Hurricane Katrina pounded the Gulf States, leaving a city destroyed and countless citizens homeless. It was a tragedy of biblical proportions. So how did the national media respond? Many simply blamed our President. The damn broke, and it’s President Bush’s fault. Lost in the hubbub is the salient fact that God, not our president, flooded New Orleans.
Nonetheless, the President’s approval ratings plummeted following the tragedy. A recent CBS poll pegged his approval rating at thirty-seven percent, an all-time low. Contributing to the low approval rating was the waning support for the war in Iraq.
As a result of the President’s waning approval rating, the elite media and intellectuals would lead us to believe that less people are listening to his message. This is troubling, not only because our president deserves our support, but also because the fight against terrorism remains a very real threat to our national security. In fact, the terrorist movement poses a threat to the whole world! If for no other reason than the fact of this threat, we need to be listening to our president.
We cannot forget that Al Qaeda has replicated disease like throughout the world. Terrorists continue to spend their days thinking up new ways to kill Americans. These attacks continue to be carried out by an enemy that cannot be negotiated with. As our President recently observed, "We're facing a radical ideology with an unalterable objective, to enslave whole nations and intimidate the whole world.”
Unlike his predecessor, President Bush has not shied away from this point. Unneutered by political correctness (i.e., sugary visions of the world we wished existed), our President has forthrightly proclaimed that terrorism is rooted in a radical interpretation of Muslim ideology. No other president has been so open about the evil ideology of the radical jihadists. Most recently, President Bush observed that terrorists hope to create a “radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia.” This honesty is important, because it moves the national dialogue away form vague notions of terrorists’ threats and places it squarely where it belongs: Radical Muslim Jihadists. President Bush has rightly analogized this movement to other totalitarian threats we faced in the twentieth century, like fascism, communism and Nazism.
In placing the blame where it belongs, President Bush has effectively distinguished this evil strain of Jihadism from moderate adherents of Islam. He has rightly noted that these terrorists have twisted and distorted the religion. His harsh rhetoric has created an incentive for moderate Islamists to distinguish themselves from the extremist voices in Islam. By distinguishing the radical Jihadists from the more moderate tradition of Islam, the President has prevented a full scale culture war.
At the same time, he has aggressively used the military to fight the Jihadists and to cut off their support. Rather than lob a few missiles at abandoned Al Qaeda training facilities, he has confronted the threat head-on. His strong stance has forced other governments to do the same. Only recently have we learned that the United States has disrupted 10 Al Qaeda terrorism plots since September 11, 2001, including the attempted detonation of a “dirty bomb” inside the United States. Surely, many more successes go unpublicized because of their classified nature.
Yes, our President has rightly engendered criticism. Yes, he went about the war in Iraq in a flawed manner. And yes, his strong stances tend to make him a magnate for criticism. So much so, that when a damn in New Orleans breaks or a bomb explodes in Iraq, we look to blame our President. But we should never feel guilty for standing up for ourselves, or for rooting out groups of people who sit around and plot ways to murder as many Americans as possible. This is what our president will be remembered for. He has dedicated himself to making the world safer. The threat he has boldly confronted remains among us. This is not the time to stop paying attention.