Monday, September 11, 2006
I can remember that day with extraordinary clarity- at work we downed tools and spent our time rushing between TV sets in two different buildings, checking the news coming in from the BBC and CNN. No one wanted to even change channels as we tried to get as much information as possible about what was going on. I still can't believe how much the world has changed since then- Afghanistan and Iraq liberated in the blink of an eye, while the jihadis have been forced out of the shadows to fight the freedoms given to those people. And countless people have been made aware of the doctrine of the Islamist terrorists, with no little thanks sites like Jihad Watch and Little Green Footballs. Since then we've witnessed carnage committed on a daily basis in Iraq, the terrorist attacks in Madrid and London, and the horror that was Beslan. Not to mention the attacks against the people of Israel. The Religion of Peace total for Islamic terrorist attacks since 9/11 is currently at 5,801.
So soon after 9/11 I am also struggling to deal with the fact that people who actually lived through that terrible day have begun to question the cause, preferring to believe that an arch-conspiracy committed by their own government murdered nearly 3,000 people rather than the evident truth of a terrorist atrocity. Even now after video has been shown of Bin Laden meeting with the architect of the despicable attack, somehow it's more comforting for them to believe that their own government wants to murder its own citizens than accept the fact that Islamist terrorists are prepared to carry out mass murder of innocent people going about their daily business. Even though there's ample evidence of just that behaviour from all over the globe. A generation on I could maybe understand such revisionist history, but for it to be going on right now is just astonishing.
We are still at war, a war that for most of us thankfully takes place largely far away. While mainstream moderate Muslim groups in the UK and America moan and complain that foreign policy is driving some Muslims to become extremists, the simple fact of the matter is that the brave men and women of the armed forces are fighting the jihadis in Iraq and Afghanistan; not on the streets of Luton or Chicago. Fighting, killing and winning; the terrorists there are kept constantly on the back foot by the mere presence of professional soldiers and marines willing to put their lives on the line. I don't seem to recall any of those same moderate Muslim groups complaining that it is the activities of the jihadis in Iraq and Afghanistan that are forcing coalition troops to remain in those countries. Wouldn't it be something if CAIR or the MCB issued a statement calling on the jihadis to be good, peace-loving Muslims (they do tell us it's a religion of peace afterall) and lay down their arms, ensuring that there was no need for British or American troops to stay in Iraq to keep the peace?
So where are we five years on? The battle lines have been clearly delineated- a death-mongering, totalitarian, oppressive cult of extremists versus Western, liberal democracy. But there's another line too- one carved through Western society between those who would appease an enemy that wishes to see our entire culture of freedom and tolerance destroyed, and those who would fight that enemy. It's the same in America, the UK, Europe, Australia and elsewhere- a Red State-Blue State division writ large. While a relentless, merciless enemy who thinks nothing of murdering women and children in cold blood in the name of religion tries to destroy us, we're busy fighting one another too over how best to respond. 9/11 and the nearly six thousand terrorist attacks since have apparently not been enough to convince some people that we're even facing a very real threat. And that, I fear, could be our undoing.