O It restores the moral clarity that Americans – and other democracies – typically need to sustain war’s expensive costs (in both human and financial terms). There can be no moral equivalence between our Islamofascist enemies on the one hand and, on the other, those who are fighting and dying to protect freedom here at home and, as a bulwark for our own security, to promote it elsewhere.
Shortly after 9/11, President Bush rightly said to the nations of the world “You are either with us or against us.” That is true. You are either part of, and willing to help defend, the Free World or you are with the unfree. The latter are at best, playing a double-game. Among them are nations like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China and Russia – all of whom profess friendship, but are simultaneously working to support our enemies and undermine the interests of the Free World.
In theory, it is possible carefully to make tactical arrangements with such states. As a practical matter, however, doing so usually results in a loss of moral clarity and an overlooking of the unfriendly, if not overtly hostile, things they do. Examples include successive U.S. administrations; giving the Saudis a pass as they continue to underwrite Islamofascist proselytizing and terror; tolerating the training of terrorists in and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction from Pakistan; ignoring China’s arms and oil deals with our Islamist enemies; and overlooking wholesale Russian transfers to the PRC of weapons designed to kill Americans.
O It harkens back to a time when the American people understood that they had a critical role to play in the war effort, just as they do at the moment. Today, as in the past, we need to fight as though our lives, fortunes and freedom depend on it, for indeed they do. We need to put the country on a true war footing in which every American can and must be asked to play a part in order to preserve the Free World.
Now is, in short, the time for a return to first principles. Properly labeling the present conflict is not a panacea. But making it clear that we are engaged in nothing less than a War for the Free World will make it easier to take the steps necessary, both at home and abroad, to secure the victory we literally cannot live without.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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