Beinart's Wrong Again - The War On Terror Is Not Over

The cliché goes that even a stopped clock is right twice a day.  When one e,xamines the writings of Peter Beinart you have to wonder if Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach would have created that aphorism if she had lived in our day and witnessed the nonsense so many are saying in the aftermath of the slaying of Osama bin Laden.

Beinart's recent rant "The War on Terror Is Over" should require no response and that it does -- after all, no one would respond to a pundit writing in favor of the Flat Earth Society -- is a sure sign of how many Americans live with short term memories and dangerous illusions.

"Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists and every government that supports them. Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated," stated President Bush in his address to a joint session of Congress on September 20, 2001.

Beinart's claim is that "...the war on terror was a way of seeing the world, explicitly modeled on World War II and the Cold War" and that "Bin Laden's death is an opportunity to lay the war on terror to rest as well."

Beinart's idea that the architects of the War on Terror saw this confrontation like previous wars is mistaken.  He has forgotten that President Bush explained to Congress and the American people on that Thursday evening in September that "Americans should not expect one battle but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen."

Bin Laden's death in no way ends this war.

Al Qaeda's terrorist network may be weakened but it should by no means be considered defeated or irrelevant.  Bin Laden, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and Ayman al-Zawahiri spent two decades grooming fighters for international terror and that evil work will continue.  And Beinart admits this in his article.  He writes, "I don't mean that there is no threat of further jihadist attack. In the short term, the threat may even rise. I don't mean that we should abandon all efforts at tracking terrorist cells. Of course not."

The question of what drives Beinart to want to stop using the phrase "War on Terror" remains and this is a more complicated thing.  He claims that the very notion of a "War on Terror" gives rise to the idea "that the struggle against 'radical Islam' or 'Islamofascism' or 'Islamic terrorism' should be the overarching goal of American foreign policy, the prism through which we see the world."

Here too, Beinart fails to grasp something fundamental.  The "overarching goal of American foreign policy" must be American security and not patience for some mythical "Arab Spring" that Beinart mistakenly claims "already rendered [bin Laden] irrelevant."  The greatest threat to American security today is from Al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist organizations.

The inherent danger in Beinart's idea should be obvious: the war is not over because Al Qaeda and its allies have not been eradicated.  As UPI reported: "Hamas officials in Gaza Monday condemned the U.S. attack that killed al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden."  Seeing the war as over will not help this nation to keep vigilant as it must to stay secure.

At the conclusion of his 2008 book The Good Fight: Why Liberals--and Only Liberals--Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again, Beinart lobbied for an immediate exit from Iraq.  (There too Beinart wanted to end an action when it was not in America's best interest.)  He wrote:

There is virtually no chance that Al Qaeda will run Iraq. And while the jihadists will gain propaganda value from claiming they defeated the United States, they will also lose their best recruiting vehicle: the sight of American troops occupying a Muslim country.

And with this line Beinart at once fully exhibited both his lack of common sense and his failure to understand Islamic terrorism.  Al Qaeda never wanted to "run Iraq"; it wanted to commit violence in Iraq.  It wanted to (and still wants to) kill the infidels there.  Al Qaeda did not need any occupation to assist in generating support: Al Qaeda began as an outgrowth of Egyptian Islamic Jihad.  It has never had a manpower problem.

Further, it should be clear that Al Qaeda does not want to "run" America.  Al Qaeda's goal in regard to the U.S. remains what it always has been: to kill Americans.  Beinart seems psychologically incapable of comprehending this.  Perhaps that is why he never understood President George Bush's war and will never find fault with President Barack Obama's outreach to the Muslim world.

Moshe Phillips is the president of the Philadelphia Chapter of Americans for a Safe Israel/AFSI.  The chapter's website is at www.phillyafsi.com.  Moshe's blog can be found at phillyafsi.blogtownhall.com and Moshe tweets at twitter.com/MoshePhillips.
The cliché goes that even a stopped clock is right twice a day.  When one e,xamines the writings of Peter Beinart you have to wonder if Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach would have created that aphorism if she had lived in our day and witnessed the nonsense so many are saying in the aftermath of the slaying of Osama bin Laden.

Beinart's recent rant "The War on Terror Is Over" should require no response and that it does -- after all, no one would respond to a pundit writing in favor of the Flat Earth Society -- is a sure sign of how many Americans live with short term memories and dangerous illusions.

"Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists and every government that supports them. Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated," stated President Bush in his address to a joint session of Congress on September 20, 2001.

Beinart's claim is that "...the war on terror was a way of seeing the world, explicitly modeled on World War II and the Cold War" and that "Bin Laden's death is an opportunity to lay the war on terror to rest as well."

Beinart's idea that the architects of the War on Terror saw this confrontation like previous wars is mistaken.  He has forgotten that President Bush explained to Congress and the American people on that Thursday evening in September that "Americans should not expect one battle but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen."

Bin Laden's death in no way ends this war.

Al Qaeda's terrorist network may be weakened but it should by no means be considered defeated or irrelevant.  Bin Laden, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and Ayman al-Zawahiri spent two decades grooming fighters for international terror and that evil work will continue.  And Beinart admits this in his article.  He writes, "I don't mean that there is no threat of further jihadist attack. In the short term, the threat may even rise. I don't mean that we should abandon all efforts at tracking terrorist cells. Of course not."

The question of what drives Beinart to want to stop using the phrase "War on Terror" remains and this is a more complicated thing.  He claims that the very notion of a "War on Terror" gives rise to the idea "that the struggle against 'radical Islam' or 'Islamofascism' or 'Islamic terrorism' should be the overarching goal of American foreign policy, the prism through which we see the world."

Here too, Beinart fails to grasp something fundamental.  The "overarching goal of American foreign policy" must be American security and not patience for some mythical "Arab Spring" that Beinart mistakenly claims "already rendered [bin Laden] irrelevant."  The greatest threat to American security today is from Al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist organizations.

The inherent danger in Beinart's idea should be obvious: the war is not over because Al Qaeda and its allies have not been eradicated.  As UPI reported: "Hamas officials in Gaza Monday condemned the U.S. attack that killed al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden."  Seeing the war as over will not help this nation to keep vigilant as it must to stay secure.

At the conclusion of his 2008 book The Good Fight: Why Liberals--and Only Liberals--Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again, Beinart lobbied for an immediate exit from Iraq.  (There too Beinart wanted to end an action when it was not in America's best interest.)  He wrote:

There is virtually no chance that Al Qaeda will run Iraq. And while the jihadists will gain propaganda value from claiming they defeated the United States, they will also lose their best recruiting vehicle: the sight of American troops occupying a Muslim country.

And with this line Beinart at once fully exhibited both his lack of common sense and his failure to understand Islamic terrorism.  Al Qaeda never wanted to "run Iraq"; it wanted to commit violence in Iraq.  It wanted to (and still wants to) kill the infidels there.  Al Qaeda did not need any occupation to assist in generating support: Al Qaeda began as an outgrowth of Egyptian Islamic Jihad.  It has never had a manpower problem.

Further, it should be clear that Al Qaeda does not want to "run" America.  Al Qaeda's goal in regard to the U.S. remains what it always has been: to kill Americans.  Beinart seems psychologically incapable of comprehending this.  Perhaps that is why he never understood President George Bush's war and will never find fault with President Barack Obama's outreach to the Muslim world.

Moshe Phillips is the president of the Philadelphia Chapter of Americans for a Safe Israel/AFSI.  The chapter's website is at www.phillyafsi.com.  Moshe's blog can be found at phillyafsi.blogtownhall.com and Moshe tweets at twitter.com/MoshePhillips.