Thursday, January 18, 2007
As we enter the sixth year without a terrorist attack on United States soil, the pain and devastation of 9/11 remains unforgettable. But despite our memory of that day, there is danger that our success in thwarting additional attacks may eventually cause us to let our guard down. That’s just what the enemy is counting on.
Who is the enemy? We know them by various names; al Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Ansar al-Islam, Hezbollah, Hamas and many others. Occasionally, we see pictures of these groups in the press or media, mixed in with the other news of the day. But to really know and understand them is to realize that the threat to our country remains great.
In a documentary titled, “Obsession-Radical Islam’s War Against the West,” the threat to the United States and the rest of western civilization is depicted in a jarring, disturbing reality. And although there is a cost for the one hour documentary, the trailer on the web site (www.obsessionthemovie.com) is enough to tell a very chilling story.
The documentary shows a culture of terror that is being taught to a generation of Muslim youth. At the heart of this culture is the proposition that America is the great Satan and must be destroyed. It is the basis for the indoctrination of ten-year old Muslim youth to a life dedicated to terror. And it is being taught to these children as matter-of-factly as our children learn the alphabet.
If you watch the documentary, you must ask yourself where these children will be in five, ten or fifteen years from now. What is being done to protect our country now and in the future? It is naïve to believe that the threat from radical fundamentalists is going away anytime soon. And that makes it imperative that the protections against terror implemented since 9/11 remain in the forefront of our political debates.
But with the passage of time, the lack of a 9/11 repeat, a new Congress and a new presidential debate heating up, I am afraid that our attention is easily turning to other matters. No one should be lulled into thinking that the terrorists have given up on their intention to strike America again. We learned from 9/11 that the fanatical jihadists are not disillusioned by failure and can take years to plan what Usama bin Laden would call a “spectacular event”. In fact, the 9/11 Commission Report points out that plans to attack the World Trade Center a second time began as early as 1995.
And for every successful strike, such as the bombings in London, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Madrid, or for every failed plot, such as the plans to flood lower Manhattan by bombing the Holland tunnel, planning begins anew. We all remember the bombing of the USS Cole in October, 2000, but few remember that this bombing was preceded by a failed attempt ten months earlier against the destroyer, USS The Sullivans in the same Yemen port where the Cole docked later that year. The January attempt failed when the terrorist’s bomb-laden craft sunk before reaching its target. But after the Cole attack, the ranks of al Qaeda swelled as fanatical Muslims flocked to bin Laden and his cause and today nearly seven years later, those like him are still out there, still recruiting, and still plotting. So, whether you watch the Obsession documentary, follow daily news reports or study our history, you must realize that the threat against the west by radical Islamic fundamentalists is today more aggressive as ever. And unlike World War I or II, Korea or Viet Nam… this is an unconventional enemy that you can’t see or touch, that wants to die for their cause and prays everyday that they get to do so. It is an enemy with a hatred for America and the west that we have yet to understand. Most importantly, let us not forget that they are not only at war with America, but also with western culture and civilization. They are also at war with their own… other Muslims with which they differ in belief.
That is the enemy… that is the threat. As they continue to plan and plot against us, I have to wonder… do we have the courage, the patience or the resolve to fight the fight that must be fought in the years to come.