14 Years Post 9/11

This post is timed to appear on the blog at the same time the first plane struck the World Trade Center on that day.

It is hard to think of the day any longer – it is like it happened in a different nation. A different era.

But I still can recall my first knowledge of it – getting the phone call from the east coast, turning on the TV just in time to see the second plane hit. I can still see in my mind’s eye the buildings collapsing.

A lot of time has passed. The national unity we had is long gone. We’re not even really fighting the sort of people who commit acts like that – and who will commit them against us, again, just as soon as they are able.

I suggested back in the aftermath of 9/11 that the sort of war we got was a Thirty Years War…a multi-decade effort which would have all sorts of twists and turns. It certainly has had that. How it all ends remains to be seen – but I don’t suspect it’ll end within the next ten years.

Pray for the repose of the souls who have died – those who died on 9/11 and those who had died since. Pray for those who stand up to defend us under arms. Pray for the conversion of the terrorists, that they may discover that peace and mercy are best.

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IDF General: War Clouds Gathering

From Y Net:

Recent revolutions in the Arab world and the deteriorating ties with Turkey are raising the likelihood of a regional war in the Middle East, IDF Home Front Command Chief, Major General Eyal Eisenberg warned Monday.

“It looks like the Arab Spring, but it can also be a radical Islamic winter,” he said in a speech at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv…

The “Islamic Winter” is pretty much what I expect.  We are about to reap an ill harvest…sown since 9/11 by our political inability to carry on the fight with sufficient determination.  As it turns out, our campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq have proven strategic dead-ends – because we did not follow up with the next, logical steps.

Not being privy to strategy sessions of the Bush White House  – and none of us will be for at least 50 years – I don’t know if there was a plan for follow-up to Iraq…but I perceive that there was, at least, a desire to leverage the fall of Baghdad in to a general offensive against all the Islamists of  the middle east.  Syria likely the best post-Iraq target, but it could have been Iran, as well…but we didn’t do it.  There was that moment in the summer of 2003 when Islamism was tottering and ready to fall…but we allowed ourselves to get hamstrung in Iraq, giving the Islamists a breather where they could regain their confidence and bog us down in a  counter-insurgency campaign…a campaign which never would have been possible for the enemy to conduct in Baghdad if we were threatening Damascus and Tehran.

What hamstrung us immediately was not the Islamists, themselves, but the American left…fearful that a continuing series of American victories would cement American supremacy and worse (for the left) relegate the left to political irrelevancy, the left decided that procuring American defeat in the war was necessary…so they began to fire up the anti-war movement, nit-pick every military error and slander the men and women who were fighting the battle.  The rest, as they say, is history…President Bush, whatever his desires might have been, was capable in the end of only holding on…refusing to fold as Johnson did in Vietnam, but being unable to resume the offensive and bring the war to a victorious end.

And now the Islamists are on the march – certain that in President Obama we have a leader who will not strike at the heart of the problem, the Islamists have stepped up their terrorism and their subversion.  Countering our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Islamists are poised to gain control of Egypt; Turkey is slipping in to the Islamist camp, Libya’s Islamists are making a bid for power…and Iran continues to build towards a nuclear force.  As this virulent form of Islam strides from victory to victory, the number and confidence of the adherents grows…they are feeling their oats and thinking they only need keep fighting a bit longer and harder for total victory to be theirs.  This, I think, is where General Eisenberg’s fear comes from…these nuts might start to think they can beat Israel and/or the United States in a stand-up fight.

They misjudge – Israel is still immensely powerful and even President Obama, if forced by circumstances, will fight.  But it must be remembered that aggressive powers routinely miscalculate the balance of forces.  Time and time again they discount the reserves of strength in their opponents…especially if they are tyrants and their opponents are free people.  Always keep in mind that it was sheer impertinence for Imperial Japan to attack the United States…the total balance of forces between the two nations was such that for Japan it worked out to national suicide…as anyone thinking clearly in Japan would have figured out in an instant…but no one thought about it; they counted on our weakness and their supposed spiritual superiority to carry the day.  Our Islamist enemies are thinking like that…give them control of a couple more nations, and they might think that it is time for war…full scale, conventional war.

We might be heading or a bloody mess in the middle east – literal  millions of lives are at stake.  It is to be hoped that things will work out differently.  But their working out differently is mostly dependent upon people of the Moslem world deciding against Islamism…a cool, rational understanding that war cannot achieve Islamist ends, and so should not be tried.  I doubt there is that sort of sense building in the Moslem world.

Let this be yet another lesson for us – and one I pray we finally learn:  if we’re going to go to war, at all, go all the way to war.  Identify all the enemies and destroy all of them as swiftly as possible.  Leave no sanctuary…no place where the enemy can retreat to regain strength and strike us again.  American war can only be war to the knife…to the utter destruction and unconditional surrender of the enemy.  If we aren’t willing to do that, we’d better not fight, at all.  If another war comes, let it be the last war we have to fight against Islam…just as the war against Japan was fought to the point where it was clearly the last war we’d ever have to fight with that nation.