say that the relativistic opponents of American exceptionalism departed for good. They returned during the lengthy lead-up to the war in Iraq and have since dogged President Bush at every step for his committed resolve to transform Iraq to a stable democracy and bastion of liberty.

Their tactic is to deny that Iraq is part of the War on Terror, but this denial runs into two problems.

First, al Qaida itself has publicly declared Iraq to be the central front in Islamofascism’s war on the West.

And second, no matter how it’s defined, many of these Bush-bashers oppose other key measures of the War on Terror as well — from the Guantanamo prison to the NSA electronic surveillance of suspected foreign terrorists to the denial of procedural rights reserved for American citizens to captured foreign murderers. They support appeasing the genocidal mullahs of Iran and oppose Israel’s right to self-defense in its own war on terror, even against Hezbollah, the terrorist group which slaughtered our American Marine peacekeepers in Lebanon and which takes its orders from Tehran.

Some of these are blinded political partisans with a pre-9/11 mindset, who simply would rather see a Republican president lose than America win. But the more radical among them see the Islamofascists as necessary tools, today’s surrogates for the Soviets of old, essential to defeat America’s economic and political system and its Judeo-Christian underpinnings.

They are not for the terrorists, mind you. They are against America. And it doesn’t matter who the enemy is, whether it’s Uncle Joe, Uncle Ho, or Uncle Osama.

For now, America’s cultural relativists have succeeded in dividing the country on Iraq.

But make no mistake: September 11, 2001 was a wakeup call that America and Americans have answered and will continue to answer. This is clear, from their reaction to Ned Lamont, to the military’s continued exceeding of its own recruiting goals.

That’s bad news for the relativists. But it’s good news for our country, for our future, and for the future of the world.