23 Nov 2005

Nowhere to Run

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Christopher Hitchens observes that in the War on Islamo-Fascist Terrorism there is no safety in withdrawal: Nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide.

Withdraw to where, exactly? When Jeanette Rankin was speaking so powerfully on Capitol Hill against U.S. entry into World War I, or Sen. W.E. Borah and Charles Lindbergh were making the same earnest case about the remoteness from American concern of the tussles in Central and Eastern Europe in 1936 and 1940, it was possible to believe in the difference between “over here” and “over there.” There is not now—as we have good reason to know from the London Underground to the Palestinian diaspora murdered in Amman to the no-go suburbs of France—any such distinction. Has the ludicrous and sinister President Jacques Chirac yet designed his “exit strategy” from the outskirts of Paris? Even Rep. Murtha glimpses his own double-standard futility, however dimly, when he calls for U.S. forces to be based just “over the horizon” in case of need. And what horizon, my dear congressman, might that be?

The atom bomb, observed Albert Einstein, “altered everything except the way we think.” A globe-spanning war, declared and prosecuted against all Americans, all apostates, all Christians, all secularists, all Jews, all Hindus, and most Shiites, is not to be fought by first ceding Iraq and then seeing what happens “over the horizon.” But to name the powerful enemies of jihad I have just mentioned is also to spell out some of the reasons why the barbarians will—and must—be defeated. If you prefer, of course, you can be bound in a nutshell and count yourself a king of infinite space and reduce this to the historic struggle between Lewis Libby and—was it Valerie Plame? The word “isolationist” at least used to describe something real, even “realistic.” The current exit babble is illusory and comprehends neither of the above.

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