Saying No to Terrorism

Over the next few weeks you are going to hear lots of talk about whether the president has a mandate and what, if any, message the voters were sending. Much of it will be self-promoting spin. But there is one unmistakable message sent on Tuesday: the one sent to Islamo- fascists like Osama bin Laden and those who would coddle them. As you may remember -- though the press did its best to bury it -- the weekend before the election, bin Laden inserted himself into the campaign by videotape. It was a blatant appeal to the American people to throw President Bush out. Bin Laden's message was, in effect, "leave us alone, and we'll leave you alone." Of course, this is a farce, but had President Bush been beaten, bin Laden would have taken that as a triumph. Earlier this year, remember, Islamo-fascists succeeded in overthrowing a Spanish government that supported the president's policies in the war on terror. Now, bin Laden would have argued that the same had happened here in America. Had Bush been defeated, it would have been an emboldening of terrorists, unless John Kerry had unequivocally stated that he was going to pursue President Bush's policies. If you doubt this, remember how we reacted in Somalia, or at the Marine barracks in Lebanon, or the bombings of our embassies in East Africa, or Yemen and the USS Cole, or in our lack of response to the first World Trade Center bombings in 1993. In each of those instances, American lack of resolution led bin Laden to conclude that the United States was decadent and didn't have the will to fight and resist him. Liberal and conservative analysts, like Professor Bernard Lewis at Princeton, the leading Islamic scholar, agree that bin Laden's conclusion from this led to the events of September 11. And there's no reason to believe that his thinking has changed. A show of weakness by the American people would only have encouraged further attacks. It's also important to remember bin Laden's true ambitions. Unlike some terrorists for whom violence is an illegitimate means to what are arguably legitimate ends, what drives Islamo-fascists like bin Laden is resentment. It's this kind of resentment that, as Bernard Lewis tells us, will never be placated by concessions. If we take bin Laden at his word, and there's no good reason not to, he wants to re-establish the dar al-Islam, the rule of Islam, from the Persian Gulf to the Iberian Peninsula. When bin Laden speaks of the "tragedy of Andalusia," he is not being ironic. When he calls even nominal Christians "crusaders," he is not indulging in hyperbole. This is how he and his kind see the world. The European governments, who don't seem to understand this, are committing a kind of suicide. Thankfully, the message from this side of the Atlantic, at least for now, is, "You cannot interfere with our elections, and we are still willing to fight." As one Pennsylvania woman told the New Republic, despite her disagreements with the president, she didn't want "to send the wrong message to Islamic fundamentalists." Well, we sent the right one, one that understands that while what we're doing is messy and costly, it's the only way to protect the security of America. For further reading and information: Ron Fournier and Nedra Pickler, "Candidates scrap over Osama tape," Salt Lake Tribune, 2 November 2004. "President Bush Discusses Iraq Policy at Whitehall Palace in London," White House Office of the Press Secretary, 19 November 2003. BreakPoint Commentary No. 040516, "An Ill Wind from Spain: Terrorists and the Democratic Process." BreakPoint Commentary No. 020722, "Decline and Ascendance: Christendom and Islam." (Free registration required.) BreakPoint Commentary No. 030723, "A Necessary Show of Strength: Intelligence, Just War, and Iraq." Daniel Benjamin and Gabriel Weimann, "What the Terrorists Have in Mind," New York Times, 27 October 2004. (Free registration required.) Noelle Knox, "World leaders offer congratulations to Bush," USA Today, 3 November 2004. Call 1-877-322-5527 to request the "9/11 Worldview Resource Kit" which includes the book Is the Father of Jesus the God of Muhammad?, the booklet When Night Fell on a Different World, and a BreakPoint CD containing two September 11- related interviews with Chuck Colson.


Chuck Colson


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