Silent Consensus Emerges as West Wakes Up

Friday, October 7th, 2005 11:14 am by Neal

It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for our weekly dose of Victor Davis Hanson’s reality check on the War against Islamic fascism. This week’s entry is The Quiet Consensus on Iraq, and Hanson makes the argument that, despite some shrill domestic voices opposing our actions in the Middle East (i.e., the, Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan kook fringe wing of the Democratic Socialist party), a silent consensus has emerged that we are taking the correct actions in Iraq with no real, serious opposition to that course. As Hanson puts it, “True, most Americans are tired of Iraq; but they wish to win rather than withdraw immediately and lose the country to the terrorists. The odd thing is that the more the rhetoric heats up, the more both sides sound about the same.”

Hanson then elaborates on several of the key issues and strategies in the conflict — More Troops, Departure, Democracy, Iraq and the War on Terrorism, Ideology, and even Optimism — and demonstrates that on the key points there is little, real opposition on either side of the debate. For example, on Iraq and the War on Terrorism, Hanson writes,

The old debate whether Saddam Hussein was involved with al Qaeda is now calcified. Liberal conventional wisdom denies any such linkage since there is no firm evidence that Saddam knew of, or was involved in, the September 11 attacks. Thus most on the left ignore entirely that Ansar al-Islam was doing Saddam’s dirty work in fighting the Kurds, that Abu Nidal and Abu Abbas resided in Baghdad, that Saddam openly harbored Abdul Rahman Yasin and Ahmed Hikmat Shakir who were connected to the effort in 1993 to blow up the World Trade Center and various anti-American plots, and that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi fled Afghanistan to the sanctuary of Iraq.

No matter. That was then, this is now — and there is no denying that al-Zarqawi is conducting al-Qaedist operations in Iraq, or that the sort of people who attacked us on September 11 are the sort of people now flocking to the Sunni Triangle and often dying at the hands of U.S. military forces. Everyone can agree on that.

On Ideology, Hanson’s analysis is particularly encouraging. After all, the biggest weakness in Western resolve is the inability to see the true, global threat posed by the Islamic fascists. Could it be that we are awakening from our slumber of self-blame and denial with a clearer understanding of the nature of the enemy? Hanson says,

For nearly four years, debates raged in the West over the Patriot Act, supposed Islamophobia, and the sense that the war was never a war at all, but a cooked-up overreaction by Bush-Cheney/Halliburton/Fox News (take your pick) to further a corporate imperial agenda.

But after bombings and assassinations in the United Kingdom, Spain, and the Netherlands, the almost weekly arrests of Middle Eastern suspects from New Jersey to Lodi, California, few now deny that we are in a war with real jihadists, who are energized by an Islamo-fascistic creed that flares up from Bali to Pakistan.

Saddam is ancient history. The real war in Iraq is against al-Qaedists who behead, murder, and seek to turn any village they get their hands on into an 8th-century nightmare. Democrats may groan about the Patriot Act; ACLU liberals will occasionally cry bigotry against Muslims; but there is no longer any real debate that one of the tools of the jihadists is to repeat a September 11 on a larger scale through the stealthy terrorism of infiltrators from the Middle East. Better then to draw them out and hit them abroad than just play defense at home.

Just yesterday, President Bush hit the nail on the head in his policy speech on Iraq,

In fact, we’re not facing a set of grievances that can be soothed and addressed. We’re facing a radical ideology with unalterable objectives: to enslave whole nations and intimidate the world.

No act of ours invited the rage of the killers, and no concession, bribe or act of appeasement would change or limit their plans for murder.

On the contrary, they target nations whose behavior they believe they can change through violence.

Against such an enemy there is only one effective response: We will never back down, never give in and never accept anything less than complete victory.

The murderous ideology of the Islamic radicals is the great challenge of our new century. Yet in many ways, this fight resembles the struggle against communism in the last century.

Like the ideology of communism, Islamic radicalism is elitist, led by a self-appointed vanguard that presumes to speak for the Muslim masses.

Osama bin Laden says his own role is to tell Muslims, quote, “what is good for them and what is not.” And what this man who grew up in wealth and privilege considers good for poor Muslims is that they become killers and suicide bombers.

He assures them that this is the road to paradise, though he never offers to go along for the ride.

Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy teaches that innocent individuals can be sacrificed to serve a political vision. And this explains their cold-blooded contempt for human life.

We’ve seen it in the murders of Daniel Pearl, Nicholas Berg and Margaret Hassan and many others.

In a courtroom in the Netherlands, the killer of Theo van Gogh turned to the victim’s grieving mother and said, “I do not feel your pain because I believe you are an infidel.”

Well said. Now is not the time to go wobbly.

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”
— Thomas Jefferson

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