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Over three-and-a half centuries ago, exhausted from decades-long religious warfare, treaties brought peace to Europe while establishing an international system of sovereign nation states. Those documents signed at Westphalia started to develop rules of war between nations, which were later refined by conventions established in the Swiss city of Geneva.
Almost three quarters of a century ago (seventy-four years yesterday), on a quiet Sunday morning, the nation woke up to the news that a bit of American soil of which most had never heard — Pearl Harbor in Hawaii — had been attacked by the Imperial Navy of Japan, killing thousands of American sailors and others, and severely disabling our Pacific fleet. Had our aircraft carriers been additional targets at harbor rather than out at sea, the situation would have been far more dire.
As Don Surber notes, the FBI did not get involved, and no one asked what “their motive” was. Instead, before the week was out, we had declared war on Japan and, after their totalitarian ally declared war on us, on Nazi Germany as well. Along with allies, we went on to win it decisively, establishing modern peaceful democracies in the defeated lands. It was the last time to date that we have done so. Our nation has been involved in armed combat in the defense of freedom against totalitarianism many times over the decades since, and lost tens of thousands of American lives in the process, but we have never formally declared war and, more importantly, never been allowed to actually win one. From Korea, to Vietnam, the superpower that emerged from that global conflict was constrained by threats of nuclear annihilation or the dictates of the dictators’ club that we established at Turtle Bay seven decades ago.
In 1979, a totalitarianism both new and ancient arose in Iran, seizing our embassy and taking our diplomats hostage, holding them for over a year. The America of 1941 would have considered that an act of war, but the feckless president we had elected — partly on the basis of his warnings about our “inordinate fear of communism” — sent in an ineffectual “rescue mission” and wrung his hands in the Rose Garden.
Even with the collapse of the Soviet Union “without firing a shot” (as Lady Thatcher, one of its architects, along with Ronald Reagan and the Pope, famously said), our hands remained tied. With a broad international coalition against a brutal dictator in Iraq a quarter of a century ago, there was still no declaration of war, the dictator was left in place, and the situation festered for years, with the continuing connivance of the United Nations, in both the General Assembly and the Security Council.
A little over fourteen years ago, there was another attack on American soil killing thousands, this time by a totalitarian so-called “non-state actor.” Besides destroying the World Trade Center, the attack left the legacy of Westphalia in complete ruins. This was compounded by the utter collapse of the Geneva Conventions, in that actual war crimes by the totalitarian murderers — hiding weapons in mosques, hospitals, and ambulances, and using civilians, including women and children, as shields for warriors — are ignored. In contrast, western democracies, such as the US and Israel, which take the greatest pains to minimize civilian casualties, are the only ones actually accused of war crimes by the corrupt international system.
In response to that attack, in an effort to “transform” the region in the hope of creating less-fertile soil for such entities, the Iraqi dictator is finally removed, but the aftermath is totally botched.
Enter the Light Bringer, a silver-tongued orator, raised partly in an Islamic land, and by communists who believed that our own country was the primary cause of the world’s ills. Elected by a war-weary nation, uninformed and malinformed by a media that refused to vet his past, or covers up for it, he believes his role is not to win wars (because our nation, with its unjust and immoral past, is far too benighted to allow any more of that) but to simply “end” them, not understanding that wars do not end until both sides agree. Like Canute, he claims that he can roll back the tide, not just of the oceans, but of American imperialism. Unlike Canute, he believes it.
His delusions are shared. In anticipation of his coming miracles, he is awarded with a Nobel Peace Prize. He precipitously withdraws American troops from Iraq to “end” the war, leaving a power vacuum that is quickly filled by what he — after taking care to cocoon himself from any contradictory intelligence from below — bravely declares the “Jayvee Team,” which takes over and controls vast swaths of territory. It declares itself a state, and proceeds to enslave, rape, behead, literally crucify, immolate alive any non-adherents to its totalitarian ideology masquerading as a religion. It orchestrates attacks on Western civilians in Egypt, in Paris…in California.
And our president’s response?
He goes on television from the Oval Office and tells us that it’s our fault. We must, per his Attorney General’s command (and in defiance of the First Amendment), pull our punches on Islam. We have too many guns, and he and the New York Times agree that (in defiance of the Second Amendment), they must be confiscated. Our ability to maintain our Constitutional rights in general (in defiance of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments) will be dependent on whether or not we have been arbitrarily placed on a list of enemies, without due process or recourse, that he controls.
His solution, you see, to this generation’s multiple Pearl Harbors, is not to declare war on the states that have been attacking us (or supporting those attacks), and decisively defeat them. It is instead to disarm us, both literally and ideologically. Had Franklin Roosevelt done such things, he would no doubt have been impeached and removed from office, by his own majority party. But I guess we live in different times.Published in