So in today's New York Times Sunday Review, David Rieff provides some insights on the state of terrorism that we are living with.
Two very concerning points he makes:
1) A resignation that not much can be done: There are limited security resources, but infinite points for terrorists to strike. As he says, "Not all these attacks can be stopped....there is no way to police every subway station, cafe, and public square."
2) Many of our leaders are in convenient denial or disengaged: They see the daily terrorist attacks and their response is a rote rejoinder to either join for a brief memorial, slough it off altogether, or even make a joke of it (as if murder is a laughing matter). Rieff repeats even a recent interview with President Obama where he makes light of the impact of terrorism in that doesn't pose "an existential threat to the United States of the world order." Unless of course, it escalates and involves weapons of mass destruction or potentially taking out significant portions of our nation's critical infrastructure.
This just seems so different that how our nation has raised itself up in past conflicts and to win them:
In World War II, the Allies were committed to defeat Nazi Germany, and they did, including through D-Day, one of largest and bloodiest invasions in history.
President Reagan helped win the Cold War, by labeling the Soviets the "evil empire" and setting America on a major military buildup, one that the Soviet Union could not afford and eventually withdrew from.
After 9/11, President Bush vowed that we would get Osama Bin Laden "dead or alive," no matter how long it takes, and eventually we did!
Over and over, the odds were not great and the stakes were enormous, but a positive attitude and the commitment to win took us a long way.
In contrast now a attitude of defeatism has set in with Rieff declaring that "the stark truth is that the number and lethality of terrorist attacks are far likelier to rise than to diminish in the near future," and as he quotes the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls as saying, "Times have changed, and we should learn to live with terrorism."
How can anyone agree with that--should we really resign ourselves to learn to live with random acts of violence, murder, and terror?
Rieff ends with that "the best we can hope for is to hold on to enough of our humanity to have a chance of clawing back the rest when the war ends, as all wars do."
I do not believe that this is good enough!
Not identifying the enemy, disengaging from global events or leading from behind, appeasement of sworn enemies, removing sanctions and releasing terrorists from GITMO, getting soft on terror saying it's not so bad out there that "the birds were [still] chirping and the sun was out,", and giving up on defeating it...is a losing attitude and proposition and one that will only result in more heartbreaking and innocent deaths.
Dismissing or belittling the issue, defeatism, and jokes will not defeat terrorism, but a commitment to do whatever it takes to save lives and protect our nation will, as has been the case from Hitler to Bin Laden, and so it will be again. ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)