In another column, one written on 9/28/01, I still pondered the need to impose mental order on the recent, unthinkable events, and the need to brace for another.
"As weeks pass, we may yet have to steel ourselves against another kind of blow to the collective brain: this one, only theoretical to date, but no less surreal for being self-inflicted. What Americans may have to come to grips with is the logic-defying notion of fighting terrorism with -- not against -- what might well be called terrorist-friendly nations."
It was happening already -- the blurring of lines that meant the blurring of identity. Our own leaders didn't prize the liberty-based civilization of the West as different from -- and better for liberty lovers than -- the world based in and dictated by Islam. On such denial an "international coalition" would arise. To our leaders, this coalition was always more important than our liberty.
This coalition, I wrote, "identifies the enemy as generic 'terrorists' who commit generic 'terrorism.' By opening the doors of alliance to an array of Arab nations whose embrace of such 'terrorists' ranges from tight, to secret, to (at best) arm's-length, the United States could very well create a broad-based coalition -- but one marked by a grievous moral vacuum that would surely undermine any American-led war effort to save the civilized world from the forces of violence, fear and instability."
A dozen years later, with the Middle East in near-chaos and Europe increasingly under sharia, it seems fair to say it has. Just as FDR pretended 80 years ago that Communism posed no ideological threat to our liberties, so, too, did George W. Bush pretend the same thing about Islam.
Similarly, "Islam has nothing to do with Islamic jihad" -- a point of ideological purity enforced inside both the Bush and the Obama administrations.
Which leaves us where? With another grim anniversary behind us, the second president of the post-9/11 era, Barack Obama, has the nation supporting al-Qaida in Syria and contemplating military action on al-Qaida's behalf.
The unthinkable enters our consciousness again. But this time, few seem to notice.