Mark Steyn on 9/11:
In the New York Times, Thomas Friedman wrote: "The failure to prevent Sept. 11 was not a failure of intelligence or coordination. It was a failure of imagination." That's not really true. Islamist terrorists had indicated their interest in U.S. landmarks, and were known to have plans to hijack planes to fly into them. But men like John O'Neill could never quite get the full attention of a somnolent federal bureaucracy. The terrorists must have banked on that: After all, they took their pilot-training classes in America, apparently confident that, even if anyone noticed the uptick in Arab enrollments at U.S. flight schools, a squeamish culture of political correctness would ensure nothing was done about it.
Five years on, half America has retreated to the laziest old tropes, filtering the new struggle through the most drearily cobwebbed prisms: All dramatic national events are JFK-type conspiracies, all wars are Vietnam quagmires. Meanwhile, Ramzi Yousef's successors make their ambitions as plain as he did: They want to acquire nuclear technology in order to kill even more of us. And, given that free societies tend naturally toward a Katrina mentality of doing nothing until it happens, one morning we will wake up to another day like the "day that changed everything." Sept. 11 was less "a failure of imagination" than an ability to see that America's enemies were hiding in plain sight.
Michael Liccione picks up the theme:
Americans and Westerners generally do not, as a whole, seem yet to understand what all the conflict within and about the Middle East has in common. This is not a war about "terrorism," which is only the most obvious weapon wielded by our true enemy. Whether one looks at Iraq, Southern Lebanon, Palestine, Afghanistan, or any place where Islamist terrorism has spilled blood, the enemy is the same: radical Islamic jihadism, whether of the Sunni (Wahhabi) or the Shi'ite variety best represented by Hezbollah and sustained by Iran in Iraq too. The aim of all jihadists is the same: the destruction of Israel and ultimately of the West, making way for the worldwide rule of Islam. . . [T]he trends throughout the Middle East and Southern Asia . . . are toward increasing convergence of jihadist groups. Saddam paid off the families of Palestinian suicide bombers of Israelis and tolerated Iraq's homegrown jihadist group, Ansar al-Sunna. The hydra-headed monster had been, and has since been getting, more cohesive for quite some time. One might argue that the overthrow of Saddam and the subsequent Iraqi insurgency has only accelerated that process; but if it has, that is not such a bad thing. It helps prevent people from sleeping too long.
Wherever there is Islamist terrorism, one finds jihadists from many different countries joining together. We're seeing only the earliest stages of what will, in due course, evolve into a true "clash of civilizations."
At some point those Americans who are playing nicey-nicey -- when they are not imitating ostriches -- will embolden and enable the enemy to do something that not even a Democrat or a Buchananite will tolerate. Fair warning to the enemy. You ain't seen nothin' yet.
A Top-Ten List on Jihad That's Way Too Long and Quite Possibly Too Dour
Who's Going to Win?
World War IV As Fourth-Generation Warfare
The New Juristocracy
Americans Should Not Die for Article 3, Geneva Conventions
The Fallacy of Reciprocity
"For McCain It's Personal" (in Best of the Web)
The Religion of
Peace Firebombs & Fatwas
Our Covert Enemies
Know Your Enemy
Shall We All Hang Separately?
Foxhole Rats, Redux
Know Thine Enemy
The Faces of Appeasement
Whose Liberties Are We Fighting For?
Words for the Unwise
Riots, Culture, and the Final Showdown
More Foxhole Rats
Moussaoui and "White Guilt"
The New York Times: A Hot-Bed of Post-Americanism
Post-Americans and Their Progeny
"Peace for Our Time"
Anti-Bush or Pro-Treason?
Com-Patriotism and Anti-Patriotic Acts
The Problem of Good vs. Evil
A Message to Our Domestic Enemies
Taking on Torture
Conspiracy Theorists' Cousins
Not Enough Boots
Defense as the Ultimate Social Service
I Have an Idea
The Price of Liberty
September 11: Five Years On
How to View Defense Spending
Losing Sight of the Objective