Ten Years Later, 9/11 Reveals Depth of American Decline
On December 7, 1941, the Empire of Japan attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor. The attack took place on a remote U.S. territory 2,500 miles from the American mainland. The targets were entirely military; of the 2,400 killed, virtually all were active duty military personnel.
In response to the attack, Congress officially declared war. The U.S. conscripted 12 million into the armed forces out of a population of 140 million. With unprecedented unity, Americans -- rich and poor, Republican and Democrat -- answered the call. President Franklin Roosevelt, serving an unheard-of third term, put the economy on a total war footing. Ford and GM ceased producing cars and made B-24 Liberators and M1 Carbines instead. Citizens of Japanese descent were interned for the duration of the war, an action fully sanctioned by Article 1, Sec. 9 of the U.S. Constitution.
No one called Roosevelt a dictator or likened him to Adolf Hitler.
America fought not just Japan, but fascism everywhere. American ground forces first engaged the Vichy French, who never attacked us, in North Africa. They subsequently invaded Italy, which also never attacked us. And they defeated Hitler's Nazi Germany, which likewise never attacked us, nearly four months before dropping two atomic bombs on Japan, which had fought the war utilizing religion-inspired suicide attacks and fanatical banzai charges.
All of this was accomplished in less than four years.
On September 11, 2001, the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. were attacked with aircraft hijacked by suicidal terrorists inspired by Islamic zeal. Nearly three thousand were killed. The vast majority were civilians. A fourth aircraft, which crashed in Shanksville, Pa., is thought to have been headed for the White House. The targets were the economic, political, and military nerve centers in the heart of the United States. In terms of the number of casualties, number of civilians killed, and the importance of the targets, 9/11 was far worse than Pearl Harbor Day.
And what was our response?
President George W. Bush went to an Islamic center and announced that "Islam is [a religion of] peace." The president told us to carry on as normal and "get down to Disney World in Florida." He created a massive new federal bureaucracy named the "Department of Homeland Security," a name that sounds like it could have come straight from the pages of a dystopian novel like Brave New World or 1984.
Instead of conscripting millions of troops into the military from our 300-million-plus population, we sent a few thousand volunteers to topple the government of Afghanistan -- without a congressional declaration of war. Ten years later, over 100,000 American troops are still there. We then sent 150,000 volunteers to topple Saddam Hussein in Iraq, who was known to have had a nuclear weapons program, anthrax, nerve gas, and chemical gas, the last of which he had actually used. We didn't want these weapons to fall into terrorist hands. After all, on Dec. 16, 1998 (just when the House was considering articles of impeachment), hadn't Democratic President Bill Clinton ordered a bombing campaign against Iraq, justifying it on the fact that Saddam had never surrendered his weapons of mass destruction? Republicans stood with him.
Instead of rallying to the president as the nation had done in 1941, Democrats shamelessly politicized 9/11. Senate Democrats who had voted to authorize the war in Iraq called Bush a "liar," and Sen. Dick Durbin likened U.S. troops to Nazis. The communist and socialist left engaged in mass demonstrations worldwide, caricaturing Bush (not Saddam, who had tortured and killed some 300,000 Iraqis during his rule) as the new Hitler. College professors openly sided with the enemy and celebrated the attack on the Pentagon. Media elites agreed to ban images of 9/11 from television broadcasts, but endlessly displayed images of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and falsely reported that U.S. troops had flushed a Koran down a toilet.
Left-wing Democrats charged that terrorist surveillance methods had "shredded the Constitution" and that the USA Patriot Act had created a "fascist state." But the Democrats used those very same methods to track and kill Osama bin Laden after they took power in 2008, and they never bothered to repeal the USA Patriot Act they had so vociferously railed against. They brayed against an intolerance and "Islamophobia" that did not exist, and the Department of Homeland Security profiled white male war veterans -- like Timothy McVeigh, who killed less than one-fifteenth the number of people killed by Islamists on 9/11 -- as the most likely terrorists.
Seven years after 9/11, the U.S. elected a president whose middle name is "Hussein," whose father and stepfather were Muslim, who spent the formative years of his youth in Muslim nations, and who stated that "one of the prettiest sounds on Earth is the Muslim call to prayer." Barack Obama promptly went to Cairo to tell Muslims that "the U.S. is not at war with Islam" and that "the U.S. is not a Christian nation."
Imagine, if you can, that in 1948 we were still at war with Japan; Pearl Harbor had not yet been rebuilt; and that we elected someone named Harry Yamamoto Truman, who had spent his youth in Japan, said "the U.S. is not a Christian nation" and "one of the prettiest sights in the world is Mt. Fuji" and put open gays in the Marine Corps and women on submarines. Imagine that a Japanese-American soldier massacred 13 fellow troops at Ft. Hood, and that Gen. MacArthur responded by saying, "It would be an even greater tragedy if this caused diversity to suffer."
Like the Sack of Rome, 9/11 was an attack by barbarian invaders who could never defeat the world's most powerful military in a set-piece battle. Yet they caused destruction to the U.S. that Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany could not, and our response was pathetic. Had the Soviet Union destroyed the World Trade Center and the Pentagon during the Cold War, it would have precipitated an all-out nuclear exchange. Today we'd have a sensitivity seminar to combat Russophobia. September 11 revealed the extraordinary rot and weakness of our society. We -- like our ancient Roman predecessors -- are more concerned with bread and circuses than national honor and security.
If the World War II generation was "The Greatest Generation," their baby-boom offspring upon whose watch 9/11 occurred are "The Weakest and Most Narcissistic Generation." Instead of unifying the nation, the political left manipulated the worst attack on the American mainland since the War of 1812 with shameless demagoguery. Why? As historian John Lukacs has written, the left everywhere is motivated by fear.
After 9/11, the left (which had undertaken a largely-successful 40-year campaign to undermine American values and American patriotism) was terrified to see Americans rally to the flag, to the military, and to patriotic values. The lesson of 9/11 is this: the American left fears the American right more than it fears Islamic terrorism. It fears patriotism and nationalism more than Sharia law. The left would rather appease Islamic militants than rally to a conservative American president from the Republican Party who believes in the U.S. Constitution and in Jesus Christ. September 11 revealed that the U.S. is a disunited society riven by factionalism and narcissism. Consequently, it cannot -- and ultimately will not -- survive.
On 9/11, actual terrorists hijacked airliners filled with hundreds of civilian men, women, and children and murdered those innocents by smashing them into the World Trade Center. As the Twin Towers erupted in flames, office workers trapped on the upper floors faced a horrifying choice: would they rather burn to death, or jump a hundred stories to the pavement?
Hundreds jumped. Some held hands on the way down.
Ten years later, the vice president of the United States said that congressional Republicans who balked at raising the national debt ceiling to an obscene $16 trillion were "acting like terrorists."
There is no better proof of American decline than that.