Wake up, America. The enemy is not in Washington.
WHEN KEVIN BARRETT, the University of Wisconsin-Madison instructor, ran his mouth about the goofy theory that the United States government was really behind the attacks of 9/11, it seemed most people were angered or just shrugged it off as the babblings of a buffoon. Then UW officials, more or less, shamefully supported Barrett and allowed him to teach his idiotic theories in class. Maddeningly, that gave the whole argument a whiff of academic respectability.
Now comes word, in the form of a Scripps Howard News Service/Ohio University poll, that about one-third of Americans believe federal officials either directly assisted 9/11 terrorists or simply stood back and let the attacks take place, so the United States could start wars in the Middle East. According to the poll, 16 percent even believe planted U.S. explosives were detonated to bring down the Twin Towers.
What is going on?
HAS THIS COUNTRY become so polarized that a significant minority could believe their leaders capable of such deadly duplicity?
Is the much-documented hatred for George W. Bush so virulent that it has completely unhinged the most ardent despisers?
Have the most insistent blame-America-first academics - who are inordinately involved in this batty conspiracy theory, through such organizations as "Scholars for 9/11 Truth" - really succeeded in brainwashing that many of our kids?
Have Americans become so mesmerized by video games, far-fetched Hollywood thrillers and the siren song of conspiracy theorists that the line between fiction and reality is no longer discernible?
Are so many Americans getting their "news" from internet bloggers, comedian Jon Stewart's Daily Show or, heaven help us, MTV, that fact-based reporting and analysis is just a hopeless relic?
WE WON'T DIGNIFY these idiotic conspiracy ravings with an argument to the contrary. Besides, people who would swallow such drivel are not about to be swayed by reason. No doubt, in their minds, the media is just another player in this secret society of conspirators.
It's better to focus on the two-thirds of the American public that apparently is still capable of coherent thought. The stakes are enormously high.
We urge readers - and, believe it or not, there are still serious-minded news consumers out there - to take in the Morton Kondracke column adjacent to this commentary. He concludes, with considerable justification, that in some critical ways the jihadists are besting the civilized world in the war on terror.
The reasoning is unassailable: The jihadists will never stop. They are in a fight to the death. And they believe death is their ultimate reward. Meanwhile, the West shudders at every explosion and its backbone quivers with each death, until giving up becomes the preferred option for a growing percentage of the population.
A GENERATION AGO, this country led the civilized world in a stand against brutal totalitarianism. That fight for freedom against the dark forces of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan cost more than 400,000 American servicemen's lives. Worldwide, the toll was counted in the tens of millions. The Greatest Generation has not been called by that name strictly for its bravery, but even more so for its steadfastness in the cause of freedom.
They knew the outcome had to be total victory or total defeat. There could be no accommodation with the fascists - as, now, there can be no accommodation with the terrorists. They also understood their commanders made mistakes. They knew that, sometimes, bombs go awry, soldiers crack under strain, and innocent people die. But the cause remained just and right. And the freedom fighters went on.
Now, with each passing day, hundreds of those old men make their final journey to join their fallen comrades.
Some surely wonder if today's Americans - too many of whom are soft, self-absorbed and just plain silly - have the stomach to preserve freedom for those who will follow.