2006: The year of retreat

Ben Shapiro

12/27/2006 12:01:00 AM - Ben Shapiro

On July 14, 1940, Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Britain addressed the nation on BBC Radio. The last month had seen the complete collapse of French and British resistance to German aggression on the continent of Europe. The French Army had been decisively defeated, and the Allied armies had been evacuated back to Britain from the coastline at Dunkirk. On June 14, the Nazis had marched into Paris.

In the aftermath of the string of devastating defeats that had isolated Britain and left Europe prostrate before Hitler, Churchill spoke. "Should the invader come to Britain, there will be no placid lying down of the people in submission before him, as we have seen, alas, in other countries," Churchill stated. "I stand at the head of a Government representing all Parties in the State -- all creeds, all classes, every recognizable section of opinion. . . . We are supported by a free Parliament and a free Press; but there is one bond which unites us all and sustains us in the public regard -- namely (as is increasingly becoming known), that we are prepared to proceed to all extremities, to endure them and to enforce them; that is our bond of union in His Majesty's Government tonight. Thus only, in times like these, can nations preserve their freedom; and thus only can they uphold the cause entrusted to their care. . . . This is no war of chieftains or of princes, of dynasties or national ambition; it is a war of peoples and of causes."

Now America stands where Britain did. We are engaged in a war of peoples and causes, Islamic against Western. We are isolated; the Europeans (aside from the stalwart British) have abandoned the cause of Western civilization in favor of a crippling post-modernism that promises an Islamic future.

We have been vastly more successful than the Allies were in the early months of World War II; we have toppled two enemy regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. We have also suffered moral defeats; we watch, horrified, as terrorists wage a day-by-day war of attrition and our allies capitulate, one by one.

But unlike the British during World War II, we doubt ourselves. Our government is not united in its determination to fight the threat posed by a radical Islamic civilization; it is divided along partisan lines, with members of the Democratic Party willing to undermine the cause in favor of gradual submission to Islamic tyranny and terror. Our people are not unified in their readiness to fight our enemies unceasingly; many voters are willing to blithely live under the ever-present shadow of Islamic terrorism rather than face up to the unpleasant truths of war. And no one, including our leadership, is willing to "proceed to all extremities, to endure them and to enforce them." We hamstring our troops in the field, we capitulate to the wishes of appeasement-minded quasi-allies, and we somehow hope that the bromide of tolerance and diversity will assuage the grievances of our Hitlerian enemies.

2006 saw the rise of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, fanatically intent on annihilating Israel, remolding Iraq in the Iranian image and threatening the West with nuclear weaponry. And 2006 saw Western civilization respond with platitudes and pusillanimity.

2006 saw Islamic terrorists operate openly from government offices in Palestinian Arab areas, and towns and villages in southern Lebanon. And 2006 saw Israel respond by restricting its military action and planning a strategic retreat from more and more of its own land.

2006 saw Islamic civilization's murderous rage over Danish cartoons and papal pronouncements. And 2006 saw Western civilization respond by censoring its own press and demanding papal apologies.

2006 saw an Islamic terrorist plot to simultaneously bomb 10 airliners. And 2006 saw the American press respond to the threat of Islamic terror by treasonously revealing classified information, showing terrorist propaganda videos and fictionalizing news accounts to put America in the wrong.

The enemy presses us from all sides; he weakens us internally. 2006 saw Western civilization doubt the justice of its cause and shy away from the means necessary to preserve its survival. But 2007 can be the turning point, when we recognize the nature of the threat we face and steel our wills to finish the battle our enemies began on September 11, 2001. What we do now will decide the fate of countless millions; we can destroy the chains forged by Islamic civilization to bind our children. We can lead the unborn into the warmth and sunlight of freedom or we can condemn them to shackles. History will judge us harshly if we do not turn around now, stand our ground and say to our enemies, "The triumph of liberty begins here."