Six years after 9/11, we have not had another attack. But it’s not for lack of trying: While Democrats insist the war on terror is a Bush administration gimmick, every few months the FBI rolls up another terrorist plot. Since 9/11, the FBI and CIA have nabbed more than 5,000 terrorists worldwide.
No book has done better in outlining what new challenges we face, and how we should confront them, than Norman Podhoretz's “World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism," which is being published this week. [Get your copy of this book Click Here Now.]
By referring to the current war as World War IV, Podhoretz, a former editor in chief of Commentary magazine, underscores its importance and places it in context. Indeed, the threat from al-Qaida is greater than the threats we faced in previous wars — World War I, World War II, and the Cold War. That’s because al-Qaida is intent on acquiring nuclear weapons. Unlike the old Soviet Union, it has no assets to protect and doesn’t care if its members are killed.
The outcome of World War IV is still in doubt — not because we don’t have the capability to defeat terrorists but because our effort is being undermined by our own people and the “defeat industry,” as writer Amir Taheri has put it.
‘We might go forward to victory, or, God forbid, we might lose,” Podhoretz tells me. “The stakes are nothing less than the survival of Western civilization, to the extent that Western civilization still exists, because half of it seems to be committing suicide.”
During World War II, even pacifists and isolationists who had opposed U.S. entry into the war signed on after Pearl Harbor.
“The nation during that war was willing to give great latitude to Franklin Roosevelt and to Winston Churchill, who made horrendous mistakes that cost hundreds of thousands of lives,” Podhoretz notes. “These were mistakes that make mistakes charged to the Bush administration look like chump change.”
So far, close to 3,800 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq.
“Well, almost twice as many as that were lost in a single day on D-Day in World War II,” Podhoretz says. “We lost over 30,000 in Korea and close to 60,000 in Vietnam and 400,000 in World War II.”
Podhoretz points out that the left with its “negative faith in America the ugly” began demonizing the U.S. when the twin towers were still smoldering.
“No sooner had the twin towers been toppled and the Pentagon smashed than a fierce competition began for the gold in the anti-American Olympics,” Podhoretz writes. “Susan Sontag seized an early lead in this contest with a piece in which she asserted that 9/11 was an attack “‘undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions.’”
While slow out of the starting gate, Norman Mailer “came up strong on the inside,” Podhoretz says. Mailer compared the twin towers to “two huge buck teeth” and pronounced the ruins at ground zero “more beautiful than the buildings were.”
Mailer went on to denounce “our cultural oppressors and aesthetic oppressors.”
Of what did this oppression consist? It consisted of our establishing “enclaves of our food out there, like McDonald’s” and putting “our high-rise buildings around the airports of even “the meanest, scummiest capital[s] in the world.”
For these “horrendous crimes,” Podhoretz writes, “we had, on 9/11, received a measure — and only a small measure at that — of our just deserts.”
As for the Iraq war, Podhoretz lists statements from every Democrat from Hillary Clinton, Carl Levin, and Harry Reid to Al Gore, John Kerry, and Edward M. Kennedy supporting Bush’s decision to go after Saddam Hussein because he was believed to have WMD. Podhoretz takes on the right as well, harpooning Bush administration critics like Pat Buchanan.
Podhoretz outlines how important the Bush Doctrine has been in combating terrorism. He broadly defines that doctrine as including not only Bush’s statement that any country that harbors a terrorist will be considered a terrorist country but Bush’s proactive approach in going after terrorism.
Comparing Bush with Harry Truman, Podhoretz tells me, “When Truman left office, his approval ratings were even lower than Bush’s. He’s now looked upon as a great president by almost everyone. And the reason is that he was the one who recognized the Soviet threat when many others were pooh-poohing it, and who also designed a strategy for meeting it.”
Podhoretz thinks the same transformation will occur with Bush.
“What makes him, in my eyes, a great president is exactly what made Truman a great president,” Podhoretz says. “Bush recognized the threat of Islamofascism for what it is, mainly a new totalitarian challenge to our civilization similar to that of Nazism and communism. And he, like Truman, also designed a strategy for dealing with this threat.”
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of NewsMax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via e-mail. Go here now.
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