In a message dated 9/11/06 5:04:37 P.M. Central Daylight Time, [EMAIL PROTECTED] writes:

/11: FIVE YEARS ON
By RALPH PETERS

September 11, 2006 -- THE biggest story since 9/11 is that there
hasn't been an other 9/11. According to our hysterical media culture,
everything's always going wrong. The truth is that we've gotten the
big things right.

On this fifth anniversary of the cold-blooded murder of thousands of
Americans by Islamist fanatics, it's tempting to settle for grand
rhetoric honoring our dead and damning our enemies. But the greatest
tribute to those lost on that September morning is what we've since
achieved.

In this vile political season, with those on the left suggesting that
our president's a worse threat to civilization than Islamist terror,
the rest of us should just review what's happened - and what hasn't:

Islamist fanatics have not been able to stage a single additional
attack on our homeland. For all its growing pains, our homeland-
security effort worked. In this long war with religion-poisoned
madmen, the most important proof of success is what doesn't happen -
and we haven't been struck again. Wail as loudly as they can, the
president's critics can't change that self-evident truth.

Eventually, some terrorists will get through. That's just the law of
averages. But we've enjoyed five golden years of safety and
prosperity, thanks to our men and women in uniform and those who
serve at all levels of government.

Al Qaeda is badly crippled. While the terror organization and its
affiliates remain a deadly threat, al Qaeda is no longer the
powerful, unchallenged outfit it was in the years of Clinton-era
cowardice. Instead of holding court, Osama bin Laden's a fugitive.
Almost all of his deputies are dead or imprisoned. The rest are
hunted men.

And yes, we'll get Osama. Those who whine that we haven't offer no
specific solutions themselves - and they'd like us to forget how long
it took to apprehend criminals such as the Unabomber here at home. Al
Qaeda can still kill, but its power has been reduced by an order of
magnitude.

Terrorists no longer operate in freedom. Even Europeans have begun to
awaken to the nature of Islamist fanaticism. One terror plot after
another has been foiled. Those that succeeded proved
counterproductive, mobilizing anti-terrorist sentiment. The world
hasn't fully come to grips with the threat, but the progress has been
remarkable. The terrorists are now on the defensive.

Our enemies fear our military again. Despite tragic mistakes in Iraq,
we've already accomplished one crucial mission neglected for a
generation: We've resurrected the reputation of the American soldier.

After our maddening retreats from Beirut and Mogadishu, and the
Clinton administration's unwillingness to retaliate meaningfully
after terrorist attacks, Islamist extremists concluded - and bragged
- that Americans were cowards who wouldn't fight and hid behind
technology. Well, Iraq proved that our troops don't run, but fight
more fiercely than any other soldiers on earth. Now it's the
terrorists who rely on stand-off weapons - roadside bombs. They're
terrified of taking on our forces in combat. The importance of
regaining our street cred can't be stressed enough.

Iraq has become al Qaeda's Vietnam. No end of lies have been
broadcast about our liberation of Iraq and Afghanistan "creating more
terrorists." The terrorists were already there, recruited during the
decades we looked away. Our arrival on their turf just brought them
out of the woodwork.

As for Iraq, Osama & Co. realized full well how high we'd raised the
stakes. They had to fight to prevent the emergence of a Middle
Eastern democracy. As a result, they've thrown in their reserves -
who've been slaughtered by our soldiers and Marines.

The media obsesses on the price of this fight for us, but the
terrorists have been forced to pay a terrible cost in trained
fighters - while alienating fellow Muslims with their tactics.
Pundits will argue forever over whether deposing Saddam was a
diversion from the War on Terror, but the proof of its relevance -
even if unexpected - is the unaffordable cost we've forced on al
Qaeda.

We've achieved new levels of domestic security without compromising
civil liberties. Frisking granny at the airport may be silly, but
(despite the lies of the Left) Americans continue to live in
unprecedented freedom. The Patriot Act and other measures worked -
without harming the rights of a single law-abiding citizen. The only
people who lost out were the terrorists and their supporters. We
should be applauding the feds, not running them down.

America is much stronger today than we were five years ago. We have
new homeland-security structures up and running, improved
intelligence agencies - and the most experienced military in the
world.

The dishonest nature of domestic politics and the media's
irresponsibility obscure the fact that no one - not even the
terrorists - now believes that our enemies can win a global victory.
The terrorists are no longer fighting for conquest - they're running
a salvage operation.

Does that mean everything's perfect? Of course not. As noted above,
some terrorists will manage to hit us again. But if attempt No. 500
succeeds, it doesn't mean it wasn't worth stopping the other 499.
Yet, after the next attack, we'll hear no end of trash-talk about how
the War on Terror "failed."

The truth is that we're winning. Hands down. We just can't afford to
revert to yesteryear's weakness and indecision.

WHAT should we worry about? Plenty. First, the unscrupulous nature of
those in the media who always discover a dark cloud in the brightest
silver lining. They're terror's cheerleaders. Second, the rabid
partisanship infecting our political system - when "getting Bush" is
more important than protecting our country, something's wrong.

A third concern is the Internet's empowerment of fanatics, conspiracy-
theorists and all of the really good haters - on both extremes of the
political spectrum. If there's one thing all responsible citizens,
conservative, centrist or liberal, should agree on, it's that all
extremism is un-American.

On this September morning, let us dedicate ourselves to living for
the values the hijackers feared: freedom, tolerance, human dignity -
and the invincible strength of our democratic society. The greatest
tribute we can pay to the dead of 9/11 is to be good Americans.

Amen!
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