The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing -- Edmund Burke

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Al-Qaeda: Quelled or Just Quiet?

Doug Patton

As It Is

Doug Patton
dpatton@americasvoices.org       
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"It is not enough to fight.  It is the spirit which we bring to the fight that decides the issue.  It is morale that wins the victory."
-- General George C.  Marshall (1880-1959), America's foremost soldier during World War II and diplomat.

January 14, 2003


It has been sixteen months since the worst attack ever on American soil jolted us out of our collective coma and showed us the true nature of Islamic extremism.  A debate rages over what we have learned, if anything.  Opinions across the political spectrum vary on the effectiveness of steps currently being taken, both to prevent another attack and to vanquish our enemies.

One of two things is at work here.  Either we are simply becoming complacent about further terrorist attacks or the Bush Administration is conducting a flawless war on terror—or both.

Americans are among the most impatient people on the planet.  We demand that everything, from our fast food to our financial gains, be immediate.  So, even though none of us will ever forget the horror of airliners flying into buildings, it is not surprising that since September 11, 2001, it has taken us a relatively short time to become lulled into a sense of well being.

Our Islamic enemies, on the other hand, have a very long-range view of things.  It was eight long years between the two attacks on the World Trade Center.  Granted, our interests were assaulted overseas—a fact that seemed to escape the notice of the Clinton Administration—but on our own soil, we had a false sense of security.  Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden spent years plotting the mass murder of Americans.

I have, at times, been mercilessly critical of this country's immigration policy.  Whether it is merely a matter of votes in the next election or President Bush's true compassion toward immigrants desiring a better life, or both, it seems obvious that he has a huge blind spot when it comes to the porous nature of our borders.  How can we win a war on terror when it seems so easy for our enemies to enter our country?

But what if we are actually carrying out an effective war against Al-Qaeda after all?  Is our insatiable American desire for instant everything the real reason for our complacency, or is there something else at work here?  Could it be that we really are doing exactly what needs to be done?

There is a great deal we don't know.  President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Attorney General John Ashcroft, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and others view top-secret documents every day that most Americans will never see.  Could it be that we have become so jaded we don't believe our own government on anything anymore?

There was a time, during World War II, when Americans believed that their leaders had the best interests of the country at heart.  Most people supported their government's actions even when they didn't understand or even see those actions.  Perhaps the president and his cabinet understand exactly what is going on and are dealing with it accordingly.

What if the assault on Afghanistan last year really has wreaked havoc on the forces of Al-Qaeda?  Many assume that because Osama bin Laden was able to hide in mountain caves and to escape capture, that he is as effective as he ever was.  That very well may not be true.  What if he and his minions really are scattered, their communications cut off and their ability to make war disrupted?

What if the Justice Department really is doing the profiling necessary to identify those involved in sleeper cells within the United States?  What if the harassment of little old ladies in airports is simply the politically correct nonsense it appears to be?

What if, at the end of the day, the government of George W. Bush is fulfilling its oath of office?  What if?

 

Copyright © Copyright © 2020 by Doug Patton & America's Voices, Inc.  All rights reserved.
Doug Patton is a freelance columnist who has served as a speechwriter and policy advisor for federal, state and local candidates, elected officials and public policy organizations.  He is a senior writer at GOPUSA, and his weekly columns are published in newspapers across the country, on selected Internet websites, including www.GOPUSA.com, and on America's Voices where he writes the weekly column
"As It Is".  Doug also writes for the Talon News Service.  Readers can e-mail him at dpatton@americasvoices.org.

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