Before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, much was made by politicians of the importance of bi-partisanship and consensus building. Let us pray they meant it, because now it is imperative that this attitude prevails. Now is the time for our elected officials to begin acting like statesmen, thinking of the interests of future generations and not the next election cycle.
The most important instrument in bringing about unity in both parties is an understanding of our common enemy. Much has been done to have the coming conflict a “new kind of war.”
Be that as it may, it would behoove us to acknowledge the similarities between our new enemy and those of the last century: totalitarianism, fascism and communism. Osama bin Laden, the Taliban and those who support them share brutal ideologies, incredible patience, a hatred of freedom and an irrepressible desire to stamp it out. As Winston Churchill described the Axis threat to a joint session of Congress in the winter of 1941, the same holds true to al Qaeda: “They have plans and designs which have long been tried and matured. They will stop at nothing that violence or treachery can suggest.” And, as we face a similar threat today, we must respond with strength, stoicism and action.
We have already witnessed the consequences of limited responses to terrorism. The government has long been aware of Osama bin Laden and the dangers his terrorist syndicate present to our way of life. As if the first bombings of the World Trade Center were not indication enough that our home territory was in danger, the Clinton administration further ignored the 1996 bombing of the Kobar Towers in Saudi Arabia and attacks on the U.S. embassies in Tanzanian and Kenyan. Of course, the final straw ought to have been the attacks on the U.S.S. Cole just last year. This tragedy should have awoken America and our government to the fact that we face an enemy that would sacrifice anything to chip away at our way of life.
We may never know why Bill Clinton and his administration did little to bring bin Laden and his organization to justice after these attacks, or why no efforts were taken until recently to trace and freeze al Qaeda’s funding. There are now at least 5,000 American citizens dead because a group of cowards committed an act of war. We now have a president committed to ensuring justice is served.
This war will require Americans to make decisions and sacrifices they have not had to make in decades. But we must remain united in a steely resolve to bring justice for those harmed and ensure that terrorists will never strike our soil again.
-The writer, a sophomore majoring in international affairs, is a member of the College Republicans.