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Remembering 9/11 ... At Least for a Day

The United States defeated the ideological threats of the twentieth century because we were unafraid to see evil for what it was -- to diagnose it and understand it. Today, we ignore it, rationalize it, and assume we are somehow to blame for it. For the bipartisan ruling class, 9/11 is about "violent extremism" -- as if irrational, wanton killers, seized by a "psychological disorder," committed mass-murder for no better reason than to visit on the world's most famous office buildings the most shocking case of "workplace violence" in history.

The "violent extremism" narrative is nonsensical. It defies reality as well as history. But it is a convenient fiction. For the Obama Democrats, it miniaturizes the enemy. With the killing of bin Laden, the president can now portray the enemy as defeated -- even as al Qaeda resurges; even as Iraq has become an Iranian-influenced sharia state that works against the U.S. and Israel (remember when “victory” was defined as a “stable” “democracy” that is a “reliable ally”?); and even as Afghan Islamists (a redundancy, I know) turn their weapons on their American trainers, and the administration pleads with the Taliban to negotiate (remember when “victory” was defined as a “stable” “democracy” that “prevents the Taliban from returning and giving safe haven to al-Qaeda again”?). The “violent extremism” canard allows the administration to declare victory even as we are being humiliated.

The Republicans are no better. They want no part of dealing with Islamic supremacist ideology. To see it, diagnose it, and understand it as, say, Reagan did with Soviet communism, would -- they’ve decided -- result in their being slandered as “at war with Islam.” It would, moreover, lay bare the lunacy of the “Islamic democracy” project, which is what became of the incoherent “war on terror” after mid-2003 -- a futile, prohibitively costly debacle. Indeed, it is the ambition of the Republican establishment to double down on this enterprise in Libya and Syria, among other venues, even as we see its wages in Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, and Turkey -- “sharia democracies” that are among the world’s worst human rights violators. Most Americans see an enemy when they look at Saudi Arabia -- where sharia is the only law, where religions other than Islam are banned, where women are systematically abused, from whence Islamic supremacist ideology is propagated throughout the world, and from whence hailed 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers. The Republican establishment looks at Saudi Arabia and sees a “key counterterrorism ally” with whom we may have, you know, a few “minor disagreements.”

In sum, the Obama campaign does not want to talk about national security -- other than “Obama killed Osama” -- because with the Middle East unraveling, with its record of abetting the Muslim Brotherhood’s ascendancy, the president’s claim of success is specious.

The Romney campaign does not want to talk about national security because talking about terrorism reminds people that Obama killed Osama, and talking about “promoting democracy” suggests more Iraqs, Afghanistans, Libyas, and coming soon, Syrias -- self-defeating exercises that most Americans want no part of.