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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.

On the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, instead of stories about the jihad threat and how it can be defeated or at least contained, the media posted articles that would give an uninformed observer the impression that 3,000 Muslims were killed on 9/11. The media preoccupation today is almost entirely with Muslims as victims:

“Muslim Americans still struggle with hate crimes, 15 years after 9/11,” claimed AOL.

“For many Muslims, especially those born after Sept. 11, Islamophobia seems to be a fact of life,” lamented the Huffington Post.

The Washington Post ran a piece by Rep. Keith Ellison:

I’m the first Muslim in Congress. I believe America can beat Islamophobia. Fifteen years after 9/11, American Muslims have seen both progress and peril.

After Fort Hood, and Boston, and Garland, and Chattanooga, and San Bernardino, and Orlando, and Paris, and Brussels, and Nice, and so very many others, this myopia is ludicrous to the point of being grotesque.

And it is the key reason why this war drags on, fifteen years after 9/11: millions unthinkingly accept the dogma that to speak honestly and accurately about the jihadis’ motives and goals is to descend into “racism” and “bigotry,” and to endanger innocent Muslims.

Fifteen years after jihadis murdered nearly 3,000 Americans, it is still almost unheard-of for there to be an honest discussion of jihadi motives and goals in the mainstream.

The free West is dug in: wholeheartedly committed to denial, willful ignorance, and policies that are self-defeating to the point of suicidal. In light of that, the wonder is not that this war has lasted so long, but that we have held out so long.

Unless the political landscape changes considerably and this denial is decisively rejected and discarded, much darker days are coming.