Today President Bush gave a fantastic speech at the Air Force Academy graduation ceremony. Here is a telling excerpt:
Like the Second World War, our present conflict began with a ruthless, surprise attack on the United States. We will not forget that treachery, and we will accept nothing less than victory over the enemy.
Like the murderous ideologies of the 20th century, the ideology of terrorism reaches across borders, and seeks recruits in every country. So we’re fighting these enemies wherever they hide across the earth.
Like other totalitarian movements, the terrorists seek to impose a grim vision in which dissent is crushed, and every man and woman must think and live in colorless conformity. So to the oppressed peoples everywhere, we are offering the great alternative of human liberty.
Like enemies of the past, the terrorists underestimate the strength of free peoples. The terrorists believe that free societies are essentially corrupt and decadent, and with a few hard blows will collapse in weakness and in panic. The enemy has learned that America is strong and determined, because of the steady resolve of our citizens, and because of the skill and strength of the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and the United States Air Force.
And like the aggressive ideologies that rose up in the early 1900s, our enemies have clearly and proudly stated their intentions: Here are the words of al Qaeda’s self-described military spokesman in Europe, on a tape claiming responsibility for the Madrid bombings. He said, “We choose death, while you choose life. If you do not stop your injustices, more and more blood will flow and these attacks will seem very small compared to what can occur in what you call terrorism.”
Here are the words of another al Qaeda spokesman, Suleiman Abu Gheith. Last year, in an article published on an al Qaeda website, he said, “We have the right to kill four million Americans — two million of them children — and to exile twice as many and wound and cripple hundreds of thousands. Furthermore, it is our right to fight them with chemical and biological weapons.”
In all these threats, we hear the echoes of other enemies in other times — that same swagger and demented logic of the fanatic. Like their kind in the past, these murderers have left scars and suffering. And like their kind in the past, they will flame and fail and suffer defeat by free men and women.
I personally like the fact that the president has been consistently stating that we are fighting an ideology. The War on Terror is a fight against one ideology that ties all the terror organizations together. Their ideology is one of totalitarianism, a rejection of freedom, and oppression. I only wish the President would draw comparisons between the political philosophies of our current enemy and those we faced in the 20th century. I would suspect that the enemies we face today have more in common (on an ideological level) with fascist Italy and Germany, than they do with any other enemy we have faced in the past.