Let me draw your attention to a brilliant column by Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff in today’s Washington Post.
Since Sept. 11, a conspiracy-minded fringe has claimed that American officials plotted the destruction. But when scholars such as Zbigniew Brzezinski accuse our leaders of falsely depicting or hyping a “war on terror” to promote a “culture of fear,” it’s clear that historical revisionism has gone mainstream.
We are at war with a distinct global movement and ideology whose members seek to advance their totalitarian aims through terrorism. Brzezinski is deeply mistaken to mock the notion that we are at war and to suggest that we should adopt “more muted reactions” to acts of terrorism.
Why anyone is surprised is beyond me. Brzezinski’s boss is none other than our foremost traitorous and anti-Semitic ex-President, Jimmy Carter.
A sensible strategy against al-Qaeda and others in its ideological terror network begins with recognizing the scope of the threat they pose. Al-Qaeda and its ilk have a world vision that is comparable to that of historical totalitarian ideologues but adapted to the 21st-century global network.
Is this actually a war? Well, the short answer comes from our enemies. Osama bin Laden’s fatwa of Feb. 23, 1998, was a declaration of war, a self-serving accusation that America had somehow declared war on Islam, followed by a “ruling” to “kill the Americans and their allies — civilians and military . . . in any country where it is possible to do it.”
Simply put, our foes have declared their intent to make war, have demonstrated a capability to prosecute war and have laid on us the horrific consequences commensurate with war.
This globalized war has theaters from traditional battlefields in Afghanistan and Iraq to the streets and alleys of cities where al-Qaeda-trained killers lurk. Moreover, this war cannot be won by arms alone; “soft” power matters. In these ways, our current struggle resembles the Cold War. As with the Cold War, we must respond globally. As with the Cold War, ideas matter as much as armaments. And as with the Cold War, this war requires our patience and resolve.
Perhaps the rhetoric of war makes Brzezinski and others uncomfortable. But history teaches that the false comfort of complacency is a dangerous indulgence in the face of a determined enemy.
Chertoff gets it.
More importantly, Bin Ladin gets it. The Islamists plotting American murders on a daily basis do too.
So should you.