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9/11 pledge: “I will not submit”

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By Michelle Malkin  •  September 11, 2006 01:27 PM

nosurrender.jpg

The above phrase in Arabic is “lan astaslem.” It means “I will not surrender/I will not submit.” (Thanks to Rusty, Laura, and Daveed for translation help.) This is the last line of my 9/11 column and it’s my 9/11 anniversary message to the convert-or-die jihadists.

And yes, I’ve got t-shirts in the works as a response to Cindy Sheehan’s own Arabic moonbat version, which protests national security profiling.

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Hers reads: “We will not be silent.” Yeah, well neither will I.

My morning has been devoted to paying tribute to the victims of the terrorist attacks five years ago. They will never be forgotten. But as I wrote last night in noting the new Zawahiri video:

“Remembrance is worthless without resolve. And resolve is useless without recognition. You can’t know our enemies, let alone defeat them, with your head buried in the sand hiding from the ‘Islamophobia’ brigade.”

Remembrance. Resolve. Recognition. Those have been major themes of this blog over the past several years in covering everything from the battle over the Ground Zero memorial to the fight over the Flight 93 memorial to the terror-coddling by CAIR to our persistently stupid open-door policies to jihadis to the Mohammed Cartoon rage to the plight of Abdul Rahman to the blogger whistle-blowing on “Fauxtography.”

In keeping with those three tenets, I have chosen to welcome best-selling author Robert Spencer over at Hot Air today to provide much deeper historical context for the 9/11 attacks–context the appeasers and the Islamophobia-phobes prefer to ignore, misremember, or whitewash. We’ll be running another program later this week hosted by Robert, who will have a rejoinder to American al Qaeda Adam Gadahn. Gadahn named Robert and several other outspoken American analysts and authors, including Daniel Pipes and Steve Emerson, who write critically on Islam and jihad.

We owe these and many other outspoken dissidents our thanks. I personally owe Robert, Daniel, Steve, Diana West, and Andy Bostom deepest gratitude for helping educate me about a threat I shrugged my shoulders at before 9/11. More: Bat Ye’or. Oriana Fallaci. Wafa Sultan. Aayan Hirsi Ali. Irshad Manji. Ibn Warraq. Bruce Bawer. MEMRI. Bloggers: Charles Johnson, The Jawa Report, Laura Mansfield, Gates of Vienna, The Counterterrorism Blog, Zombie, Honest Reporting, Paul Belien and The Brussels Journal. So many more.

Not all of them agree on every aspect of the Islamic terrorist threat to the West or how best to defend ourselves against it. And I don’t agree with everything they’ve written. But all of these men and women are inspirations who share a common intellectual defiance against submission to jihad.

For their refusal to submit, they have earned death threats, scorn, and endless accusations of “Islamophobia.” And not just from the unhinged Left. Ralph Peters of the New York Post, a venerable writer and author whose work I’ve admired and respected, lost it completely last week pointing fingers at unnamed “right-wing extremists” as “Islam Haters: The Enemy Within.” He refuses to name any names. He rages that his anonymous targets are the “Ku Klux Klan with higher-thread-count sheets.” And he plays the chickenhawk card to the hilt, as if civilians have no ammunition to offer in the battle against jihadists.

Sputters Peters:

“The most repugnant trend in the American shouting match that passes for a debate on the struggle with Islamist terrorism isn’t the irresponsible nonsense on the left – destructive though that is. The really ugly “domestic insurgency” is among right-wing extremists bent on discrediting honorable conservatism.”

Um, who’s shouting? And if “right-wing extremists” are more destructive than the jihadi-coddling Left, why can’t Peters muster up the cojones to name a single one of these destructive forces?

Andy Bostom has a scathing response. So does Spencer, who writes:

As I have said many times, I am all for encouraging and working with moderate Muslims. But for their moderation to be effective, they have to confront, repudiate, and help other Muslims to repudiate the elements of Islam that are giving rise to violent fanaticism. Most self-proclaimed moderates instead simply deny those elements exist, while the mujahedin continue to use those same elements to recruit new members. And now Ralph Peters, in his fog of confusion, has just contributed to that destructive denial.

It’s a measure of how triumphant the forces of political correctness have been over the past five years that attempts to discuss what Islam is actually about immediately invite cries of bigotry and “Islamophobia”–not only from the unhinged Left, but also from the obsequious Right.

I share my friend and Hot Air colleague Bryan Preston’s related thoughts on this:

Five years on, a psychosis has gripped millions who can’t and won’t fathom the true nature of the war we are in. For many of them, having been born and raised in an essentially post-Christian West, they can’t imagine that anyone might be motivated to kill and die because of something a warlord wrote down centuries ago. They cannot imagine any religion other than the one they believe they have outgrown being violent or causing violence. They cannot imagine anyone fighting for a cause that offers no material gains and therefore cannot be negotiated away. In our essentially materialist West, millions lack the imagination to believe that bin Laden’s pining for the return of Andalusia to Muslim rule is in his mind a legitimate reason to wage war on America now. They can imagine their own countrymen being so motivated, though, and I think that’s key to understanding their state of mind. They can imagine the Rotary Club member down the street plotting mayhem because he goes to church and votes Republican, but they can’t imagine that the Muslim in Karachi is a real, live enemy who is actually plotting an attack.

This lack of imagination has bred the anti-war madness we have now. Rather than accept the reality of an enemy that cannot and therefore will not negotiate away what he believes to be the will of God, and rather than accept that this enemy will understand nothing outside total victory or total defeat, and rather than understand that this enemy’s goals include enslaving the entire world in a global caliphate, and rather than accept that this reality necessitates the use of all tools including military might to defend ourselves, millions have embraced an alternate reality. The reality of the enemy outside the West and its motivations being too terrifying and too far beyond their own control, millions now imagine that the enemy in this war is within. The enemy, to them, isn’t the turbaned man behind the plot to hijack multiple airplanes and crash them into multiple buildings in America. The real enemy, to these millions, is the man in the Oval Office, and the man or men behind him.

Imagining the enemy as a Westerner who has a Western worldview and essentially Western motivations gives these millions the comfort of thinking that they can understand and defeat the enemy easily. They can expose him in the press or on their blog. They can spread the word through a bumper sticker or a sign in their yard. They can vote against him and encourage others to help vote him out. They can impeach him. They can shout and rail at anyone who supports him. They can destroy his political party and ruin his name. They can, in their own minds, win the war on their own terms without exposing themselves to danger. Because they have imagined their own enemy from before that day to be the enemy of civilization. And because it’s not really a war at all, just a made-up threat some evil neocons conjured up to scare everyone into giving them power. And that being the case, the deniers imagine that they can save civilizaton at the ballot box. They don’t have to find out what makes the enemy tick, they don’t have to fight him, and they don’t have to change their fundamental and now obviously flawed assumptions about humanity and the world.

If only it were that easy.

Five years on, the illness of replacing an implacable, indeed alien enemy with one from our own civilizational family has spread and metastasized through the majority of one of our two political parties, and may yet claim a majority of the country itself. History has a way of fading out as the day’s current noise rises in volume, and to them 9-11 is either history or a historic lie. The loudest voice, though not always or even often right, is often the one that gets the last word. And the 9-11 deniers and their allies across the left are nothing if not loud.

Five years on, it’s hard to take a positive look at the war because we are failing to comprehend it. The mass denial of reality is taking half our arsenal of unity and morale away from us. Those of us who see the threat for what it is still say that we will prevail because we are right and because we are America, but that’s just letting the others off the hook. If we’re going to prevail anyway, why should they snap out of their fog? And why should we demand that they do? The truth is, we need the denial to end and we need our countrymen to understand and help, but since we’re powerless to cure it with reason we shrug or laugh at it. But it’s eating away at our ability to defend ourselves.

And so I commemorate the fifth anniversary of the jihadi attacks on America with a small gesture.

nosurrender.jpg

“Lan astaslem.”

I will not submit. I will not surrender.

None of us can know exactly how we would act in Todd Beamer’s or Barbara Olson’s or Robert Stethem’s or Fabrizio Quattrocchi’s shoes. But we can gain strength in their memory, in the reinforcing presence of each other’s company, in making our refusal to submit public, and in working to honor this anniversary vow in small ways and large–long after the memorial candles have been blown out.

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