Why We Fight; Why They Won't
Michael Ubaldi, April 17, 2003.
Victor Davis Hanson enthuses about the indelibility of honor in the American spirit, particularly in our armed forces:
[T]he lethality of the military is not just organizational or a dividend of high-technology. Moral and group cohesion explain more still. The general critique of the 1990s was that we had raised a generation with peroxide hair and tongue rings, general illiterates who lounged at malls, occasionally muttering "like" and "you know" in Sean Penn or Valley Girl cadences. But somehow the military has married the familiarity and dynamism of crass popular culture to 19th-century notions of heroism, self-sacrifice, patriotism, and audacity.
Truly evil men, strong or brutal as they may be, fear the loss of what is most important - themselves - with a naked, unreformed terror and will fight endlessly to prevent their incarceration or destruction.
The bloodlust in followers, however, boils up from a belief gained in the midst of besottedness that their consumption of others will be pleasurable in its ease; panic and horror will grip those on whom they prey for all the better devouring.
Followers of terrorism fed for decades upon the West's abject refusal to confront its roots, stems or horrid blossoms. Regimes, fomenting the culture that begets terrorists, were used as pawns in the Cold War. Every president, from Truman to Reagan, sacrified progress in the Near East for advantage against Moscow. The ten years following the death of the Soviet Union were largely wasted. America and her allies sat complacent with its momentary victory over the communist menace, resistent to the cold nature of human life - that yet another challenge, a sleeping evil, would awake from its undisturbed sessility.
All the while, desperate young men with bleak lives sidled their way into terrorism, increasingly unchallenged and ever-confident.
This horrible pride grew to a head, culminating in an attack against the most powerful free nation on earth: and finally capturing its undivided attention.
Those desperate young men who have passed through the doors of Islamist terrorism desire, in their maddened deprivation, to be masters over people of whose lives they envy furiously. Terrorism grew to be popular precisely because its twisted constituents expected no reprisal, having enjoying years and years of safety, in shadows, from a timid, near-sighted quarry. Terrorist disciples wanted effortless pleasure and for quite a long time, found it.
But now they face inevitable, violent termination. Terrorism's not the ghoulish fun it used to be. Selfish gain is no virtue, nor is it something for which any man will die if he needn't - witness the flight of the doomed Ba'athists or agents of al Qaeda; or, like their brethren the Nazis or those basking in the Rising Sun. Faced with the astounding resilience of free men fighting for ideals much larger than themselves, Islamism's toy soldiers will, in ever-increasing numbers, drop the costumes - the pillow cases over the head, the fake coffins, the sky-fired rifles, the chants, the bullhorns, the mock explosives strapped to the waist, the headbands, the parades, the false and utterly demonic credos, the lives spent worshipping evil and toiling for the gain of a few - and run.
If they're lucky, they'll stumble upon the life we bring to them: a life of freedom, an embrace of dignity and a rejection of villainy.
Mock the devil and will flee from you.