Are We Losing the War on Terror?

The following article is used with permission. If you don’t have the time or inclincation to read the entire post, please consider this question:

How does giving up the very freedoms terrorists seek to destroy equal victory?

Losing The War On Terror?

I’m here to remind people that the best way to fight terrorism is to not let terrorism intimidate America.       President George W. Bush, Sept. 17, 2001

Take off your partisan hat for a moment. Leave politics at the door. Conservatives, liberals, and moderates who are reading this blog, I ask you, nearly five years after the September 11th attacks, how can we say we are winning the war on terror? How can we declare success when we have allowed terror to so greatly redefine American society?

I’ve had my share of heated debates with conservatives who claim we are winning the war on terror because we haven’t been attacked since 9/11. But only those with a myopic view of the conflict can make such a claim. Limiting the definition of success solely to the physical safety of Americans fails to take into account that the goal of al Qaeda is not merely to cause death, but to cause a destruction of the very thing that defines us as Americans: our freedom.

As the President said the day the towers fell, “our way of life, our very freedom” was attacked.  And how have we responded in the past five years? Not by preserving our way of life, not by zealously gaurding our freedom, but by surrendering.

We have surrendered the idea of a limited government. We have surrendered the spirit, if not the letter, of the First and Fourth Amendments. We have surrendered our position in the world as the beacon of human rights. We have surrendered the bedrock principle that in time of chaos, the rule of law is paramount.

We have been intimidated. Intimidated into acting out in the most unAmerican manner.

This is post-9/11 America: a nation that asserts the unquestionable authority to torture detainees, to launch a pre-emptive war, to keep humans locked up for years without trial, to force citizens to exercise their First Amendment rights in “free speech zones” the size of postage stamps, to ignore 750 laws, to ignore the civil liberty protections enacted in the wake of Watergate, to conduct surveillance on Americans without a warrant, to eternally preserve a record of every domestic call, to pry into the privacy of a free press, and to gag the mouths of whistleblowers with threats of reprisal.

But we haven’t been attacked again, right? Despite all of these attacks against American identity from within?

The terrorists’ most dangerous weapon isn’t anthrax or planes or dirty bombs; it’s fear. Fear is their most destructive weapon because it operates in a stealth manner. Fear is what has caused our government to turn on its citizens and brag that it does so out of courage in the fight against evil. And in that sense, by goading the greatest democracy on earth to view 300 million citizens as the potential enemy, fear has proved to be the most effective weapon of mass destruction of all.

So please explain to me, my fellow Americans who are so quick to support the latest derogation of American freedom, how exactly are we winning the war on terror? How does giving up the very freedoms terrorists seek to destroy equal victory? And how do we ever apologize to future generations for the America we bequeath to them, an anemic America thirsting for freedoms long ago surrendered…a nation sculpted by the hands of terrorism into a cowering shell of its former self?


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