Once again, America is at war. Make no mistake. The coordinated sneak air attacks and car bombing that levelled the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon, killing untold numbers of Americans, is of a piece with the attack on Pearl Harbor. And just as our earlier enemies learned to their great dismay that we have the capacity to rise from any adversity and make any sacrifice required of us, so the perpetrators of this atrocity will also learn. Today's events are the culmination of a widespread but lunatic fringe who abide by a seething Muslim fundamentalism that has long viewed the United States as the evil incarnation of infidel secularism. It is most recently what drove the third world savaging of America at the Durban Conference and it is what has motivated attacks ? albeit of lesser magnitude, like the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the Air Force base in Saudi Arabia and the assault on the USS Cole.
We must not even be distracted by the CNN reports of obscene rejoicing on the West Bank as some Palestinians celebrate the death of Americans. No particular link has yet been made between the Palestinians and the attacks, and we can deal with the Palestinian issue later. Right now, the focus has to be on the sinister Muslim fundamentalist movement and the probable involvement of Osama Bin Laden and his colleagues and protectors.
President Bush has shown the way with his support for Prime Minister Sharon's policy of pursuing terrorists wherever they are and whenever they are vulnerable. We have typically been portrayed around the world as idealistic unsophisticated naifs, obsessed with openness and compassion with no stomach for realpolitik. But as we have demonstrated before, that although slow to rouse, we ultimately get the job done. It is not for nothing that the John Wayne character endures as an American hero. There was a big job to be done in World War II. There is a big job ahead of us now. And everyone had better get out of our way.