Ken Blackwell

"There are two powers in this world, the sword and the spirit. Over time the spirit will always prevail." — Napoleon

The merciless monsters who constitute Al Qaeda and its terrorist movement are equal opportunity killers.

They will use anyone — man, woman, pregnant mother, child — in acts of suicide to kill anyone: Spanish commuters, Sudanese Christians, Indian train travelers, London Tube-riders and tourists, or Americans working at their desks on a clear September morning.

They will kill by any means: videotaped beheadings, homemade bombs packed with nails, explosive chlorine tanks, and, of course, jetliners loaded with fuel — and people. Their terrorism is an asymmetric form of warfare that seeks to attack the human spirit.

In their minds and through their methods, evil has assumed a hideous new shape. The human spirit reels at such enormities, because the boundaries the jihadists cross are the bare minimums of civilization. It’s difficult for us to conceive of such hatred. That may be one reason why we are so ready to believe such hatred has faded, or will soon fade, from the scene. But this battle will be long and, much of it, spiritual in nature.

For now, it appears Congress has given up on the plan for a legislatively imposed timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, but there is the sense that what the liberal majority really yearns for is a holiday from history. Facing the immensity and durability of the jihadist threat, a threat that has raged now for decades, the congressional majority pins its hopes on a change in us rather than the decisive defeat of those who attack us. The political games in Washington are weakening the will of the nation.

In psychological terms, the political Left is like the battered spouse picking through her own faults to find the reason why she is being terrorized. America is being attacked for the values we hold and the freedom to which we are so dedicated. We didn’t provoke the attack of 9/11, the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon, the 1998 bombing of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, or the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000. The problem is not American imperialist greed, but a transnational movement of extremist organizations, networks, and their state sponsors that is determined to steal our freedom and dominate us.

The answer to the Left’s enabling is realism: America did not cause radical Islam. Smiling more and meeting with dictators will not cure it. The jihadists are zealots filled with equal-opportunity hatred for both the best and the worst of Western civilization.

Ken Blackwell

Ken Blackwell, a contributing editor at, is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and the American Civil Rights Union and is on the board of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. He is the co-author of the bestseller The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency, on sale in bookstores everywhere..
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