War on Two Fronts
Hitler’s strategy for world conquest hinged on his wager that America wouldn’t have the nerve to enter the war. He was right—that is, until Pearl Harbor. Japan’s attack on American soil provoked a firestorm: The president united the nation and rallied the full force of its manpower, industry and political will to wage an all-out two-front war lasting four years and costing over 400,000 American lives.
Times have changed. September 11—which killed several hundred more Americans than did the Pearl Harbor attack—also roused the U.S. into a two-front war. This time, however, one of those fronts is at home.
The Democratic presidential contenders are unanimous in criticizing the war plan (a couple are competing to be “the antiwar candidate”), by turns calling the president incompetent, deceitful and corrupt. (During a National Public Radio interview, the frontrunner, Howard Dean, described as “interesting” the outrageous theory that the president was told in advance about 9/11 by Saudi Arabia.) They are even resurrecting the notion that President Bush doesn’t have a legitimate claim to his office. Other prominent Democrats agree, including Al Gore, who endorsed Dean just a week after his npr remarks, Edward Kennedy, who calls the war a fraud, Hillary Clinton, who accused Mr. Bush of trying to “turn back the progress of the entire 20th century,” and billionaire George Soros, who gravely warns that it is a “life and death” issue for our country to oust the president.
The manic mass media have a field day front-paging such statements, doing their best to wrench public opinion against the White House. Reporters pounce on intelligence inconsistencies. They play down reconstruction successes and hyperventilate over terrorist successes. They pretend Saddam Hussein was harmless to America; despite his openly paying for Palestinian terrorists, they can’t see how he would have ever dared cross the line by doing business with al-Qaeda. Even as America and Iraq rejoiced when the autocrat was captured last month, leftist politicians and pundits contorted themselves trying to minimize the achievement. It’s as though they want America to fail in order to vindicate their hatred for the president.
This is not just politics as usual. This is civil war.
Unfortunately, as the folks with megaphones in politics and the press shout each other down, the rest of the country is following suit. November 5, 2003, the Pew Research Center published a poll about the political landscape tellingly titled “Evenly Divided and Increasingly Polarized,” showing that the rift exposed by the 2000 election ruckus still exists—except now, everyone’s views are more intense.
Trouble is, today the nation is at war. And this is not a fight for the prestige of a president or for a lower price at the pump. America is in a war for its survival. Victory could bring near-term stability to much of the world. Defeat would mean nothing less than catastrophe. As high as the costs are, it is a war the U.S. cannot afford to lose.
Yet, as foreign radicals labor to break America’s will on Mideast soil, American radicals are effectively laboring to break it at home. Their divisive comments would be uncouth in peacetime—but in the midst of war, they are flirting with treason. Forget political parties. Do they comprehend the stakes in this war against terrorism? Do they realize Armageddon is at the door?
The biggest casualty in this war is America’s national morale—a crucial element of any nation’s power. Hans Morgenthau defined national morale as “the degree of determination with which a nation supports the foreign policies of its government in peace or war.” He wrote, “In the form of public opinion, it provides an intangible factor without whose support no government, democratic or autocratic, is able to pursue its policies with full effectiveness, if it is able to pursue them at all. Its presence or absence and its qualities reveal themselves particularly in times of national crisis” (Politics Among Nations, emphasis mine).
Put another way, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.” So said Jesus. The truth is, America cannot stand while it is so divided!
Think about it. This president has only half the country behind him while the other half is doing all it can to unseat him. Even if they fail and he is re-elected, the clamorous public will make it increasingly impossible for him to finish what has been started.
It seems ironic that, as America’s leader speaks grandly of spreading democracy to areas of the world stained by tyranny and terrorism, it is that very system which could hand him a pink slip right in the midst of his effort. An angry nation split down the middle, where it seems the only point of agreement is that the other side is evil, hardly seems to be a model other countries would aim to emulate.
Of course, mass communication puts this schism in plain view of every single one of America’s enemies. As they strategize for world conquest, surely they are thankful that, against the mighty U.S., they have unwitting allies, fighting splendidly on the war’s second front.