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Why the War On Terror Has Taken 15 Years, and Will Take Much Longer

This war has gone on for a very long time, and last Sunday, the 15th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 jihad attacks, among all the reminiscences, and eulogies, and encomia, virtually no one attempted to explain why.

There’s a simple reason this topic wasn’t discussed: among our political and media “elites,” no one knows the answer.

Even the most dire estimates of exactly how long this is going to take have fallen wide of the mark. General Petraeus said in 2010 that it could take another ten years to defeat the Afghan “insurgency.” Do you think the Taliban is likely to be disbanded and Afghanistan to be a stable, functioning republic in 2020?

In 2007, Britain’s security chief, Admiral Lord Alan West, said it could take 30 years to defeat terrorism in the United Kingdom. Do you think that in 2037, Britain will be peaceful and free of jihad terrorists?

The very idea is preposterous, and it is preposterous for the same reason that 15 years after 9/11, no one knows why this strange war has lasted so long.

West said more in that 2007 interview:

I now realize that we are talking about a generation -- and by that I would say 30 years. That doesn’t mean necessarily that we are going to stay at a severe level of threat for all those years. But to be able to say one has absolutely changed the mind-set and thought of people IS going to take a generation.

West nailed the answer there -- but no one seemed to notice.

Because nothing, nothing whatsoever, is being done in Britain or anywhere else to change “the mind-set and thought of people.”

That is precisely why, fifteen years after 9/11, the West is weaker and more vulnerable than ever.

The entirety of Western intelligentsia, the totality of our political and media elites, steadfastly refuses to acknowledge exactly what the “mindset and thought” of the terrorists really is, and where it comes from. Because of that refusal, policies that don’t deal with the actual problem keep being applied and re-applied -- at the cost of thousands of American lives, billions of American dollars -- and we have nothing to show for this expenditure besides a sharp and continuing loss of American power and prestige.

The jihadis who struck the U.S. on September 11, 2001 have made such immense advances since then not because they are strong, or clever, or capable, but because we are weak, short-sighted, and resolute. Resolute not in fighting them, but in maintaining our denial about who they are and what they want.

The denial is so complete that we have taken numerous steps to actually enable them to achieve their goals: the billions gifted to the Islamic Republic of Iran and the welcoming of the massive Muslim migrant influx are just two of the most recent examples.