I published a short reminder in 2001 about the generational differences between the people who had to confront the killers of 9/11 and those who had to deal with the alliance who attacked Pearl Harbor and almost succeeded in destroying the Jewish race.
That generation who laid all their earthly pleasures aside to defeat the Nazis and Japanese was my father’s. The generation who watched the Twin Towers fall was their children. Ours. It was our generation that largely directed America’s response.
I wrote then that the older generation was called “the Greatest Generation”, which in large measure was for all the sacrifices they made, at home and at war, for six long years, an entire nation at war, all on the heels of a Great Depression. One old vet told me the first piece of white bread he’d ever seen was his first day in boot camp.
But the Greatest Generation’s one great deficiency was that it sired and raised probably the sorriest, most over-indulged generation known to mankind. Our Vietnam generation proved we’d cut the legacy of the Greatest Generation in half, for when we came to that same crossroads as our fathers, the “best” took one fork, while many, but not all of the “brightest” (as they called themselves) took the other.
Bill Clinton comes to mind. The best and brightest stand tall among their peers in every generation
So here we are, now in our 70s, worried as much as anything else, about how we’ve fared as guideposts for future generations, when we finally have to acknowledge to ourselves we were just pale replicas at what once passed for “great”.
The good news is that wars are getting smaller and that some people foresaw a need for a different kind of military, making our leaner military still the most formidable force in the world.
America has been at war uninterrupted for 18 years since 9/11, and it has been fought entirely by volunteers, including millennials. Remember that.
Memorial Day is upon us again, (I’ll post my annual Memorial Day tribute on Sunday) but today I want to recall the basic understandings that brought us into these wars, as they were known in 2001, for as we now know with an open anti-Semitism not seen in America since the German bunds of the 1930s, and never seen in the halls of government, ever, the change of generations matters.
We have to relearn history, even ram it down a few people’s throats, if need be, especially since we actually lived through it.
Before 9/11 the reverends Jerry Falwell (Sr) and Pat Robertson were holding forth against the growing embrace of Islamic extremism, which today has grown to a full bear-hug.
Pre-9/11 extremism was found in Wahhabism, who had founded hundreds of madrassas worldwide, being the sole beneficiary of the Saudi tithe for its oil revenues. Some say it’s the richest church in the world, its vision of Islam is nonetheless one of a medieval despotic rulership; a king. On the other side of Muslim extremism stands the Muslim Brotherhood, whose new world order is dressed in a business suit-corporatist front office; a fascism look modern “socialists” like much better than the drab Mao or Stalin jacket.
But it was the out-of-the-blue specter of Al-Qeada, spoiled rick-kid Arabs, who took down the towers, and defined “the war” that has been on since, on several fronts, under several names.
From the beginning one major problem had been the reliance our elected leaders placed on our intelligence community, not knowing they had (or may have had at any given time) their own nests to protect, twisting intelligence to suit those purposes, especially that of maintaining their status on the totem pole of importance in the eyes of the elected leadership.
Today, they are referred to as the “deep state”, a relatively modern term for a permanent unelected class-within-a-class, which Eisenhower warned us about in 1960.
Falwell and Robertson enjoined Islam as a matter of faith, an incompatible faith with American liberty, as witnessed on 9/11, while Bill Clinton defended Islam (after all, they had all sorts of money to spread around, only, at the time we were unaware of the Clintons’ obsession for it). Clinton defended this new Islam with “misstatements of fact”.
I have a few facts to share with you about the old Islam which still exists in most of the Islamic world, and which is really quite peaceful and normal at its center, where Islam is always completely in control.
(Iran is different, for it is the one country that has tasted individual freedom, and after 40 years, there is still a living memory of it, whispered inside their houses, with the curtains pulled shut. They have never lost that desire for the freedom their parents knew…or, put another way, the totalitarian regime of Iran has been unable to erase that desire, now into its second generation. (There are laws that apply here I won’t go into, but which apply to human nature, not Islam).
But at its borders, Islam has always been at war, either as a kind of regional jihad, in keeping with the Prophet’s dictum to always advance the faith, but also as a kind of self-defense, to keep anything foreign out of their culture, for fear it may change them.
So Muslim history is filled with periods of “jihadism”, usually under a great spiritual leader, often called a “Mahdi”, who would storm around the desert killing ANM’s, “Anyone not Moslem” until finally dispatched.
In the 1990s Bill Clinton defended jihadism with non-facts. So I offer a few facts, just so you can further your private study.
Fact: The first three Crusades were not Christian. They were French. They were carried out by tribal barbarians who still picked their teeth with Bowie knives, were illiterate, never bathed, and were all obsessed with keeping the books straight on who their rightful heirs were, (they were often very randy) and about the lands they owned. (The Feudal System, including the slave system called “serfdom”, was a key template of these people’s power.)
These were also referred to as the Dark Ages, which Europe slowly came out in part because they rubbed elbows with Arab-Muslim cultures that were more advanced that Europe’s at the time, especially in North Africa and Moorish Spain. They even provided sanctuary for the Jews the French periodically rounded up and burned at the stake or their villages (pogroms) en masse.
The French would largely remain in this condition until they discovered how to cook with butter, eat with forks, and copy Greek philosophy, Italian art, English literature and German music.
In those early Crusades, around 1100, when the French actually took the Holy Land back away from the Moslems, who had themselves taken it from the Byzantine Christians in the 6th Century, they were truly barbaric. Only barbarism was the norm then.
Indeed, the Crusader French claimed they were retaliating for similar brutalities from the 7th through 10th Centuries, from Spain to North Africa, to the Indian subcontinent, which were largely true, although Muslims still excuse those as wars of liberation.
I’m still waiting for some Muslim cleric come to the defense of the mass murder of millions of Hindus, Buddhists, rock worshippers, and yes, Christians, as Arabs carved out a territory nearly one-third of the known world, all before the First Crusade in 1096.
Fact: While every country has known slavery, both as slave and slaveholder, it was the attackers on 9/11, not America, who still not only practice the selling of men, women and children for profit, but also owning them.
(art by Frederic Remington)
So, while misguided faith can be reformed and re-guided (we have large, viable Christian denominations that built entire doctrines on the permissibility of slavery 160 years ago…then renounced them 150 years ago), I can find no offer of consolation for the misinformed and the bigot. There is no forgiveness for the intentionally stupid.
Only if representatives can come to one another with honest hands can they find common ground. With so many different faiths America is very practiced in this. Foreign Muslims had lived in the United States for over a century without demanding “high” sharia law to guide their communities until recently, abetted by people like the Clintons, for purely political reasons.
But at that high end, sharia law and the very soul of American jurisprudence, the Constitution, are totally incompatible. If Christians demanded these sorts of rights in Muslim lands, they would be executed. So the very least we can do is deport them.