The root cause of the war we are in is the Islamofascist movement. Our contribution to the success of the Islamofascist movement was preeminently the presidency of Jimmy Carter and his pathetic response to the seizure of American hostages in Iran.
Victor Davis Hanson traces the American contribution to the root cause of the war in an important column for OpinionJournal this morning: “The wages of appeasement.” Hanson writes: “That debacle is where we first saw the strange brew of Islamic fascism, autocracy and Middle East state terrorism–and failed to grasp its menace, condemn it and go to war against it.”
Hanson methodically notes our complacent responses to subsequent depredations in reverse chronological order:
What went wrong with the West–and with the United States in particular–when not just the classical but especially the recent antecedents to Sept. 11, from the Iranian hostage-taking to the attack on the USS Cole, were so clear? Though Americans in an election year, legitimately concerned about our war dead, may now be divided over the Iraqi occupation, polls nevertheless show a surprising consensus that the many precursors to the World Trade Center and Pentagon bombings were acts of war, not police matters. Roll the tape backward from the USS Cole in 2000, through the bombing of the U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998 and the Khobar Towers in 1996, the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the destruction of the American Embassy and annex in Beirut in 1983, the mass murder of 241 U.S. Marine peacekeepers asleep in their Lebanese barracks that same year, and assorted kidnappings and gruesome murders of American citizens and diplomats (including TWA Flight 800, Pan Am 103, William R. Higgins, Leon Klinghoffer, Robert Dean Stethem and CIA operative William Francis Buckley), until we arrive at the Iranian hostage-taking of November 1979: That debacle is where we first saw the strange brew of Islamic fascism, autocracy and Middle East state terrorism–and failed to grasp its menace, condemn it and go to war against it.
Hanson then explores the reasons for our quarter-century of complacency, climaxing in 9/11 but continuing today: “The consensus for appeasement that led to Sept. 11, albeit suppressed for nearly two years by outrage over the murder of 3,000, has re-emerged in criticism over the ongoing reconstruction of Iraq and President Bush’s prosecution of the War on Terror.” This is an important column that requires serious deliberation.