December 3, 2009 4:00 AM
The War for 21st-Century Freedom
The Islamists are fighting for control of the world. We need a president who knows it.
By Barbara Lerner
Are you worried — like so many Americans after the Fort Hood massacre — about the growing threat of Islamist subversion and terror here at home? Worried, beyond that, about what we’re doing — or not doing — militarily in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq? Worried about the growing reach and power of Islamist movements in Europe and South America, as well as Asia, the Middle East, and Turkey? Worried about the military alliances Islamist governments are forging with their secular mirror images: socialist-god governments in places like North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela?
Then focus like a laser on Iran, now, because Islamists will score major victories in all those places and more if we fail to prevent the ruling mullahs from openly, triumphantly making Iran the world’s first Islamist nuclear power. The danger isn’t only Iran’s own catastrophic recklessness, once she gets the bomb, or the fact that all her Arab neighbors will respond by scrambling to go nuclear too. It’s also that Islamists everywhere — joined by growing masses of previously undecided Muslims — will see Iran’s success in achieving nuclear status the way Iran’s mullahs see it: as a historic defeat for the West, blasting open the gate to a 21st-century world where Islam rules and Christians, Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists are subservient or worse. Islamist ranks will swell, everywhere, as confidence grows that the Islamist side is the winning side, and victory is near.
THE WAR WE MUST WIN
Most Americans can scarcely imagine an Islamist-ruled world. Most Muslims can, and they respond in one of three ways. Moderate Muslims wholeheartedly reject the Islamist vision and the support for jihad that is inseparable from it; Muslim extremists embrace it, many with growing fervor; and a third group sits on the fence, waiting and watching. Constant politically correct reassurances that only a minority of the world’s Muslims support violence against us are based on the fantasy that only “Islamist extremists” do that; “moderate Islamists” don’t. In fact, there is no such thing as a “moderate Islamist.” All Islamists are extremists. It’s an extreme creed. Moderate Muslims do exist, millions of them, many bravely fighting against the rising Islamist tide, but they aren’t “moderate Islamists.” Moderate Muslims are anti-Islamist Muslims, who oppose the imposition of Sharia and all the oppressive baggage that comes with it. They are on our side — freedom’s side — and we should be on theirs. Instead, we mostly ignore them and fail to heed their warnings, reaching out to “moderate Islamists” instead, welcoming them into our critical institutions — as our military, aided by the FBI, welcomed Major Hasan.
When it comes to Islamists abroad, poll data make it clear that they are the overwhelming majority in the Middle East. Iran and Turkey were the two great Middle Eastern exceptions, as Islamism swamped competing ideologies in all the Arab lands. Iran may still be, if popular majorities in that once great nation were allowed free choice, but they are governed by an Islamist regime more despotic than any Persian shah, ancient or modern. Turkey, once the freest, most proudly westernized and progressive country of them all, is on the verge of the same sorry fate. If you doubt that, look again at the new Turkey, governed by an Islamist party since 2002, a Turkey that is right now preparing to embrace Iran.
Focus like a laser on Iran now, because we have only months — not years — to prevent Iran from blasting through that history-making gate. Don’t waste precious time on the pretense that negotiations and/or sanctions can save us. As John Bolton, Michael Ledeen, Rich Lowry, Andrew McCarthy, and a few other brave souls keep pointing out, we have been negotiating with Islamist Iran for 30 years now, offering the mullahs one sweet deal after another, and getting blow after blow in return. Even if — mirabile dictu — Iran signed an agreement promising to forgo nuclear weapons forever, it would be worth no more than the 1938 Munich agreement. Iran’s mullahs are fanatics, like Hitler, not rational criminals we can make a deal with, as we did with the Soviets. MAD — mutual assured destruction — worked, because the Russians weren’t mad.
As for sanctions, if there ever was a chance they could have worked, even in their most robust form — a complete blockade of Iran’s ports by America and the few allies who might have joined us — that chance is long gone…
WHY WE AREN’T FIGHTING TO WIN
That’s what we need to do, now — deliver a crushing blow to Iran’s Islamists — to begin to turn the tide in the war for the survival of freedom in the world. Religious freedom, after all, is inseparable from freedom itself, the freedom we enjoy because our fathers defended it with America’s full might, twice in the century just past. Tragically, the odds that we will rise to freedom’s defense again in the next few critical months are almost nil. Some in our military and Defense Department are struggling, against the odds, to speed up the delivery of Massive Ordinance Penetrators (MOPs) capable of destroying Iran’s deeply buried nuclear facilities, but they can’t supply our most critical lack.
Eight years after the bloody attack of September 11, 2001, we still don’t have a commander-in-chief willing to order pilots with MOPs into action. Eight years after 9/11, we still don’t have a president willing to face the scope of this war. Our military is the most formidable on the planet still, but we are forcing it to fight piecemeal wars, tied up in peacetime restraints, with murky goals. Eight years after 9/11, we still don’t have the president we need: a president who will rally the country behind our cause — freedom’s cause — and order our fighting men and women to do everything we must do for the victory we must have.
THE PRESIDENT WE NEED
Discouraged? Don’t be. All is not lost, because those who love freedom have two great trump cards: the fundamental honesty and good sense of the American people, and the back-against-the wall courage of the Israeli people.
Let’s deal with the Israelis first, and face the facts. Israel is a small country; her six million cannot do what our 300 million can and must do. They cannot give Iran’s evil government the overwhelming death blow it merits. But they can forestall total disaster by doing enough damage to Iran’s nuclear sites to buy us a little time, and the odds that they will do just that in the next few months are at least 50-50. They have no choice, if they are to survive. Iran has made it clear to anyone who listens that she will use her nuclear weapons to wipe out Israel first, before she uses them against us, most likely in the form of a terrorist attack. If Israel does act to save herself — along with the home and heritage of the Judeo-Christian world — it will give us a second chance to do what we must do to save ourselves and what is left of the free world. That is what we must concentrate on now: how to rally the American people behind a new leader who will fight for America, and for the survival of religious freedom in the world.