BY DANIEL GREENFIELD
…On 9/11 we did not turn the corner. We were forced around it, dragged around it, by the brutal atrocities committed by a small group that is only a finger of the vast dark hand sweeping across the globe. Some of us woke up and rushed toward the rubble and the smoke, some hurried back the other way, away from all the disturbance eager to leave the memory of it behind.
And that is where we are now.
The enemy we have been fighting all this time is only the most brutal, radical and impatient, relentless and daring part of the horde that is breaking across Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and America. This is a clash of civilizations. The thousands dead on 9/11 and the thousands more dead since then, are only a small down payment on the horrors to come.
While we spend fortunes to build nations, the horde is building its own nations in the cities of Europe and in the old manufacturing centers of America, in Gaza and in the south of Thailand. Their nations are not concerned with electricity or democracy. The ballot box is no different to them than a box of bullets, all tools to leverage in order to gain dominance and power. And though most of us may not understand the war or even be aware of the war, the war goes on.
It is not only a war fought with falling towers. It is also a war fought with billboards and acid to the face, with bribes carefully dispensed and with smuggling operations moving cigarettes, slaves and heroin across borders. It is a war fought with Fatwahs and the severed heads of schoolgirls. It is fought with polygamy and pregnancies. With IED’s and soft spoken words about the Religion of Peace. And on every front we are losing the war, for the simple reason that we refuse to fight.
And so America turns away from the falling ash and the horror. From the covered heads, the flames and the grinning killers. There are new movies and shows to watch. New Twitter feuds and culture wars. New distractions and new escapes. We are poorer and weaker, but still trying to escape from History, capital H, by resorting to history, small h. As if a nation can be great and not assailed by foes. As if a nation can be strong and rich without inspiring greed and hate. As if a superpower can stand between two fires, pacifying those who hate it and still having plenty for itself. As if there is any escape from the real world… just waiting around the corner.
Two kinds of peoples lose wars. Those who lack the physical resources to defeat their enemies and those who lack the cultural resources to defeat them. We do not lack the physical resources, but our culture is the culture of the ostrich, a head stuck inside the internet and a body left vulnerable to whoever will have it.
There is one thing and only one thing alone that we can do to survive. Turn the corner. The ostrich is an endangered bird in the Middle East where sticking your head in the sand is no defense against those who would chop it off. Soon it will be an endangered bird everywhere else. There is no escape from those who would kill us, but that we kill them first. The failure to understand that is the failure to survive.
On September 11, 2009, that inescapable choice was put before every single American. Turn the corner before it is too late….
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