Read the article by David A. Bell. I hope you can manage to finish it without making a mad dash to the porcelain commode or ramming your fist into the nearest object.
At first, I was tempted to shake my head in disgust and ignore it, but I can't let it go by without some comments.
1. Note the subhead of the article "The attacks were a horrible act of mass murder, but history says we're overreacting". I submit that because we don't know what we have prevented the terrorists from accomplishing, it's hard to argue that we have overreacted. Should we have waited until more buildings were attacked, a few thousand more civilians killled, a few hundred thousand? Maybe we should have waited until the Capitol or White House was destroyed, the President killed, or maybe a governor or two. At what point do we quit "swatting at flies", as President Bush said, referring to the Clinton administration's miniscule and ineffective "underreactions" to the previous World Trade Center bombing and other terrorist acts? Who defines "overreacting", anyway? We have not wiped out Afghanistan. We have not removed Iraqis from the face of the earth. We have acted carefully, some say to a fault, to avoid collateral damage.
2. By comparing the loss of 20,000,000 Russians in WWII to the 3,000 lost on 9/11, Bell is belittling our loss. The Russian tragedy occurred during a long hot war whereas the 9/11 attack was a sneak attack, like the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. That attack also awoke the Sleeping Giant. Later in the article, he says that the 9/11 attacks were "unspeakable" but "pale in comparison with any number of military assaults on civilian targets of the recent past, from Hiroshima on down." Notice "Hiroshima", the USA's contribution to unspeakable acts, in his opinion, but in reality, a difficult act chosen by the Sleeping Giant after much deliberation as the only practical way to end a war with an enemy bent on fighting to the last man.
3. While admitting the "hate-filled fanatics" (Islamo-fascists all) would like to destroy the US, the author suggests that they don't have the capacity to do so. In this time of nuclear weapons, deadly poisons, and germ warfare, no enemy can be automatically assumed not to have that capacity.
4. Later, he reminds us that our total war dead of 6,500 is about equal to the number of those killed on our roads every two months. Huh? What's his point here? I think that 6,500 lost on our roads is a crime. (Car bodies nearly as thin as tin foil make a topic for another day.) The relatively few people lost is due to our diligence in fighting the war, clever intelligence work, deterrence based on our "overreaction", and possibly a drop of good luck. President Bush, the military, and whatever intelligence services are at work, are trying to keep the number of our losses as low as possible. Perhaps less proactive work on their part would have given us more casualties and Bell's guilt at our "overreaction" would be assuaged.
5. "...Islamist terrorists have not come close to deploying weapons other than knives, guns and conventional explosives. A war it may be, but does it really deserve comparison to World War II and its 50 million dead? Not every adversary is an apocalyptic threat." Here again, he ignores the fact that the US is trying to PREVENT 50 million dead, 5 million, 50 thousand.
6. Bell gives us a little history lesson regarding the Enlightenment, its optimistic hope for peaceful civilizations, and its view of war as a barbaric necessity "against an irredeemable evil enemy." If fighting an enemy bound and determined to wipe Israel and the "Great Satan" (USA) off the face of the earh is not fighting "an irredeemable evil enemy" I'd like to know what is.
7. To end his article, Bell says that "To fight them effectively, we need coolness, resolve and stamina. But we also need to overcome long habit and remind ourselves that not every enemy is in fact a threat to our existence." I leave it to diplomats to remain cool. Madeleine Albright may have been cool as a cucumber in her dealings with Middle Eastern diplomats (some of whom no doubt felt it was sinful to be in the same room with that woman), but there was a continuing string of atrocities during her cool reign at the State Department. Maybe she wasn't "resolved" enough. Maybe she needed more "stamina". Hard to say. Something prevented her and her ilk from seeing the handwriting on the wall that the terrorists are in fact a very determined and able "threat to our existence".
The Islamo-fascists, Muslim terrorists, whatever you choose to call them, say so everyday. They are working very hard to accomplish the defeat of the USA. Wipe us off the face of the earth? Not necessarily. Just scare enough of us by dint of their terrorist attacts, into bowing to their demands, first Sharia law for Muslims in the US, then respecting each facet of their religion (no more baco, no more bathing suits, segregation for women, and so on), and finally total submission to Islam, by death, slavery, or religious conversion. I call that a threat to our existence.