So what was his answer? He had faced evil, we were not the cause of it, but we are able to do something about it.
in the last ten months we have stopped seventeen suicide bombers. Either killed or captured before they could reach their targets. These suicide bombers have come from Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Dubai, Chechnya and Germany. These were terrorists that were going to find a target. Somewhere. They chose Afghanistan...I can’t estimate how many children have been saved by us being here, but I can say without a doubt that it is at least one. And in that I have my answer. I am a Father and a Husband. I am a Son and I am a Brother. I know I am loved and I know the sadness it would bring if I were lost. But I am also a Soldier. I have sworn to protect those who cannot protect themselves and I will uphold this oath. Today it was the children in Khost Province, Afghanistan. Last week, Mumbai. Five years ago, London. Seven years ago, New York, Arlington and Pennsylvania. My answers are simple: we do make a difference, blood and treasure has been well spent, the darkest shadows of America can’t compare to the evil that lurks in this world, this is not a war of vengeance, this is a war of good and evil, their hatred is bred and taught, America is not the cause and terror will follow us no matter where we are.
Which brings me to Sam Huntington, the great political scientist who died two days ago. His last work dealt with a “clash of civilizations,” of which he saw many, all over the world, including our war with radical Islam. He saw it very clearly. And yet, he did not think we should tackle the Taliban in Afghanistan in the mid-nineties, for a variety of reasons. I thought at the time that he was wrong, and that he had the categories wrong. We’re not involved so much in a war with a different civilization, we’re in the same war the United States has fought so often: the war of freedom against tyranny, what Sharansky calls the conflict of fear and freedom.
All those killers in Afghanistan, the ones who murdered the schoolchildren, were fighting to create–or recreate–a society in which everyone is dominated by a harsh code of behavior, justified by the divinely decreed necessity of restraining man’s sinful inclinations. That society was, and if they win will be, a brutal tyranny. That it is justified in the name of Islam does not impress me any more than when it was justified by an appeal to race, or Marx, or Hutu supremacy. It is the same old war, and I remain convinced that this concept should underlie American policy in the world. We are obliged to combat tyrants, like it or not. For they will always feel obliged to attack us.
My friend the Soldier in Afghanistan figured it all out in a nanosecond. Let’s hope our leaders finally get it.