America must remain strong

Matthew White

Thoughtful young Americans of today should seek the best qualities of a dashing European of yesterday.

Winston Churchill, the man who led British forces against Germany and Japan during World War II, understood the very real threat evil posed during his time. And, unlike the man he replaced, the tragically misguided Neville Chamberlain — who failed to check German aggression — Churchill was not shy in explaining to his people why a momentous fight was necessary.

Churchill said: “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”

And, by that, Churchill meant that when you ignore an aggressive, hostile enemy, or when you make excuses about why such an enemy isn’t so bad, you simply put the threat off — you procrastinate. And, this does nothing but ensure defeat.

Many young Americans today have a limited grasp on history, and they have a limited understanding of the abstract “war on terrorism.” To be fair, it’s a poor name for an extremely complex issue.

We must take care when attacking radical Islam not to defeat ourselves by losing too much freedom. We must take care not to become the world’s policeman. However, that isn’t to say we should turn a blind eye to the threat.

If these young Americans thoughtfully considered the danger posed by radical Islam, and understood the consequences of failing to check an aggressive enemy, then the entire world would be safer, and more people would be alive.

The United States and its citizens have faced terrorist-style attacks from radical Islam since long before 2001. We first became a target in the 1970s. Then, attacks increased in the 1980s, and then increased in severity in the 1990s, and since 2001, Americans have faced some sort of attack every single year.

Lets examine one year in particular: 1983. On April 18, in Beirut, Lebanon, a U.S. embassy building was destroyed in a suicide car-bomb attack that killed a total of 63 people, 17 of whom were Americans. On Oct. 23, also in Beirut, Shiite suicide bombers blew up a truck near a U.S. military barracks airport and killed 241 marines. Minutes later, a second bomb killed 58 French paratroopers. And, on Dec. 12, in Kuwait City, Kuwait, Shiite truck bombers attacked another U.S. embassy building (among other targets), killing five people and injuring another 80.

The tragic thing is, 1983 was just an average year for radical Islamic attacks against America during the 1980s.

Unless we utilize what we’ve learned about the nature of evil from past conflicts, then we cannot fully understand how to confront it today. Such is the value of studying history.

Those who make excuses by saying that radical Islam is not a threat, such as the liberal filmmaker Michael Moore has, are repeating the history of the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. They will leave us open and unprepared for the aggressive, hostile nature of the enemy we face just as Chamberlain left Europe open to the advance of the Nazis.

Young Americans, I humbly submit to you that the qualities of Churchill are far superior to the failings of Chamberlain, and that we must recognize that fighting radical Islam is a necessity. Success in Iraq is a necessity. We must not lose our will to fight, however unsavory the conflict.

Matthew White is a senior magazine journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].