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CR December Pages

CR December Pages

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Published by: Colorado Christian University on Nov 29, 2011
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Editor, John AndrewsPrincipled Ideas from the Centennial InstituteVolume 3, Number 12 • December 2011Publisher, William L. Armstrong
Brian T. Kennedy
is president of the Claremont Institute for the Study ofStatesmanship and Political Philosophy and publisher of its inuential quarterly,the
Claremont Review of Books 
. An authority on national security affairs andballistic missile defense, he is a native Californian and a graduate of ClaremontMcKenna College.
Centennial Institute
sponsors research, events, and publications to enhancepublic understanding of the most important issues facing our state and nation.By proclaiming Truth, we aim to foster faith, family, and freedom, teach citizen-ship, and renew the spirit of 1776.
activities, instead of pursuing those policies that wouldmake Americans safer and better off. What was September 11 about? Did the membersof al-Qaeda led by Osama bin Laden, Khalid SheikhMohammed, and Ayman al-Zawahiri simply hate us? Or was September 11 the rst stage in a long war meant to testus, to demoralize us, and to see how we would respond? As we might have guessed, it was not the end of theirplanning, but the beginning. It was a probe.If you are going to make war or attack an enemy, sucha probe is a common tool of warfare. You want to see where your enemy is weakest and where he is strongest.Our enemies meant to test us. And for them the telling after-effect of their attack was not the patriotism and goodsense on display from so many everyday Americans, buthow long it took for our country to respond to the attack.
 What the Attackers Learned
Even if it was quick by standards of the modernadministration of our military, look how long it took us togo into Afghanistan. Or look at the hand- wringing before going into Iraq, the case thathad to be made, and our tentative military action once we got there. We were not prepared—either militarily or intellectually—to strike back immediately in days, notmonths. We wanted to bring to justice only those directly responsible for these atrocities, as if they were criminaltransgressions and not acts of war.It is practically inconceivable that our mostly Saudi-bornattackers could have pulled off their brazen assault withoutstate sponsorship from the Saudi intelligence services. And yet we would not hold Saudi Arabia responsible. If September 11 was a probe to see how we would respond,those responsible learned that we would not go after them.
 ARE WE WINNINGIN THE LONG WAR OF OUR TIME?
By Brian T. Kennedy
 At sunset on Sept. 12, 2011, friends from the campus and community gathered on CCU’s central quad to reect on lessons of the decade since jihadists struckthe U.S. homeland. This was the keynote address: 
 The September 11 commemorations came and went thisyear with remarkably little controversy. As in the days afterthe initial attack, there was more effort spent mourning thedead than sorting out what should be done for the living.If September 11, 2001, marked the start of a long war yetto be won, it would be useful ten years hence to understand what will achieve victory. For it appears that the attack onthat day has been misunderstood by America’selites, who have yet to make sense of it. At one level this is understandable. Humanbeings have a tremendous capacity forgiving others the benet of the doubt—we Americans especially so. After September 11 we tried desperately to either believethat we had no enemies, or that if we did, those enemiesposed no existential threat to our way of life. It wasincumbent then upon President Bush, as it is now uponPresident Obama, to dissuade us of this folly, and to put usin a position of strategic superiority against our very realand very determined enemies, with clarity of purpose.
Did Our Strategy Leave Us Safer?
 The essence of strategy is to be better off after engaging in whatever policies and actions are undertaken. AfterSeptember 11 it was incumbent on the U.S. government toengage in a strategy that would leave us safer than we werebefore the attack.Instead, we did our best to accept and absorb the attack and to nd ways to understand our enemies. We engagedin often meaningless military, security, or diplomatic
We tried tobelieve that wehad no enemies.
 
Centennial Review, December 2011 ▪ 2
 What should they think of us when we announced soquickly that Islam is a religionof peace, or when the president told the country not tosacrice but to go shopping? They learned that political correctness was more importantto us than understanding the true nature of our enemy. That looking like good multiculturalists meant more to usthan admitting that maybe—just maybe—thereis something about the tenets of Islam thatmakes it fundamentally irreconcilable with the Judeo-Christian West. And how else could the election of liberalanti-war candidate Barack Obama appear—  whatever John McCain’s shortcomings—than as a sign of our demoralization and exhaustion only a few years intothe war? As for going shopping, the real economic lesson afterSeptember 11 was that the day’s dire consequences, whichshould have signaled we were at war, didn’t lead to moresensible policies for taxing our corporations so they wouldbe competitive in the world, or policies for sound money so that no real estate bubble would have been createdand then burst, or environmental and labor policies that wouldn’t create a bias against manufacturing and sap themiddle class’s ability to create wealth.
 Test after Test
On purely economic grounds, if this were a test to seehow we would react, one could be forgiven for thinking this was another test we failed. Thinking we weren’t at war, America’s elites pursued policies that led ultimately to theeconomic collapse of 2007-08, the results of which we arestruggling with today. We have also failed the test of September 11 by allowing depletion of the strength we need to ght wars here andabroad. Despite being engaged in military conict, wescaled back our Air Force and Navy, stretched our Army and Marines to the brink, and had to use the NationalGuard to do the work that regular armies should do. We spent money on military deployments and armamentsto ght small, annoying wars so that people in the MiddleEast—however loathsome to one another—could notharm us here at home.But we haven’t stopped Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons that could destroy us or our ally Israel. Nor have we built missile defenses to stop ballistic missiles thatcould be launched at us from ships off the coast of theUnited States.Nor did we engage Iran when they built munitionsand sponsored attacks against our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. We knew—that is, George Bush and now Barack Obama knew—they were killing  Americans with IEDs and mortars. We knew. They knew we knew. Every nation in the MiddleEast plus Russia and China knew. And they all watched us do nothing.Or not quite nothing. We did engage in a massive campaignto democratize Iraq and bring order to Afghanistan, as if the very promise of democracy would be enough to deal with Iran and Saudi Arabia.
 A Strategic Distraction
 Without going into all the aws, let me say that we aretrying to bring democracy to people who do not believein religious liberty—the cornerstone of any decentdemocratic order—and who have little experience withsuch institutions. And in Afghanistan, we are trying tobring order to a tribal people who have rebelled from suchorder since Alexander the Great.Nor have we punished the people who made possible theattacks—the Saudis. We have failed to engage in energpolicies that would make us less dependent on them andmake them less rich. We have failed to punish them insuch a way that they will not support the spread of Islamin the U.S.Instead of punishing our enemies so they would not attack us again any time soon, we showed the world that we were willing to make September 11 a strategic distraction, ratherthan the occasion for a strategic improvement of ourposition in the world.
Are we betteroff now thanbefore 9/11?
Nabeel Qureshi, a Pakistani-Americandoctor who converted from Islam toChristianity, warned the Sept. 12 gatheringabout sharia law as a threat to our liberties.His wife, a U.S. Coast Guard ofcer, led thePledge of Allegiance.
Scan this code with your smartphone to read this and previous issues online.
CENTENNIAL REVIEW
is published monthly by the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University. The authors’ views are not necessarilythose of CCU. Designer, Danielle Hull. Illustrator, Benjamin Hummel. Subscriptions free upon request. Write to: Centennial Institute, 8787 W.Alameda Ave., Lakewood, CO 80226. Call 800.44.FAITH. Or visit us online at www.CentennialCCU.org.
Please join the Centennial Institute today.
As a Centennial donor, you can help us restore America’s moral core and prepare tomorrow’sleaders. Your gift is tax-deductible. Please use the envelope provided. Thank you for your support.- John Andrews, Director
 
Centennial Review, December 2011 ▪ 3
IN KEEPING AMERICA ALIVE, WE ENNOBLE THE LIVES LOST
By John Andrews
Presiding at the Sept. 12 ceremony,Centennial Institute director John Andrews  gave this introduction: 
On the second Tuesday in Septemberten years ago, Islamist ghters fromSaudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon andthe United Arab Emirates, trainedin Afghanistan by the al-Qaedarevolutionary organization under Osama Bin Laden, took over four U.S. airliners and turned them into missiles of  war for an attack on New York City and Washington, D.C. The twin towers of the World Trade Center,symbolizing American free enterprise, weredestroyed. The Pentagon, symbolizing  American military might, was gravely damaged. A direct hit on the United States Capitol or the White House, which would have decapitated Americanself-government, was narrowly averted by the heroism of passengers on board Flight 93.
 What Did It Mean?
 The strike was brilliantly planned and barbarically executed. It hit us like a lightning bolt from a clear sky. Two thousand nine hundred and seventy-seven lives werelost that day. Many of them were massacred unawares,but many others died in sacricial efforts of resistance orrescue, with acts of magnicent courage. Thousands of families mourned the loss of loved ones. The nation’s anger was roused, but our condence wasalso shaken. Voices of self-doubt and self-reproach wereheard among our own elites. Voices of condemnationfrom Muslim leaders were hesitant and few. Street mobscelebrated in the home countries of the 9/11 attackers. What did it all mean?Some Americans said it meant we had cultural fences tomend and yet another criminal justice job to do. But most Americans understood it meant we were at war. Arguably,that war had been going on in one-sided fashion againstus from the Islamists since at least 1979, when the U.S.embassy in Iran was seized. The war continues today—punctuated by progress inIraq, progress in Afghanistan, the killing of Osama BinLaden, and more than 60 intended or actual jihadistattacks upon the U.S. homeland over the past 3,600 days.
Voices of CCU
No Mere Tragedy
Disturbingly, however, what Americans seemedto understand as a long and deadly-serious war 10Septembers ago is now too often misunderstood asnothing more than one horric day of terror, trauma,and tragedy. This must not be. The consequences of 9/11
were 
tragic in terms of the lives lost, the economic cost, the emotional cost,the compromising of civil liberties. But the event wecommemorate a decade later was no mere tragedy. A tragedy is something that just happens—the resultof fate or bad luck or bad judgment. The 9/11attack did not just happen. It was a heinous atrocity brought to our shores by a determined enemy. It was adeliberate and unprovoked act of war by forces with adenite address and an agenda of total conquest, total world domination. Does America remember that andrealize that, today in 2011?Parts of America unfortunately do not. Butthis Christian university and this assembly of wide-awake citizens do remember. Wehave not forgotten and will never forget why 9/11 happened, what 9/11 cost, what 9/11 stilldemands of us. The most tting way to honor the dead and keeptheir memory alive is by 
living 
worthily of them. Thismeans, above all, focusing our minds and devoting ourenergies and uniting our purpose in such a way as tokeep
 America 
alive.
We have notforgotten.

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