Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Yes, This is War

Of course, Cohen is a sage today compared to Susan Sontag. She is wrong when she says we are not in a real war, this war against terrorism. She may not want to fight it, but it is real. Perhaps we have used the war metaphor for so long on so many ridiculous things that she is having difficulty recalling that actual war involves other people trying to kill us. Our appropriate response is to kill them. There is so much to criticize in her piece—and her thoughts on the war generally for that matter.

She thinks terrorism will never end and so it is not war because all wars end. Even the Arab-Israeli conflict, she says, will one day end and so differs from our war (and I’m an optimist for thinking the war on terrorism will one day end?). Well, much like the idea that somebody somewhere is winning a lottery every week, yet I do not; I am not too concerned that terrorism will go on. I’m just concerned that it should stop being directed at us. And when the targets of our enemies are right here, you’re darned right we must use extraordinary means to stop them. For a decade during the nineties we did refuse to act as if we were at war—both at home and abroad. We prosecuted terrorists as criminals and refused to take custody of bin Laden because we had no charge to file. And what did this approach get us? Three thousand dead and a scar on New York City where the Twin Towers once stood. A slice of the Pentagon wrecked. A crater in Pennsylvania. At long last, is it not time now to defend our homes from those killers?

And she complains that her side is not listened to, that they are suppressed. Do not let them play the noble victim who is silenced because they oppose war. They are not silenced. Lord, sometimes I pray they will remain silent. But they get all the air time and column space they desire. They are not silenced. They are just wrong. How can Sontag argue that we are wrong for saying the Islamist fascists are evil for slamming planes into our buildings? For wanting to destroy us? How is that she attacks our so-called "jihad" talk? Why does she have nothing to say about their jihad talk? Failure to agree with her misguided thoughts does not constitute suppression of dissent. It is merely the debate she and other anti-war people claim they want. What they don’t like is that they are losing the debate.

This is war. We will fight it. And we will win it. Sontag certainly hates that last part the most.