Victor Davis Hanson: World at WarPosted: September 10, 2014
For Defining Ideas, Victor Davis Hanson writes: Will the United States in its near future be hit again in the manner of the 9/11 attacks of thirteen years ago? The destruction of the World Trade Center, the suicide implosions of four passenger airliners, and the attack on the Pentagon unfortunately have become far-off memories. They are now more distant from us than was the Vietnam War was from the Korean War.
“Drone strikes continue at a vastly accelerated pace under President Obama, but they also raise existential hypocrisies about our approach to terrorism.”
Two questions will determine whether radical Islamic terrorists will attack us once more: one, are the post-9/11 anti-terrorism protocols that have so far stopped major terrorist attacks still viable and effective, and, two, is Al-Qaeda or an analogous Islamic terrorist organization now still as capable as were Osama bin Laden’s henchmen in 2001?
Unfortunately, the answers to those two questions should raise great concern. Take the current status of the so-called war on terror in all of its manifestations. The southern border of the United States is less guarded than at anytime since 9/11.
For all practical purposes, enforceable immigration laws simply no longer exist. The result is that we have no idea who is crossing into the United States or for what purposes.
“The President’s six years of concentrated Islamic outreach has not won over the Muslim Middle East.”
Some of the Bush-Cheney anti-terrorism protocols are still in operation—renditions, preventative detention, the Guantanamo detention center, and the Patriot Act. However, the NSA, IRS, and VA scandals, along with the Edward Snowden and Wikileaks revelations, have created an understandably strong public backlash against government surveillance, which will lead to new protocols limiting our ability to monitor terrorist suspects.
“More disturbing, these efforts may have instead given the region an impression of administration confusion or even apology.”
Many other anti-terrorism procedures have been weakened, circumvented, or caricatured to the point of making them irrelevant. Foreign terrorists, for example—like the murderers of U.S. personnel in Benghazi—expect to be tried in civilian courts with all the rights of U.S. citizens. We are not bringing apprehended terrorists to Guantanamo, but instead insidiously releasing them, most notoriously swapping five Taliban terrorist kingpins for probable U.S. Army deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl—a precedent that may have encouraged ISIS to put up captured American journalists on the trading block in expectation of concessions….(read more)