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Columns : Editorial

Get Real, America

It's time to say who we're really fighting in the war on terrorism and to take steps to stop their attacks.

September 01, 2006  |  by - Also by this author

Five years. We've been officially under attack by Muslim terrorists for five years. Actually, they've been trying to kill us for a lot longer; it's just we decided to take notice when they hit us really hard five years ago.

We took notice. And then we went back to doing what we do: Squabbling with each other over politics, spending more money than we have, enjoying the good life, and denying that we're in danger.

The majority of Americans don't take this war seriously. Part of the problem is that we can't say who we're fighting. In World War II, we fought the Germans, Japanese, Italians, and a number of lesser players aligned with the Axis powers. In Korea, we fought the North Koreans and the Chinese. Even in Vietnam, we could say who we were fighting: We were fighting the Vietcong, the North Vietnamese, and various other communist-aligned forces.

But now we're fighting the Global War on Terrorism. What the hell does that mean? Terrorism isn't an enemy. It isn't even the name of an enemy force. Terrorism is a tactic in which vile human beings attack innocents to intimidate them and exert their political will. How the hell do you fight that?

I have a lot of concerns about our now five-year-old war on terror. But the biggest is that we can't even come out and say who we're fighting. Many people don't take this war seriously because our leadership has not had the guts to come out and say who we're fighting.

After the recent arrests of young Muslim men in England who were plotting to detonate bombs in trans-Atlantic flights as they arrived in U.S. cities, President Bush angrily labeled the enemy Islamofascists. The result was a firestorm of protests from American Muslim mouthpieces like the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) that claimed there's nothing Islamic about fascism. Bush withdrew his statement and apologized. This is the same president who spent a lot of time after 9/11 running around saying that Islam is a religion of peace.

Mr. President, I understand why you did that. There are many peace-loving Muslims out there, some of them are good Americans, others are our allies around the world, and we don't want to label them the enemy. But let's not confuse Islam with Buddhism, OK? Conquest and enslavement of infidels is a constant theme in Muslim history. And it's time that our leaders stop pussyfooting around this issue.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time parsing the term Islamofascist. Literally and historically, it doesn't work. But what it does do is equate the growing conquest ideology that is sweeping the Muslim world with our past totalitarian enemies. So for that reason, it's as good a term as any.

Having a name for the enemy is critical in this war. Because it's time we got real about it. And naming the enemy is the first step.

Step number two is to start taking the enemy seriously and improving our defenses. One, we need to be a lot more careful about who we let into the country. In John Giduck's "Terror at Beslan," (POLICE, September 2006) there's a chilling comment about the number of Chechens (Russian Muslims) who are still immigrating to the United States, even after 9/11 and the Beslan school siege. If you think about that too long, it will keep you up at night.

We also have to be a lot more careful about who we let fly in this country. I know that, as Americans, we have a kind of national guilt about racism and racial profiling. But this is making it real easy for the bad guys. Anyone flying into this country or around this country on a passport from a majority Muslim country should undergo a thorough background check and preflight interview. If this is profiling, too bad. It's time to get real about this threat.

Finally, we have to get real about our borders. It's a known fact that Arabs with bad intent are coming into this country from Mexico and Canada. Yet, our borders remain the soft underbelly of American defense. You can bet that the next major terrorist attack that kills America's first responders and civilians will involve personnel and assets that came into the country over our northern or southern borders.

It's time to get real, America. We've been in this war for five years, and we are still an easy target.

Tags: Preventing Terrorism, Racial Profiling, Islamist Terrorists, Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)

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