Saturday, August 07, 2004

A Return to the Present

Regarding Victor Davis Hanson's recent article, A Return to Childhood.

In World War II, Congress invoked Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the US Constitution and declared war against our enemies. We have never done so since, though we have been in countless conflicts. It may be because the identification of an enemy in the post-WWII era is difficult to broadly define; in which case, our current war---officially undeclared---is undefined, without the crystallization of national will that a constitutional declaration of war would provide.

Does Mr. Hanson think a congressional declaration of war should be invoked? If so, against whom?

Hanson's lamentation that leftist corruption is pulling away our resolve as a nation, and weakening Western culture in the face of Islamic revolutionaries is understandable; but this is nothing like World War II, which conservatives tend to compare our crisis to. And neither is the present conflict anything like Vietnam, the liberals' ideological energizer.

This is a war that can only be partially analogized to past conflicts. The modern world of cheap ubiquitous high technologies empower new ideological armies in ways that are only starting to be understood. Jihad has experienced a rebirth and global revitalization through virtual Islamic communities that the Web facilitates. Much of our adversaries' potency is enabled by the West itself---global jihad wouldn't have happened without a global Net. Saudi Arabia is the ideological center of Wahhabist radical Islam, funding madrasses throughout the world. Yet, of every gallon of gas we put in our cars, a percentage funds jihad---funding our sworn enemies. That's not World War II, or Vietnam.

Our enemy is parasitically integrated into our own system and culture, drawing its power from our own strengths. It's ideological core worships death, not life, drawing its strength from the subversive qualities of modern high technology. The President asks mainly those in the military to sacrifice for this war, asking citizens to only resume normal living standards---to buy, sell and be unafraid of the bearded bogeymen. That too is unique, and falls far short of total mobilization of a society facing its maker.

Not like any other war, this one.